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Mosaics vs. Hurricanes

mosaic of scuba diver looking at a coral reef with tropical fish

Let me start from the beginning. In 2004, I was commissioned by the City of Melbourne, Florida to collaborate with the Brevard County Achievement Center for handicapped adults and local high school students to create a 5' x 20' mosaic mural at the Sherwood Park pool. After we had created the mosaic in sections on fiberglass mesh, we began the on-site installation process.

Working outdoors during Florida summer months can be challenging; not only with the heat, but we get rain and lightening storms as well. Fortunately, we had a roof structure over our heads so we had some protection overhead, but there were 2 sides that were all open.

We had finished installing about one-third of the mosaic when the weather reports started talking about storm activity out in the Atlantic Ocean. We were using thinset as our mortar throughout the entire process and I was very glad of it. When the storms hit, I imagined we would lose our mosaic as none of it was grouted yet. We only got as far as adhering a portion of it to the wall with our thinset. I knew the winds and rain would be pounding it unmercifully.

All three hurricanes hit with only a few weeks reprieve in between them. August 10th Hurricane Charlie hit, Francis came in on the 24th and Jeanne hit September 14th. A wild six weeks!

As soon as we could get to the site to inspect it, we went. Much to my surprise, not one tile had popped off – nothing was damaged. It was amazing! We went on to complete the mosaic with no further interruptions and unveiled it during a ceremony at the park.

11 years later and the mosaic is still there. We've never had another storm season like that one and hope we never do again.

this article is made possible by the support of skeew.biz - cool stuff for cool mosaics

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