From Central Park to Liverpool – One Mosaic Art Project’s Journey
Completing a special mosaic for a customer in the UK was more interesting than we ever…Imagined. This week, we’re sharing the story of a wonderful mosaic art project commission that involves big hearts, big mosaics, a brush with some big names – and a heartwarming conclusion.
The History of the Imagine Mosaic In Central Park
As we’ve covered in previous articles, the famous “Imagine” mosaic at Central Park, New York is a world-famous memorial to the legendary John Lennon. Located within the Strawberry Fields area of the city park, the mosaic medallion is inset into a central pathway. It contains a single word: the title of one of Lennon’s songs, “Imagine”. Done in the style of Portuguese pavement, it’s inspired by Greco-Roman designs.
Following Lennon’s untimely death in 1981, his widow, Yoko Ono funded the development of a patch of land in Central Park. Now known as “Strawberry Fields” (after another Beatles hit), work began in 1984. Ono requested a “living memorial” for Lennon – rather than a statue. She also wanted the space to evolve into an international garden of peace – which it has.
Interestingly, it was the one gift of many that Ono chose from a raft of international donors. The black and white color scheme and ancient starburst pattern appealed to Yoko, making it a favorite. It soon became the main display at the site.
The simple message and strong design of the Imagine mosaic have captivated people around the world – and also resonated with our customer – who contacted us about our version of the design.
A Search for Permission
They had a very special destination in mind for the large medallion (6.4 meters in diameter which is equal to 252 inches): The gardens of a UK charity. The Salvation Army in Liverpool, England provides specialized care for young adults with disabilities – giving them educational, cultural, and spiritual training to assist them in finding meaningful employment. In a place that emphasizes the virtues of peace, tranquility, and love, the client felt, the ‘Imagine’ mosaic would be the perfect gift for their gardens.
Impressed with the quality and workmanship of Mozaico mosaic art, the company reached out to us for a custom-sized marble mosaic design. There was just one concern: As the garden was a public space, there was a concern that no copyright laws were violated in using the design.
To ensure there were no issues, there were communications with The New York Copyright Records Department, Yoko Ono’s attorneys, and even the creators of the original mosaic in Italy!
Making the Imagine Mosaic
The architects in the UK provided the drawings for our team to work with. It was critical that the correct dimensions were used, as this is meant to be a permanent – and important!- installation.
Large-scale mosaic art projects require more hands-on work than smaller designs. After laying out the printed outlines under a clear piece of plastic, the base layer of mesh is placed on top.
The detailed art shows not only the size, shape, and color of each individual tile – it also indicates the direction of its placement. Little details like this make our designs dynamic and rich.
Strong lines of black and white delineate the sections within the starburst, as seen in this detail.
Tens of thousands of tessera go into designs of this side. And yes – each one is set and fastened by hand! Our artists use their fingers and even tweezers to place and glue these tiles, sometimes trimming pieces to fit perfectly within an area.
A Marble-ous Connection!
Large scale pieces like these require a whole team to take them to completion. Four Mozaico artists worked on the project for 16 weeks! In the end, the quality and durability of handmade mosaic art cannot be matched. Here, the marble mosaic tiles have been polished to perfection, and the mosaic is ready to be shipped to its final destination: The Salvation Army in Strawberry Field, Liverpool, England!
Yes – it’s the same facility that inspired the name of the famous song. The Salvation Army Children’s Home was very close to Lennon’s childhood home in Woolton, Liverpool. He grew up playing in the same gardens, as well as hearing the Salvation Army Brass Band practicing.
What a perfect ending to our story. The Imagine mosaic has become a powerful symbol – inspiring hope, goodwill and harmony, and unity. The original song has become an anthem of tolerance and peace. and We know that Lennon would be delighted with the outcome of this mosaic adventure!
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