common / Crossroads Weekend

Mosaics for the Masses offers creative outlet for greater good

Kate Shunney

Veronica Wilson looks over her first mosaic, made of a broken goddess, metal pieces, glass and pottery.Veronica Wilson looks over her first mosaic, made of a broken goddess, metal pieces, glass and pottery.Veronica Wilson has accumulated a shimmering array of material scraps from her years as a potter and glass artist.

Outside her studio are bins full of glazed bowls and plates that got broken, squares and triangles of glittering glass too small to use in a window or stained glass piece.

In keeping with her mission to spur creativity and give others a boost, Wilson decided to turn those art scraps into something bigger and better.

Her studio, Frog Valley Artisans, is sponsoring the first Mosaic for the Masses – an event that invites locals and visitors to come to her Cold Run Valley studio and make a piece of art from all sorts of materials.

Wilson provides the art material, studio space and guidance for anyone – even those who don’t consider themselves artists – to create a mosaic.

Some of the materials available for mosaic-making at Frog Valley's studio.Some of the materials available for mosaic-making at Frog Valley's studio.Artists will leave their finished piece with Wilson, who will display the mosaics downtown and will auction them off in August to raise funds for “Working with MS” – a multifunctional art studio planned for downtown Berkeley Springs to serve veterans and people with disabilities.

Wilson, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003, wants to provide a full-time, handicapped accessible studio in the center of town with artists who will guide visitors through creative work in all sorts of genres – painting, pottery, glass, beading, etc.

“It will be an art facility and provide advocacy for folks with post traumatic stress disorder and disabilities. Berkeley Springs is all about the healing waters. This will be a healing art center,” said Wilson.Sam Gray sketches the design for her mosaic at Frog Valley’s studio.Sam Gray sketches the design for her mosaic at Frog Valley’s studio.

“Nobody knows more about hospitals than someone who suddenly got diagnosed with MS. Most people don’t know their rights, including a lot of vets who are getting care at the VA,” she said.

“It’ll be open to the community to raise awareness and be a learning experience. If we don’t know what someone wants to learn, we’ll learn it, because that’s how dedicated we are to the concept,” said Amanda Brooke Footen, one of Frog Valley’s artists and Wilson’s assistant.

So far, several people and even some groups have taken up the challenge to make mosaics in Wilson’s studio.

“It’s like a puzzle you make up as you go along,” said potter Katie Radigan, who also works at Frog Valley. Finished pieces will all be two and a half by three feet, but all will be different.

Footen is helping an art class at Berkeley Springs High School complete a mosaic. She’s also watched over Laurie Metzner places a piece on her mosaic clock.Laurie Metzner places a piece on her mosaic clock.a group of young women who wanted to make something together just for fun.

Sam Gray was still sketching out the watery design for her mosaic during a recent studio day. She wanted the finished piece to echo her belief that charity begins at home and ripples outward to help others.

She said it was her first ever mosaic piece. Gray echoed Wilson’s concern for veterans and the importance of their continued care after their military service is over.

“The art thing – just about anybody can do something and I can teach them how,” said Wilson.

Frog Valley is welcoming mosaic artists most Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other studio times are available by appointment by calling Wilson at 304-258-3541 or emailing veronica@frogvalley.com.

To view Art Voices WV's mini-documentary on Veronica Wilson and Frog Valley, click on this link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJA0em_cChE&feature=youtu.be

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