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.

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