Creating an Equine Tapestry
Published: January 24, 2013
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In ancient mythology, the horse was considered a symbol of victory - a tangible reminder of the power of the spirit and its ability to overcome even the most adverse situation.
It is no surprise, then, that Marley's Mission, a charity based in Newton Twp., uses horses to help heal victims of trauma. Now, the Abington Art Studio of Clarks Summit is helping to create an even more visible reminder of the horse's power in the form of an 8-foot tall horse mosaic made from materials that might have ended up thrown out with the trash.
Traditionally, recycling facilities have not been able to accept plastic bottle caps because of differences in melting temperatures and the safety hazard created if the caps are left on a bottle set to be processed. Last August, Clarks Summit Borough changed its recycling criteria, allowing for plastics No. 1-7 to be recycled, which includes plastic bottle caps.
Diana Lombardi, the owner of the Abington Art Studio, mentioned that she originally began to create plastic bottle cap mosaics with her students before the plastic recycling criteria changed. Realizing that the mosaics provided a unique chance for her students to try a different kind of art, she suggested this project to Marley's Mission as a part of their annual Blue Ribbon Gala, slated for Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Hilton in downtown Scranton.
"The bottle caps have beautiful and bright colors and are in all shapes and sizes that you can put into a large-scale mosaic and the results are just gorgeous," Lombardi said. "It is a beautiful experience of collecting, creating, making something from nothing and collaborating. It is extremely different from giving a lesson to someone about how to draw an object. This is large-scale and something that most children don't get to experience."
Lombardi also explained that the process of creating the mosaic itself is also an unusual experience.
"You have to work on it up close and then step back and look at it from a distance to see how it looks," she said. "This is an 8-foot high horse, you constantly have to go back and forth. A lot of times in the process, we've had to get up on chairs or tables to look at it from high to see where it needs to be lighter or darker."
For the children participating in the mosaic, many of them who are Lombardi's students, the project itself gives them the chance to feel connected to the community.
For example, 15-year-old Maria Veniamin of Clarks Summit sees the mosaic as her chance to hone her artistic skills as well as prepare herself for the future.
"I like the color-coding and working on the gradients the best. The bottle caps are hard to match up sometimes, but it will look nice when it is done," she said. "I like horses, so this is a fun project to work with. When I grow up, I'd like to help children in some way. It is nice to be able to help right now."
Zoe Haggerty, 14, of Clarks Green has experienced first-hand what Marley's Mission stands for as her mother, Rebecca, is the charity's vice president and she has volunteered there herself. Haggerty admits that she first thought the project would be hard but, as it progressed, she realized that the project had another, deeper calling.
"I thought it was going to be hard to get so many bottle caps but we ended up getting them," she said. "I thought the hardest part would be the drilling but that wasn't bad, either. So many people came together to do this that is has been a lot of fun. It is very exciting and inspiring to see so many people working together."
Echoing her daughter's sentiments, Rebecca Haggerty added that the project shows how something beautiful can come from even the most unlikely source.
"Our whole world needs to know the importance of recycling and the environment and the impact that we all have on the environment," she said. "This is a creative way that everybody can be involved. We are creating something sustainable and symbolic."
"This mosaic is a mirror image of trauma because something beautiful can come from the darkest places," she continued. "As we heal, we can bring some goodness out of whatever we've experienced and this project reflects that. You can take an ugly bottle cap, like we did, and make it into a beautiful piece of art."
A final mosaic construction day will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Abington Art Studio, 208 Depot St. Call 313-0527 for more information.