After the Aug. 24 Napa earthquake T Beller looked at the random collection of pottery shards strewn across her kitchen floor and thought not of despair but of art.
“I was seeing this beautiful scattering of different colored teapots and cups and bowls, just lying on the floor. It was this incredible loss of stuff I didn’t care about.
“But I also was attracted to the beauty of those shards and what they represented,” said Beller, a mosaic artist and arts advocate who also owns a tour company called Verve Napa Valley.
She was inspired to launch a community art project, collecting pieces of heirlooms, keepsakes and meaningful everyday household objects that were broken in the 6.0 quake.
All of those pieces, with their collective histories, will become part of an outdoor mosaic sculpture, or series of sculptures, that will be the centerpiece of a memorial to a disaster than did $300 million in damage to Napa alone and left one woman dead.
People from Sonoma County and Solano County who also lost treasures in the quake, are invited to add their shards to the project. Pieces will be collected through Oct. 5 at The Grand Hand Gallery, 1136 Main St., in Napa.
“I thought it would provide an opportunity for the community to come together to create a unified memorial that would be a very powerful project of healing,” Beller said.
Acollaboration among Verve, The Grand Hand Gallery and the non-profit Nimbus Arts in St. Helena, the art piece will be designed as a collective vision of people in the community, including local artists and students.
“We’ve received tubs and tubs of wonderful pieces of broken ceramics and other keepsakes,” said Beller.
“It’s a beautiful jumble of different colors, textures and materials. It’s so inspiring to look at those tubs of shards and imagine putting them together to create a whole artistic piece.”
Organizers are negotiating to place the finished mosaic “in a place of natural beauty” somewhere in downtown Napa.
For more information on the project, email quakemosaic@ gmail.com or call 253-2551.
— Meg McConahey