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David Fichter came to town last December
He presented to every class at Brett, and to the community, explaining the process of designing and building a mosaic.
In March we built the mosaic.
On the first day, kids and community members unloaded thousands of glass tiles from the back of David's van, and helped set up the mosaic templates on large tables in the Brett art room.
Community members came every day to work with students.
David oversaw the entire process with generosity and humor.
Slowly parts of the mosaic began to come together.
Kids worked together on sections of the mosaic.
Building a mosaic is slow and patient work.
Every piece of glass in the mosaic was placed by a human working in community with other humans of every age.
We used David's design as a color reference.
If you used only tiles of one color, there wouldn't be a design. But because you have hundreds of tile choices in each color family, you still have to make a lot of creative decisions along the way.
At three years old, one of our youngest mosaic artists...
People of every age worked on the mosaic, from this little one up to someone in her mid-90s.
Safety goggles when you're cutting tile...
A student works on his grandfather's hat.
Sometimes the visual reference is a photograph.
Building portraits is particularly complex, but David knows tricks.
Two of Tamworth's former head librarians build the depiction of the Cook Library.
Sometimes the visual reference is someone's artwork,
in this case a gorgeous print of the library at night by Willey Fromm.
Former Brett students, now all grown up, came back to work with current students.
So many community members volunteered!
A brother working on the portrait of his brother.
Wire-rimmed glasses, no less, fashioned of shiny shards of glass.
Duroc is cemented and then screwed to the wall.
Working to finish the first mosaic to be mounted.
Brayering the mosaic to make sure the bits of glass stick to the tape that is all that's holding them together at this stage.
Mosaic building is a fun date.
Brayering the back side of the mosaic.
You can see the ridges on the backs of the tiles that will help them stick in the mortar.
We had wonderful turnout at all of the community build sessions.
We sat around the tables chatting, learning more about each other and our town.
As sections were completed, we taped them with heavy plastic tape to keep them intact.
One of our state reps came all the way from Hart's Location to work on the mosaic.
A mother works on her son's t-shirt.
One of our selectmen builds his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather's lace collar.
Mounting the first pieces of the mosaic to backer board.
We were lucky to have night owls in the community who would come in for the late shift...
and lucky that the custodians made us leave by 10PM every night!
Lowering the tile into the cement.
Only these couple of cutout pieces were mounted this way; most were slapped up onto a vertical board already mounted to the outside of the school.
Putting pieces of the mosaic together.
When sections of the mosaic have been built on different tables, they need to be matched before mounting to correct gaps or overlaps.
Everything will be amazing.
Creating a plastic template of the mosaic.
These lines will be transferred to the cement board outside as guides for where each piece needs to be mounted.
Removing the template and mesh from the back of a mosaic section in preparation for mounting it.
The last time anyone gets to see the back of this mosaic section!
Transferring the lines from the template.
Mounting the first piece!
Spreading mortar around the outside edge of a mosaic section before it's mounted.
Many hands required...
Chocorua is up!
On a chilly morning, using tiny chisels and dental tools, volunteers scrape excess mortar out from between the tiles to make room for the grout.
The beginning of a big weekend of mounting and grouting.
We tape off the mosaic in small sections and use many different colors of grout to make the mosaic pop!
It's fun to work in close quarters on the staging—lots of talk and jokes, birthdays and birthday cake.
The LAST piece of the second mosaic is mounted!
Grouting in the shade of the staging.
David mixes many colors of grout.
Cleaning up the second mosaic to prepare it for grouting.
The final day of grouting.
Because we HAVE to finish, volunteers work until long after dark by the light of their cell phones.
Not deer, but happy and proud volunteers in the headlights. Both mosaics are completed!
A close-up detail of the mosaic.
Now go look at the real thing yourself and admire all the details, the tile and color choices, the beautiful grouting...
This is just about how celebratory we felt at the end of this enormous project!
David's designs were extraordinary. And then he helped us go from this...
...to this! Wow. Thank you, David.
Lucy Jackson Blake
Born in 1834. Teacher at the Jackson School. She married Ira Blake and they had one child. Ira died in the Civil War. She bought a farm, enlarged the orchard and turned the farmhouse into one of the early boarding houses. She kept diaries 1860-1888 that are now in the care of the Cook Memorial Library. Lucy was a lifelong church worker, a lecturer in the Grange, a caregiver. She had a long and full life – living to the age of 93.
Member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, born 1909 in South Dakota. Descendant of Meriwether Lewis. Tenth Mountain division in WWII. Hunter, trapper. Trained arborist, agriculture degree from UMASS Stockbridge. Moved to Tamworth in 1950. Farmed 13 acres. Boston Post Cane holder. Died 2012.
Arthur Treadwell Walden and Chinook
Arthur Treadwell Walden, born 10 May 1871, brought dogsled racing to Wonalancet, trained sled dogs, traveled to the South Pole with Admiral Byrd and Chinook, Alaska adventurer, author, Congressional Medal recipient. Died 1947, while saving his wife from a fire in the kitchen of their farmhouse.
Chinook, born 17 January 1917, one of three in a litter from a cross of a St. Bernard mix and a descendant of Admiral Peary’s Greenland husky lead dog. He weighed more than 100 lbs. Chinook is the NH state dog breed. Died 1929 in Antarctica.
Barbara Willey Fromm, born in 1918. Ancestors lived in Tamworth and Sandwich. Oil and watercolor painter, woodblock print artist of many Tamworth scenes. Cook Memorial Library houses a collection of her work. Moved to Tamworth with her husband, Woody, a frame maker, where she had a studio and gallery in Tamworth village. Onaway Club member. Died in 2010. Depicted here beside a print she made of the Cook Memorial Library by night.
Elizabeth Lane Whittemore
Born 1879. Founder of Tamworth Community Nurses and benefactor of the Chocorua Library. Lived in New Haven, CT and spent 50 summers in Chocorua. A bequest from her and her husband paid for construction of Runnells Hall. Died in 1966.
Born 1997 in Tamworth, NH. Home-schooled on a dairy farm, musician, Kennett High School graduate. At the time of the building of the mosaic, working as a fireman and EMT in Tamworth and Meredith, NH.
Reverend Samuel Hidden, born in Rowley, MA in 1760. Served in the Revolutionary War. Trained as a shoemaker, he worked his way through Dartmouth College, graduating in 1791. Called to the pulpit of the Tamworth Congregational Church in 1792 and ordained outdoors on what is now known as Ordination Rock. In addition to religious instruction and preaching he is remembered as a musician and music teacher and the founder of the Tamworth Social Library. He died in 1837 and is buried in Ordination Rock Cemetery.
Helen Bassett Hidden, George Eddy Smith
Helen Bassett Hidden, born in Tamworth in 1893. Wife, mother of five, pianist and band member, elementary school music teacher, genealogist, one of the founders of the Tamworth Historical Society. Cook Memorial librarian for 34 years. Died in 1964.
George Eddy Smith, born in 1940 in Lakeport, NH. A tenth-generation descendant of early Tamworth settlers, the Bryants. Husband, father of two, moved to Tamworth in 1975 after serving in the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard. Carpenter, contractor, prison guard, farmer, Shaker style broom and box maker. Member and deacon of the Congregational Church. Died in 2015.
Harvey and Francis Cleveland
Harvey, the pooka, or invisible rabbit, from the play of the same name, pictured with Francis Cleveland in front of The Barnstormers Theatre.
Francis Cleveland, born 1903. Actor, director, producer and, with his wife Alice and friend Ed Goodnow, founder of The Barnstormers Theater. Francis also ran a poultry business in Tamworth and served as a Tamworth Selectman. He was the youngest son of President Grover and Frances Folsom Cleveland. Died 1995.
Kate Sleeper Walden
Born in 1862. In 1890, as a single woman, she purchased the old Caleb Brown farm, which she renovated and then opened to the public as the Wonalancet Farm in 1892 to immediate success. Married Arthur Walden. Initiated the Wonalancet Chapel restoration, the forming of the Wonalancet Out Door Club, the introduction of the telephone to the area, served as the first postmaster of the Wonalancet Post Office. Advocated the preservation of great tracts of land that became part of the White Mountain National Forest. She died in 1949.
Born in Winchester, MA in 1856. Graduated from Harvard Law School and eventually became the secretary of that university. A journalist and nature writer who loved nature study and outdoor exploration; his books include At the North of Bearcamp Water. Died 1894.
Edwin Crafts Remick, born 1903. He joined his father’s medical practice in Tamworth after graduating from Tufts Medical School. Doc Remick worked as a country doctor in Tamworth until his death in 1993. He also ran a dairy farm and was active in raising horses and harness racing for decades. He left his home and farm, along with an endowment, to the Town of Tamworth.
Mount Chocorua and Chocorua Lake
An iconic view... I love the shadow cast by the deer.
...with the ladies' slippers that grow beside it.
Mosaic postcards—get them while you can.