Piecing together approximately 14,000 fragments of ceramic tile, marble, mirror and stones, eight students and an instructor took one month to create a beautiful legacy in the center of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s main campus.
The Centennial Mosaic, designed by David A. Stabley, instructor of ceramics and wood sculpture, is now complete on a wall of the Physician Assistant Center in the middle of campus. Measuring approximately 17 by 25 feet, the mosaic’s design relates to “social connectedness, paths travelled, dreams and the pleasure of learning through hands-on work,” according to Stabley.
For the installation of the artwork, Stabley led a team of students enrolled in a three-credit course titled, “The Art of the Mosaic.” The class met four days a week from May 19 through June 19.
“It went faster than I thought,” Stabley said, adding that the class only faced three days of rain. “Most of the time, it was cloudy, which is perfect weather for this, especially for grouting.”
Students enrolled in the class were: Rachael A. Byerly, Williamsport, a senior in web and interactive media; John M. Good IV, Williamsport, a freshman in engineering design technology; Mechelle L. Hawkins, Williamsport, a junior in nursing; Ryan K. Jackson, Mount Airy, Maryland, a freshman in plastics and polymer engineering technology; Laura H. Pursel, Williamsport, a junior in graphic design; Stefen P. Scheib, Williamsport, a sophomore in studio arts; Nicholas J. Vetock, Shippensburg, a sophomore in graphic design; and Emmalee J. Williams, South Williamsport, a junior in graphic design.
Stabley said the students from varying majors had no experience in mosaic construction, but quickly picked up on the techniques required.
Jackson said he was surprised with “how easy it is” to create a mosaic. The Maryland resident said he enjoyed extending his time on campus following the spring semester.
“I thought being away from home, for at least part of the summer, sounded nice,” he said. Jackson added he took the class for an art elective.
Pursel described the mosaic installation process as “organized chaos” and said she was most surprised with “the amount of tiles people donated.”
“This really is part of the community,” she said. “We’ve used tiles that are in people’s houses, their kitchens, bathrooms and sheds.”
The mosaic features ceramic tile, marble and mirror donated from numerous individuals, mostly college employees, and Corter’s Carpet & Wallpaper, of Williamsport. Stabley also brought in several pieces left over from personal mosaic projects, and the class also incorporated some small stones from the college’s landscaping. Only a few pieces had to be purchased.
“There are so many pieces of the community in this,” Byerly said. “People are really excited about the mosaic. It’s been nice to be a part of something like this.”
The Centennial Mosaic is one of three large-scale art installations slated for Penn College’s main campus to honor the institution’s 100-year milestone. The others, one utilizing sheet metal and the other featuring natural materials harvested from the Schneebeli Earth Science Center, will also incorporate student participants.
− Photos by Cindy D. Meixel, writer/photo editor