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Walnut Creek Fountain Near Completion


Ene (Wowhaus) and I finished installing “Geologica” in Walnut Creek. It was a tiring but exciting and rewarding 4 days. After a year of planning, prepping and pre-laying tile, it is refreshing to see the piece in place! Water will be going in sometime next week, so make sure to check this out next time you’re in Walnut Creek. It is on N. Main street and Bonanza, right outside the Well’s Fargo.

The white pipe sticking out of the top has since been cut and is level with the top of the Geode. This is where the water will spill out of, once the fountain is filled.

The dappling light effect from the overhead trees add to the design. We purposely thought about how this kind of light would look when laying the reflective glass tiles.

The open face of the geode faces away from the street, making the experience more unique for pedestrians.

All of the ceramic tile was pre-laid at the Wowhaus studio. I left space for the gold seams. Last Sunday night (during the eclipse!) Ene and I loaded all of the panels into the truck and had two strong men (Scott, Ene’s husband, being one of them) lift the geode in, along side. Getting up at 4:30am to make it to the site by 7, we met the crane in Walnut creek to secure the Geode into place.

We spent Monday and Tuesday morning attaching the pre-laid panels to the fountain. It required a lot of trimming, patience and strength (mixing over 200 lbs of thin-set). The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday were spent filling in the seams with with gold, silver and iridescent black. Thursday morning we grouted!

The days were long (6am – 6pm) but we got it done. And we would not have been able to do it without the help of my friend Bethany! She came as a friend and a volunteer and we could not have had more pleasant company during the installation. Bethany was so great working with the Walnut Creek community and with those interested in participating and laying tiles. She also has a great eye and hand for this kind of work and I hope she can come for the next project. Thank you again Bethany for all of your help!!

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We made the news!

More photos to come, but check out the article from Contra Costa Times!

North Main foutain re-do Walnut Creek

Watch The Video!

The video in the previous post is a tour of the fabulous Wowhaus! This is where I get to work every week. Ene and Scott are so talented and it is wonderful to see such a tasteful documentation of their home and studio. You can even see a quick view of the nook where I sleep when I spend the night! I love getting to work in such an inspiring place.

We are installing the Walnut Creek fountain this week! We just finished day 2 and made great progress. I can’t wait to share photos!

This is where I work!

Terrariums

This week I researched how to make terrariums! I was always seeing them around and it has been on my mental list of things to make for too long. All you need is a few garden supplies and decent sized jars. I started with the plants and picked out a variety of succulents (but there are other plants that will equally thrive in a terrarium). But because I recently returned from Arizona, and loved the landscape, I was immediately drawn to these guys.


The first layer is 1/4 – 1/2 inch of charcoal (any garden center will know what this is and have it in small-large bags. The charcoal provides space for excess water, it also absorbs any odors. Next is a layer of moss. This creates a barrier for the soil. Without the moss, the soil would seep down to the bottom and the charcoal would not be able to do it’s job. Regular potting soil works fine. Finally, carefully remove the plants, keeping as many roots intact as possible and arrange as you please! I then watered each one until the soil looked damp.

I added small treasures to each jar. This was a great opportunity to use broken pieces of china, seashells, buttons, marbles, and funny tiles I bought but then never had a reason to use. I loved how each and every one turned out.

I gave most of my terrariums away as gifts, and instead of wrapping them I cut and ripped strips of fabric I had collected. I have been tape-less wrapping all my gifts this year and I love the way this looked. I used the same idea and tied bows around the opening of each terrarium.

Walnut Creek Fountain – Geode

To build the “Geode,” Ene Osteraas (of Wowhaus)¬†and I bought an exercise ball and blew it up just slightly smaller than we wanted the actual structure to be. Using cement and sections of fiberglass mesh, we covered the ball one layer at a time.

Once we had enough layers, the sphere was flipped and the ball removed.

The walls are strong and about 1/4 inch thick. I had to use a masonry drill to get holes in the sides where the stainless-steel skeleton would be inserted. Once the reinforcing frame was in place, we continued layering until the walls were 1 inch thick.

The next step is to mosaic! This is what I will be doing this week. Here is a close-up of the sample geode I had already made. Now we get to do this on a much larger scale! I can’t wait!

The following week we are installing onsite!

Spark Images

 

Spark Installed

We started the Spark installation on Friday, March 2 and and finished Tuesday, March 6 around 6pm. Ene and I worked 12 – 13 hour days. It was hard work but I am so proud of the finished pieces. We would not have finished in the time we did without our helpers and installation team. Thank you so much!!

 

Day 1: The Spark murals were still stacked in sections at the Wowhaus Studio in Sebastopol.

 

A hired forklift easily picked up and loaded the truck. That stack of murals weighs over 800 lbs!

 

Day 2: On site at Chabot College in Hayward, the construction team (Gary and Dave who were amazing) unloaded the sections to measure and trim.

 

The sections were put up one by one (8 panels per mural) and each panel has over 6 screws. These guys are drilling into the most dense concrete/rock wall I have ever seen. I am still amazed that there are tools and the right people out there who can make this possible.

Day 3 and 4: We were patching up the seams and edges where needed. We had some great helpers for this process so thank you Debbie and Henry!! This is a closeup of one of the sections Henry worked on. Great job!

 

Day 5: We grouted! Each mural has at least 2 grout colors. We blended from light to dark which adds another dimension to the design. We were able to grout all four murals in one day. My mom Bonnie, sister Samantha and good friend Susan were on site all day helping to grout. We could not have done it without you!

Ene Osteras-Constable, the artist, is taking off the blue tape after we completed the second mural.

 

Here is the completed red mural. The colors change depending on the time of day. If you look in the top left corner you see specks of blue. That color is actually all over the mural but depending on the sun, different colors are highlighted.

Happy helpers made the day fun and memorable. So glad Sammy was here visiting from Brooklyn so she could share this with me!

More Photos on the way. Ene (the artist and mastermind behind this project) took shots throughout the day so I will post those as I get them!

Sparks! Installation this week

We have selected and tested the grout colors and getting ready to install THIS FRIDAY – THURSDAY!

I can’t wait to see them on site and pieced together. I will make sure to take lots of photos.

Thank you to all the volunteers who have offered to help grout. It will make a huge difference to have many hands, and also make the day more fun!

Walnut Creek Fountain update

I continue to move along with the Walnut Creek fountain project. I am working on mesh (tacking down the pieces with diluted glue) and will install/adhere the panels in sections on site.

The fountain is square and has three tiers. Each panel is either a side or a top and I pre-taped each one to fit exactly on the fountain. The most challenging part is visualizing the final design and making sure the geological striations flow together correctly as I lay out each new layer.

The gaps between the differing colorings will be lined with iridescent glass and gold pieces. Because the the glass is so much thinner than than the ceramic tile, that portion will be done entirely on site.

This photo also shows the amount of space I have to work in! That counter is over 12′ long and while you can’t tell from here, there are two more panels of tiled mesh below what is seen here. There is also a second table I am working on in the middle of the work space, about 10′ long.

This is a view from the other direction. There are big doors on either side of the work space so I get lots of light, and views of the redwoods. I often get helpers (like Chester the cat) who comes in to keep me company.