More on the Mosaics

Since late March, Waterford High School art teacher Shelly Concascia has been working with her art students to finish up their mosaic projects. This past week was spring break and on Monday morning—on her vacation!—Mrs. Concascia went to WHS with her daughter Addie to grout almost 50 mosaics. Mary and I met her there along with Jeff Wolfson, an art teacher at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School in New London. Mr. Wolfson came to help and learn the grouting process, as his fifth grade students are also finishing up their mosaics for the garden’s amphitheater. It took the four of us from 9am to 2pm to grout that many mosaics.

On Wednesday starting at 7:00 am, Mrs. Concascia, Mary, and I were back again, this time to flip the mosaics over, remove the tape and templates, and apply a layer of thinset on the backs of the mosaics. We wanted to make sure all of the tile pieces were properly adhered and to rake a layer over the back for uniformity. This will be important for when we adhere the mosaics to the pavers installed in the labyrinth. Again, we were there for several hours! (Or at least Mrs. Concascia and Mary were. I had to run to the site to lay out tarps and meet the trucks carrying three separate loads of materials, and then run home and get more thinset.) Again, I seriously had no idea how much work these mosaics would be!

I believe Mrs. Concascia went in one more day over her vacation to clean up her classroom and to prepare the mosaics for her students so they could see the transformation. That probably included wiping them down with a damp sponge to get any remaining grout haze off, scraping the hardened grout and thinset off the sides, etc. The mosaics are absolutely stunning. They are mostly 18”x18” with one mosaic in two separate 9”x18” pieces with jellyfish tentacles shooting off at an angle. Gorgeous! The attached photos do not do them justice. Once they are in the labyrinth and sealed, they will be stunning!

I’m just so impressed with Mrs. Concascia’s dedication to her job, to her students, and to her art. She spent so much of her vacation up in her classroom working on these mosaics, and she did it joyously. Teaching the students this exquisite and accessible art form was her gift to them. The mosaics that she supervised and helped to create will also be a gift to the entire community. I have no doubt that they will bring joy to many people who walk the paths of the labyrinth.

I hope that Mrs. Concascia’s students can see the dedication of their teacher and that they will appreciate their own role in creating something so valuable to our community.

  • Shelly and Jeff grouting
    Shelly and Jeff grouting