Mesolini Glass Studio, started in 1977 by Gregg Mesmer and Diane Bonciolini, is located on Bainbridge Island, Wash. The couple is known for their various works in glass art, from glass dishware to walking surfaces in concrete.
Through commissions, grants and donations, Bonciolini and Mesmer have been able to share their talents, providing many workshops and project opportunities for local students. And much of their public artwork involves the help of young people, creating glass art for schools and communities in the Northwest.
The mural shown here is no different. In 2005, Mesolini Glass Studio was commissioned by the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island to create a concrete-and-glass mosaic map of the island to be placed at the new Rotary Gateway Park. This 312-square-foot map was constructed, paver by paver, outside their studio. They fabricated 78 pavers, each 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 inches, from concrete and more than 30,000 pieces of recycled glass.
Each tile was made individually using concrete that was a mixture of cement, sand, pea gravel, acrylic additive and color. Zinc meant for terrazzo floors was used as an outline to delineate the shape of the island. The zinc was bent to the necessary shape and was placed in a mold with freshly poured concrete.
The icons were placed next. Under Bonciolini’s direction, art students at Sakai Intermediate School had created collaged glass images of trees, buildings, hikers and other people, places and things significant to the island. These images were fused in a kiln at the Studio, sandblasted to give them a less slippery walking surface and treated with a glass epoxy to bring the glass back to a matte sheen. Finished images were then placed onto an illustration of the island.
Then, finally, came the recycled glass, following the illustration carefully so the pavers would match up with each other at installation. Pavers were made one at a time, left to set up in their molds and then removed the next day.
Bainbridge Island Rotary Club fiunded this piece as a gift to Bainbridge Island residents celebrating Rotary’s 100th year on the Island.