Sharing the Shards
by Cate Murway
Patricia [Bussmann ] “Pat” Buchanan and Kimberly [McGowan] "Kim” White are “sharing the shards” while running the hands-on community art project for First Fridays. This year they are creating a 3-D mosaic of the Grundy Commons clock tower while raising awareness of the visual arts through art engagement projects by reaching out to the local community and encouraging participation from individuals of all ages and abilities. Sometimes Art is the only way the verbally inexpressible can be conveyed. What a great way to bring people together while creating a beautiful, permanent artwork. Participants learn mosaic techniques, meet new friends, and gain a deeper pride in their own artistic abilities while everyone helps create a one-of-a-kind piece of art. The entire project is magical; so many have touched and contributed to each creation and everything somehow just comes together.
Historic Bristol on the Delaware has heART!
Pat, with the valuable assistance of Kim since last year, has designed and facilitated two other large group mosaic installations and loves sharing her skills and passion for mosaics with others.
Her first solo year creating long lasting community artwork on First Friday produced a 20x30-inch riverfront scene including the Bristol wharf and walking path which she donated to the Bristol Borough Senior Center on Wood Street.
The second year, she and Kim, along with collaborating artist, Veronica Kairos whose enthusiasm and expertise were invaluable, led the budding artists, creating the mosaic garden bench in front of the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library on Radcliffe Street.
Merola Tile, a leading tile distributor on the East Coast is a family owned and operated company importing quality tile products from around the world since 1988. Their New Jersey Division, located in Manalapan, NJ, created as a National Distributor for The Home Depot in 1999, has donated broken tiles that cannot be sent to stores. Pat purchases the substrate for the base she designs, upon which the accumulated pieces of material used for the mosaic, known as tesserae [anything pieced together to form a design], are directly fixed, top side up and then grouted.
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of pieces of colored glass, stone, tiles, or other materials. The earliest known examples of mosaics, consisting of shards of colored stones, shells and ivory were found at a temple building in Ubaid, Mesopotamia, dated to the second half of the 3nd millennium BCE- *Before Common Era [spanning the years 2000 through 1000BC, marking the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age]. It was the Greeks who raised the pebble technique to an art form, with precise geometric patterns and detailed scenes of people and animals. The Romans would often have these mosaics in their homes as a sign of wealth and importance, and in public buildings and bathhouses.
Pat Buchanan is a gifted artist who works in mosaics as well as watercolors. She originally started college as an art major at the Philadelphia College of Art, now known as the Philadelphia Colleges of the Art after merging with Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts in 1985.
She also had always enjoyed sports and she changed her major. Pat is a retired South Philadelphia High School Health & PE teacher where she also coached girls and boys volleyball teams. She led her boys’ team to a PIAA AAA District 12 championship win.
She actually just started doing mosaics 5 years ago when she registered for a Tile Making and Mosaics workshop at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial located on Catharine Street in Philadelphia.
The maternal side of her family has been and still is involved in many aspects of Art. Pat’s mother, Ruth B. [Smith] Bussmann, almost a centenarian, knits and crochets; her maternal grandfather from Romania was a candy maker and cake decorator for a candy manufacturer in Philadelphia during the depression, and his brother, her great-Uncle, embroidered clothing and appliqués and beaded work in Montreal.
Pat’s late father, Joseph E. Bussmann, a WWII Navy veteran was stationed on a destroyer.
Her husband, William “Bill” Buchanan was a building construction teacher and he helps Pat and Kim, both members of the Mosaic Society of Philadelphia, with layouts and framework for their community projects. Their son, Ian also started his college career as an Art major at Kutztown University, and their daughter, Leanna, RN is a photographer who creates chalkboard artwork for weddings and parties.
Pat and Kim’s current project, suggested by Donna M. McCloskey, the Site administrator for the Margaret R. Grundy Museum, a 3-D mosaic replica of the Grundy Commons clock tower will be a three sided, 5-5 ½ foot tall structure and “the backside will be flush against a scene of skies and trees and sights of the tower from various places in the Borough. We hope to have 3 running clocks.”
The model for their masterpiece, the Grundy Commons clock, was built in 1911, commissioned by U.S. Senator Joseph R. Grundy. The clock was manufactured by the Seth Thomas company, one of the most prolific and longest established clock makers in the United States, having an impeccable reputation for designing and producing the masterfully crafted renowned tower clocks including the massive timepiece at Grand Central Station in New York.
The completed semi-permanent mosaic clock structure that will be kept at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library is part of the First Friday scheduled activities, starting in May at the Grundy Library. The mosaic is being created to mark the golden anniversary of the Grundy Museum and it will be part of the Museum's new exhibit on the Grundy Mill. Decorating work will continue then on Mill Street during the rest of the First Fridays series and the goal is completion by Historic Bristol Day [Always the Third Saturday in October!], October 21, 2017. The HBD theme is entitled “Bristol Cultural and Historic Foundation: Half Century of Service [1967-2017]”.
So, it really is “TIME” for First Fridays. Leave your mark on your community. With your help, this 3-D mosaic replica of the Grundy Commons clock tower will be success #3.
The quaint and historic riverfront town of Bristol Borough will be hosting the culturally-rich and family-friendly “First Fridays” May through September from 5:00 to 8:00PM on Mill Street. Welcome friend!
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