Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Family Tree Mosaic

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As part of the sculptural outdoor classroom that I am working on at the moment for a school here in Dublin, I was asked to incorporate a tree somewhere into the design to represent the 'Family Tree'. The 'Family Tree' is a song which has come to symbolise the 'Croí na Scoile' (The heart of the school).
I was also asked to give the students a chance to have some input into the outdoor classroom so that they can make it their own (a very important part of the process for sure) 

My solution to this was to create a large stone mosaic of the tree into the wall of the structure and to then let the students paint the leaves of the tree on precut tiles.
Past pupils, staff, board and PTA members (past and present) received a leaf to design and paint.
Almost 100 leaf tiles were painted as well as another 70 square tiles that make up the border around the mosaic.
It was great to spend some time in the classroom with students and see the excitement about creating their very own piece of art that will remain part of the outdoor classroom for years to come.

Painting the leaf tiles in class

The finished leaf tiles painted by the students

Many many hours went into the making of the stone part of the mosaic, far more than anyone will ever know, but now that it is finished I know that it was all worth it. 
The roots of the tree

The border tiles that surround the mosaic spell out 'All different all equal' as well as its Irish translation 'Gach duine atá difriúil ach freisin cothrom'  
There is still lots to do before the outdoor classroom is complete with lots more exciting features and student involvement also, so I will get back to work now, and will post more about the outdoor classroom once it is completed.


  1. This speaks to me and my Irish heritage. Were the colored pieces fired in a kiln. Just wondering I they would fade otherwise. Beautiful design and work!

  2. That is fantastic. I am more than sure it was worthwhile. Diane

  3. Beautiful and inspiring.

  4. Lovely work! I was wondering if you you made the leaf shaped tiles or bought them in a store. If you bought them, please do share where they are available?

    1. Hi Manasi, I cut the leaf shape tiles from broken floor tiles using a grinder.

    2. So inspirational, thank you for sharing. I teach pottery to a group of previously advantaged children in a rural village in South Africa. This would be a great project for them! Are the leaves stone or mosaic? Here we have some amazing stonemasons and walls which would lend itself nicely to the project.

  5. What a beautiful art work.. I am really impressed with it.. I also want to make some mosaic product at my home. Can you give some idea from where I should start..