A tree lined street greeted me with friendly smiles as I passed park bench after bench filled with locals socializing on a sunny Sunday afternoon. After much anticipation, I had finally arrived in Ravenna, Italy.
As I approached the historic center, I could already feel the charmed atmosphere which would be my home for the next seven days. I wasn’t disappointed. My B&B was cosy and the garden was full of unruly flowers and the sweetest, laziest cats.
My mode of transportation was a “push bike” as the Brits call them, and I was immediately transported into feeling like a local. School started at 9:00 a.m., a bit early for my vacation brain but I was excited to enter the mysterious world of Mosaic art.
Without much research to go on I was a bit overwhelmed by everything. There’s a lot more to this than placing square tiles in cement. At first glance the tools of the trade are archaic looking. Cutting stones and smalti (glass bits) with a hammer seemed barbaric to me. And as time would prove, this was not an easy task…just ask anyone in my class how to make a triangle. I think I smashed the hell out of 10 stones for every triangle I wanted. I finally gave up and decided my masterpiece would be less than perfect.
I extended my contour lines way beyond the pattern before me and after gently being told I had fucked it up (again) I think the instructors gave up on me! I’m pretty sure Luciana cringed every time she passed my board. As she put it, “first you must know the rules before you’re allowed to break them.” Well put indeed, but I have always been a rule breaker and at 46 years old it’s pretty hard to teach an old dog a new trick.
I’m here to have fun and it has taken me a lifetime to accept all my imperfections and I’m quite happy to take home an imperfect copy of a classic mosaic piece. Truth is, I emailed a photo of my finished project to my husband and he thinks he’s married to a friggin’ genius! Mission accomplished
All in all, I had fun and as an extra bonus I made new friends in the process. My backpack is weighted down with two masterpieces completed by moi, and a nice bottle of local wine for Coco’s babysitter, the infamous Zio Aldo (although I think Zio secretly wishes the course was longer…he loves my cat!)
My journey was not just about connecting pieces of stone in a mosaic or connecting with other people but also about re-connecting with myself. What I learned from making a mosaic is that the art is also the spaces left in between. It’s a bit like my marriage. The spaces between our time together can be as equally rich and fulfilling.
I’m on the train home now and uploading photos is a bit of a pain in the ass, so you’ll just have to stay tuned to see the unveiling of my masterpieces!