While painting, sculpting and other fine arts may be better known, Tracy McAvity likes to practice the art of the mosaic.
McAvity who moved to 100 Mile House in 2002 after falling in love with the scenery and the “warm and kind” people in the South Cariboo, stumbled upon mosaics a year later after reading a magazine article called “How to Mosaic a Flower Pot.” Seized by a desire to try her hand at art, McAvity gave it a whirl.
Seventeen years later, art has become a big obsession for McAvity, who is one of the artists featured in the Parkside Art Gallery’s 20th-anniversary show Envision.
“As an artist, I use just a variety of material in my creations like wood, seashells, sand pebbles, stain glass, (fine chine) and things I find on nature walks,” McAvity said. “Creating is really a big passion of mine and it’s really for me about the process of the whole piece.”
She finds the process of making mosaic art almost addictive, saying it’s akin to assembling a puzzle. McAvity will shatter a piece of china, tile or glass and then find a new way to fit it all together in either a picture or an abstract way on a board or whatever you’re using as a medium.
Her most recent piece featured at Parkside, The Tree of Life, has leaves made from different pieces of china teapots, plates and cups along with everything else she could find. She cut 220 pieces to size for the piece and glued them to the board, which makes it the biggest and most fun piece she’s ever done.
Not many people do mosaic art, McAvity said, so she feels fortunate to help keep the craft alive. Her biggest inspirations for pieces often come from the ocean or hiking around lakes or other large bodies of water. One of the things she loves most about living in 100 Mile House, she said, is the number of lakes and nature in the area.
“For me, creativity kind of comes and goes like most artists, so I really like to do a lot of hiking and walking around the 100 Mile area. Nature definitely inspires me and I fid can be really creative after a good hike and I get my head into the piece I’m working on but you never know what you’re going to create,” McAvity said.
Her current mosaic will be made up of things she’s found on her hikes in fact including bottle caps, nuts and bolts, golf balls, bungee cords and coins.
Art, in her opinion, is important for different reasons for everyone in the community. McAvity personally finds art calming and a way to centre herself, putting herself in a positive headspace. She said she’s incredibly grateful to Parkside Gallery for giving her a place and venue to show her art over the years. As a result, she feels she’s become a better artist and having other people look at her work and give her feedback has made her more confident.
Having never received formal art training and barely being able to draw a circle in grade school, McAvity said she’s definitely a study on how anyone can do art if they put their mind to it. She suggests those considering getting into mosaic art should just go for it, noting they can put all kinds of meaningful things in what they create. The Tree of Life includes pieces of china from 1936 passed down to her from her grandmother, for example.
“Every time you look at it on the wall a memory comes back of something positive,” said McAvity, who works a medical transcriptionist typing up the emergency room and trauma medical reports for Vancouver.
Down the road, McAvity would like to do a few bigger pieces and put on her own show at the Parkside Gallery but said she’ll have to see what the new year brings.
“There are so many amazing artists at Parkside, especially in this show (Envision). There’s such a wide variety of different kinds of art people are doing with their own style, it’s definitely something worth seeing,” McAvity said. “We’re living in the craziest of time and you just need to find little things, every single day, to be grateful for.”