Bird Boy

“The Care Takers” mosaic detail: boy and red-headed woodpecker

“The Care Takers” is a natural stone mosaic installed at Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. It is part of my public art commission to create mosaics for the elementary schools there. This mosaic features a strong message on environmental stewardship, inspired by the school’s strong hands-on science programs, including aquaculture and water quality issues.

This detail photo shows a student who is placing a Red-Headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) into the tree. Originally it was going to be a Mourning Dove, but I thought the color might be too similar to the boys skin and the limestone background. The tree is a Live Oak, inspired by a handful of these majestic trees in a neglected bit of land near OceanView Elementary. I got to the tour that area- called a remnant dune- on one of my visits to the school. It was like an ancient forest tucked in a forgotten corner of this built up city suburb.

The tree trunk is made of a stone called Stalatiti Bronze, a marble from… I really don’t know anything about it. I found it online and I’m not sure it’s even available anymore. It has amazing grain. The stone is sliced very thin and mounted onto porcelain tile. That makes it very hard to cut. Fred cut the entire tree trunk, which made all the more challenging because so many of the pieces were long and thin.

This amazing stone is called Stalatiti Bronze Marble