Santa Cruz mosaic artist Christine Evans was profoundly affected when Donald Trump won the presidential election.
"There’s so much divisiveness and serious concerns that people have, I thought I would like to do a community piece that makes it possible for people to come together and create something that they care about together," Evans says.
So for the past four months, Evans and fellow mosaic artist Julie Norton have organized monthly mosaic tree-making sessions, where anybody is welcome to design and put together a leaf.
Evans created a template for the tree. Individuals who attend the workshops get to create their own leaf designs. Some people have made political symbols like a #BlackLivesMatter fist or a planet symbolizing environmental values. Evans and Norton encourage people to talk while they make their leaves, and especially want to inspire discussions around the meaning of what they're creating.
One eight year-old artist made a leaf he calls "Escaping the Wall," referring to the wall on the Mexican border President Trump is keen to build. Another mosaic-maker who voted for Trump made a leaf to express the importance of love and connection with her family.
Two cupped hands made of tiles that reflect the diversity of skin color will go at the top of the trunk. Built of tiles that reflect the diversity of hair color, the trunk will feature prominently in the finished work, Evans says.
"I want to create a space where we can come together with respect for one another," Evans says. "And maybe if there are differences of opinion, we can influence each other. Everyone has been very willing to share."
Evans anticipates the end product will be roughly 10 feet across and six feet high and will be finished sometime before the end of the year. There is no permanent display location established yet, though Evans hopes the artwork will go on show somewhere in Santa Cruz County. "I’d love it to be on or in a public building that isn’t going to be removed anytime soon," she says.
The next scheduled mosaic making event is on Sunday, Apr. 23. More info here.