Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2013

LANDIS — Using bits of glass, tile, stones and clay, seven students have worked through the summer to leave a legacy at Corriher-Lipe Middle School.
Finally, this week, their mosaic mural now hangs on the wall. A colorful landscape scene will greet students as they walk down the hallway to the art classroom.
The seven rising ninth-graders who created it are all attending South Rowan High School in the fall.
“They were willing to come in and do this to benefit people who will be here long after they’re gone,” said Lynn B. Haynes, art teacher at Corriher-Lipe. “That says so much for who they are, to work this hard to continue to complete it. I’m very, very proud of them.”
Haynes said she invited 18 of her current and former students to work on the art project. They were people who she knew would work well as a group and have a desire to do something that benefits others.
Seven of them signed up, and all seven have been working since November 2012 to finish the project.
Now, there are just a few more pieces to add and a bit more grout to fill in before the mural is complete.
“I’m really proud of it,” said student Grace Horne. “We started with just a paper on the floor. This is amazing.”
Horne said she signed up to help create the mural because some of her friends were involved, and she’s glad she did.
“I wanted to be part of something that would be here for a long time,” she said.
Horne said she has enjoyed the bond that formed among the students as they worked on the project.
“We’ve had some cool conversations in here,” she said. “We all work together, and the people in the club got closer.”
Under Haynes’ guidance, Horne helped create the mosaic mural with Caitlin Cain, Bryan Fink, Valerie Gibson, Melena Gonzales, Kristen Hammond and Sierra Phillips.
The club met for least two days per week during the school year, with the goal of completing the mural by February 2013.
Later, that goal was moved to March.
When spring began, Haynes said one of her students finally asked her, “We’re not going to get this done by the end of the year, are we?”
Rather than rush their project, the students agreed to continue meeting during the summer – more frequently when classes first ended, and then sporadically when they could get the club together.
On Monday, five of the students worked to make some of their last adjustments to the 16-foot-by-4-foot mural.
A brightly-colored sun gives off rays of yellow, orange, pink and red glass as it rises into a deep blue sky. Surrounding it are brown and purple mountains made of sparkling stones. Some of the sun’s colors mingle with the transluscent blue and green glass of the lake below.
Patterned green tiles of grass leads to a brown tree trunk. At the end of the tree’s branches are clay leaves that the students carved, fired and glazed themselves.
“The idea for the mural came from the need to cover a wall space outside of the art room,” Haynes said. “After purchasing several boxes of scrap stained glass at an auction I decided to create a mosaic.”
When they heard about the mural, Gail Marsh and Cozart Lumber Company in Rockwell donated a large assortment of sample tiles and laminate. Haynes said the students used those tiles throughout the mural, and she now has enough left over to use them in future projects.
The mural actually ended up being too heavy to hang in its original location.
“Maybe that will be our next project,” Haynes said.
Instead, it occupies a corner just down the hallway, where it catches light from nearby windows.
She said the landscape scene is a combination of ideas from the club. Different students suggested mountains, water, trees and a sunrise during their first meetings together.
The students then drew an outline of their design on large sheets of paper taped together. Using this outline, they painstakingly laid out each piece of the mosaic before gluing them to the back of the mural. Grout was added between the pieces to smooth it out.
Along the way, the students had to learn how to cut and shape glass shards and tile using a tile cutter.
Most of the students, including Fink, said cutting the glass with a tile cutter was the hardest part. But it got easier as they went along, he said.
Fink said he joined the group because it seemed like a fun activity. It’s been more work than he expected, but he came back over the summer to see it through.
“I wanted to get this done,” Fink said. “It’s just for other kids to see, but it’s still a great thing to do.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.