Butterfly Mosaic Sculpture with artist Jill Gatwood

Amazing Commission

I have survived the stress of managing the supply business during the pandemic/supply crisis so far only by allowing myself periods when I get very slack in responding to non-crisis emails.

I tell myself I will get back to them eventually, but sometimes eventually is a long time.

Most emails that can be ignored for a month lose all relevance and can be ignored forever.

Other emails are just as important as they were on the day they were sent.

Artist Jill Gatwood sent me an email back on August 4th with the subject line “My largest solo mosaic piece.”

Both the mosaic and the email itself are worth seeing.

The mosaic is a mosaic sculpture butterfly that cleverly displays donor plaques as spots in the pattern of the wings, with the text being unobtrusive when the sculpture is viewed as a whole.

Rather than talk about how what I like about the design and the purpose of the project, here is Jill’s email in its entirety:

I almost always say No to commissions because I have found that – adding up the materials and the labor – the price would usually end up being prohibitive for most people. I also don’t like having “homework” hanging over my head and that’s what it feels like when I get a “job.” My usual response is to look at their site and plan and give them advice on how to do it themselves. A few people have taken me up on it, and I’ve walked them through it. It’s much more gratifying for them to have created it themselves. It’s gratifying to me, too!

But when I was asked to create a large butterfly mosaic, incorporating donor plaques, for an organization here called “Crossroads for Women,” I said yes. I really support this group, so I decided to do the whole piece myself and charge for the materials, but not my labor.

Crossroads provides services for women post-incarceration: mental health counseling, addiction treatment, job training, parenting classes and housing assistance. Jail/prison is a revolving door for many women who are much less likely to be there for violent crimes, but have addiction issues and a continually traumatic life. And usually their kids have been taken away from them. Crossroads addresses all of these issues and helps these women to move on and have productive lives. The butterfly is their symbol and logo.

It took me months to do, using a huge variety of my small or cut small tiles. The picture is from last night, their 25 year anniversary Gala, where the mosaic was unveiled and donors were honored. This is a temporary display. The butterfly will next be installed permanently on the lobby wall at Crossroads.

-Jill Gatwood
Butterfly Mosaic Sculpture with artist Jill Gatwood
Butterfly Mosaic Sculpture with artist Jill Gatwood






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