It had been a while since the community of Merkinch had come together to make a work of art and there were a couple of spaces on the walls of the community centre just asking to be brought to life. So, one Monday morning in September 2011, I set up a mobile mosaic workshop on the concourse of this bustling and happy building and waited to see if anyone wanted to join in the making.
I was not disappointed. People of all ages flocked around to see what I was up to. I had cut out a giant tree shape, crowned with a rainbow. Across the rainbow were the words Merkinch - 'The Place to Be'. And so it seemed, because by the end of the first day I had so many mosaic volunteers (many from the Singing for Pleasure group) that we had completed the lettering and filled in the branches and some of the leaves. That evening, the Youth club started work on the rainbow and completed much of the tree trunk. It was all going well.
Next day, with a new crowd of volunteers, a blackbird and robin were made, sitting high in the tree, well out of reach of the large glamorous mosaic cat which appeared at the foot of the tree trunk! And so the week went on, with volunteers from the general public, the After School Club and the Rainbow Singers, to name but a few, each devoting between 15 minutes and three hours in order to make their own special contribution to the big mosaic tree.
By Thursday lunchtime, it was obvious that the mosaic would be completed in time and all that was left to do was for the hard working members of staff to take a few minutes out of their schedule to put the last few pieces in this beautiful community 'jigsaw'. By the time I left Merkinch on the Friday afternoon, the tree had been grouted and put away in Iain's store, ready to be installed the following week.
Thank you to all at Merkinch for the big welcome I received and for putting their hearts into making this magnificent mosaic!