Way back in July 2015, I traveled to Safety Harbor, Florida, to work on a 40’ foam bench that my mosaic colleague, Melissa Haist had conceptualized. She hired her friend, Kumpa Tawornprom who is a professional large-scale industrial foam sculptor (works can be seen at Disney & Warner Brothers theme parks throughout the country) to create a curvy 40’ bench outside at Tupelo on 4th (her boutique and art studio).
I spent 6 days with Kumpa to encapsulate the bench with wire and mortar to create a substrate for the mosaic to adhere the tile to.
Three years later, in June 2018, I returned to Safety Harbor, FL to help Melissa come up with a design for the mosaic bench, to teach several workshops on creating large-scale mosaics, and to have the students contribute to covering the bench in tile.
We made a good amount of progress figuring out the design and started mosaicking the ends of the bench with water elements including a ripcurl wave.
Later that year in October 2018, I returned to Tupelo on 4th to teach my garden stake class and continue working on the bench. We were able to get the Gaudí inspired sun fabricated and installed.
I got a lot of work completed on the mosaic ripcurl wave including some cute fish!
Well COVID couldn't stop us! July 2021, Melissa taught some classes on mosaic fabrication and was able to progress more on the bench with the help of her students.
I just got back from spending a week in Florida at the end of July 2021. We invited our colleague Shelley Beaumont to come and help Melissa and I continue work on the bench. We made huge progress and got about 85% of the bench finished!