Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mosaic Inspiration

I can't begin to capture the feelings I had when I entered Isiah Zagar's Magic Gardens in Philadelphia yesterday afternoon.  It was as a spiritual experience for me.  Really!  
I felt my pulse racing; 
I felt like sobbing; 
I felt out of breath.  
As a result of my state of mind, when I ran into the artist early in my wandering through his gardens I was nearly speechless -- I did manage to grab his hand (you know I'm a toucher!) and say "Thank you" repeatedly.  I'd say that he went off thinking me "mad," but I bet he's used to people rendered speechless.  
What are the Magic Gardens, you ask?
The gardens take up half a city block on South Street in Philadelphia.  But this is no ordinary garden:  enter a mosaic-covered building and find yourself inside an entirely mosaicked space; that's right, entirely!  Walls, floor, ceiling -- no surface is untouched.  Wander into mosaic rooms, an interior courtyard, and enchanting "gardens" -- complete with grottos, arches, stairways, and nooks -- all created by a combination of sculpture and mosaic (the arches, grottos, stairs, and walls were clearly not there to begin with!).  
Here are a few photos that I took with my trusty iphone, but if you want more images check out the website for this remarkable place.

An interior room -- no space uncovered!

Wall and roof-line mosaics draw the eyes up to the sky.

A stairway in the outdoor garden also draws the eyes up to the amazing creations that adorn the garden walls and the roof of the building.

An enchanted grotto.

A poet's wall?

More wonderful arches, creating a private room within this very intimate corner of the garden. 
The garden walls are constructed of everything you could possibly imagine, but a sizable amount of the armature is provided by bicycle wheels that offer glimpses into yet other spaces in the garden.

And here is one of the many glass tiles embedded in the wall, letting light in and revealing a mosaicked wall beyond.

Looking through spokes into a lower "room" in the garden.

A harmony of green mugs and an old bicycle wheel capture my eye. 

With ART above my shoulder and magic all around, I can't wipe the smile from my face!