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Pelican Mosaic

During the final exhausting 12 hour “swanning” days to finish my swan for the Swans of Wells public art project, I was also preparing a mosaic project for Kings Hall School in Taunton. (I have a time turner like Hermione Granger !)

The brief was to use their school emblem “the Pelican” for a mosaic mural 1.2 metres in diameter.

Their Pelican is a mythical or heraldic Pelican, so it doesn’t look the same as a “modern” pelican  with it’s large beak.

I was interested to find out a bit about the symbolism of this creature. In heraldry, and in the Kings Hall’s Pelican it is “vulning” herself or “wounding” herself . This symbolises the bird as a caring mother, representing Christ feeding his followers with his body and blood. An older version of the myth is that the pelican used to kill its young then resurrect them with its blood, again analogous to the sacrifice of Jesus.( ref: wikipedia)   (…hmmm, I think the school were probably thinking of the first interpretation!!)

I was allowed to have my own artistic freedom choosing the colours for the Pelican. The original school logo is brown with a blue background. I didn’t want to change this too dramatically, so I thought we would make the pelican using graduated tones of brown; creams and golds working through to dark browns. I had used my day in Yeovil when I met the Queen and Prince Phillip to make a sample to show the kids the general idea, and I made a coloured copy of the pelican.

At Kings Hall school I worked with 60 kids over 1 and a half days. Most were from year 6 (age 10 and 11’s) and a few from year 4 (age 8 and 9’s)

To make the mosaic I prepared 8 sections for the kids to work on. We used the mesh method.

The kids were so enthusiastic and interested in the process, they worked really hard. The boys were full of questions about my work and wanted to know if I  drove a BMW and if  I was a  wealthy artist!! (if only!)

a dab hand with the mosaic nippers!

Tail section complete
cutting off the surplus mesh

After covering wedi board in tile adhesive we  installed all the sections

finishing touches after installing sections

Later the mosaic was displayed on one of the schools’ garden walls:

Pelican mosaic at Kings Hall school

Many thanks to art teacher Rebecca Perkins for the photos and who made me feel very welcome at the school! And many thanks to all the kids who expressed delight in making this mosaic. (I think that was all of you) You are fantastic!


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