Concept 3:
Small Talk in a Big World

Catharine Magel


My intention is to give the viewer an exhilarating, full-body experience through images, colors, and textures. The Tile/Mosaic Wall mural consists of images gathered from the natural world, intermixed with patterns from various cultures,

Small talk is illustrated by two figures that I imagine are talking (to the far right) about the world. The world is expressed as large, colorful, alive, and part of our everyday experiences. All this beauty, all this exuberant color, all the patterns from diverse cultures culminates down to a small end of the mural that is about our understanding of our part in protecting it, believing in it, living in it, and exploring it. I imagine the two are speaking about our interest in protecting the natural world around us.

Patterns- Most patterns we design come from the influence of the natural world. The patterns from many cultures are to represent our diversity in the neighborhood. Who lives here? How do we think?
What are our concerns? And how do we protect and enjoy all we have built?

Community Engagement

Questions are there to ponder through quotes, and images perhaps as community members explore through writing the ideas about protecting our natural environment in and out of the city. Working with clay offers the possibility to have community engaged in the process by making textures and small pieces to be woven into the overall design. The community gatherings will take place during the process of the making of the mural. The title for this piece will also be part of the community collaboration, so the title I have listed can be temporary.


Ceramic and Mosaic Glass

CM_SAMPLE_1-2The materials chosen for this mural will reflect and absorb light. Glass and glazed ceramic combined have incredible depth and yet the surface will change with the time of day offering constant renewal and discovery with the play of light and shadow. The luminous glass will enhance the layering of color while the images will have more contrast as the mural depicts movement and depth. Vibrant images will showcase species from this habitat. Some of these images will standout with gold luster glass. Color will play an important role for the success of these areas to be filled with life and motion.

Materials used are maintenance free.

Tile is my own clay body that is 0.6 absorption. Found tile will not be used because it can chip and break down over time. Freezing, thawing, expansion or contraction will not affect my clay. The thin set and grout will have additives where no sealing is necessary. Epoxy grout and thin set would be used for all water areas. Cleaning all surfaces would be with mild soap and water. Chemicals are not necessary. All fabrication will be hand made by Riverworks Studio allowing for the community to participate in this process. We will bring clay to local areas and invite community members to make along with us parts of this mural.


The water feature would be part two of this design and is included in this proposal. I will describe it below for furthering the overall site.

The water feature areas will be fabricated with glass pool tile and Glass Fusions (please see Small Samples included). The top of the wall where the water begins is the color of a sunrise or sun set. Color will transition to blues like a stream that will have surprises along the way of illustrating Missouri plant life and small native creatures that one finds near water such as a small mosquito or a large fish.

As we come to the ground installation, the water is deeper, becomes a river, and has much more movement and play.

The water feature creates a connection that begins as a stream along the top of the mural and by the time it gets to the ground installation, will mimic a small river embellished in places with flora and fauna from our region. The water will be fabricated with POOL TILE and GLASS FUSIONS making up most of the special imagery and adding sparkle in surprising places. The possibility for community involvement making glass fusions will be possible. Utilizing the wall and the ground at this site will engage the viewers while sitting or playing in the water that travels along the ground and above the wall.

Catharine Magel’s Philosopy

I believe the built environment has a great deal of power to influence each one of us. The unexpected and or daily encounter with works of art has the potential to change how people perceive their surroundings and interact with each other. I am interested in artwork that expresses shared values with the community and also how the finished artwork serves to anchor and activate the proposed site. I approach each project with respect for community, environment, and history.
The technical aspects of designing projects that must perform in the public arena physically as well as aesthetically intrigue me. My work considers maintenance and conservation requirements suitable for indoors or outdoors. In several instances, the work of art serves to inform the public and can act as signage, landmarks, or even neighborhood gateways connecting communities.
My public works can make use of a variety of durable materials from ceramic tile, mosaic, bronze, fiberglass, glass and cast metal and lazar cut metal. I view each situation as a new opportunity to create a work that functions as a catalyst for dialogue rather than a monologue. Color, bold form, and a keen sense of materials, images, and text are some of the strategies that I could employ to create work that evokes a positive experience by focusing on the relationship of the work to the site and host community.

I enjoy collaborating with the community, architects, panel members, and other stakeholders. These collaborations have always been an important and exciting part of the resulting work of art, serving to strengthen the end product. Several commissions have been in concert with community groups and individuals. My work is a good fit for this project because I work in a variety of materials that are durable and maintenance free. In many instances my projects have been in direct response to the architecture, location, use of the site, or history of the community.

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