Sophia Othman Mosaics

Custom Mosaic Art & Sculpture

Posts from the “green art” Category

‘Knowledge Is Power’ School Mosaic Mural

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is Power

In April of 2013 I worked with staff and students of Vallejo’s Hogan Middle School during two weeks of Spring Break to put co-create this beautiful and inspiring mosaic mural.

Title:   Hogan School Community Mosaic  Mural

Dimensions: 6 foot x 17 foot

Media: Public mosaic mural using glass, ceramic tile, mirror, stone.  A  group mosaic created by dozens of participants, youth and adults, working in short sessions over a period of  a month.

Content:  The mosaic spells out the school’s motto, Knowledge Is Power, which was chosen as the theme for the mural by the school staff involved in the project.  A large portion of the tesserae (mosaic pieces) used for this piece came from donations from the community.  The design element of shooting stars is to invite students to shine.

Students help create school mosaic mural at Hogan Middle School


Knowledge Is Power - School Mosaic Mural

Knowledge Is Power – School Mosaic Mural

School Mosaic Mural Completed


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Mirror Mosaic as Solar Cooker!


A master of invention and re-invention of the practical and personal kinds, my friend, Dan Schultz, has created an intentional community, Maitreya Mountain Village,  up in Del Norte County, the northwest corner of California, deep in the woods on 180 acres of wooded land.

Daily life off the grid and on the land demands constant practical and elegant re-thinking and re-inventing of the stuff of everyday living, where your water comes from (a creek), where your electricity comes from (hydroelectric, solar, a generator), how to heat your sauna (wood from your own land), and how you will cook your food….      This picture is Cole, the community’s newest philosopher/volunteer/co-creator, frying up some eggs on their latest creative re-use project. Satellite dishes are plentifully free on craigslist and the mirror was scrap stuff donated from a glass company.  They can get it past 500 degrees and even on overcast days it gets hot enough to cook.

Toxic byproducts = zero
Save stuff from ending up in landfills – thumbs up!
Doesn’t matter who you are — cooking with sun rays is cool.
Eco-Score          the Planet: 1, people:1

Dan and they community members hold community events and workshops on the topics of permaculture, living of the grid, self-sufficiency, organic gardening, interpersonal relating, and sustainable home building skills.  They also offer retreats on their remote and beautiful wooded land in structures built on site using sustainable techniques and materials sourced locally.  Check it out, good for the soul.

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Mosaic Planters Community Participation

Mosaic Planters Tree of Life Napa River Waves Sun Moon Butterfly

Community Mosaic

In 2012 a group of community leaders and volunteers spearheaded an effort to decorate some of the Historic Downtown Vallejo planters with mosaic.  They collected donated tile and organized various volunteer groups from the community to help in the effort.  Several months after they had completed their project I was able to contribute mosaic work on three bare planters.  I had a few friends help me piece, install, and grout the trio of mosaic planters.

Mosaic Design

We designed the images to be large and bold,  easy for beginners (my volunteer friends!) to render in mosaic.  The design is context based and has a geomorphologic and natural history framework based on the beautiful nature surrounding Vallejo.  We wanted to tell a visual story of the natural beauty that surrounds Vallejo.  We also wanted to imbue the mosaic with imagery of joy, hope, and prosperity for the future.  The three planters have a circular cross section so the design elements circle the pots and lend themselves to a linear storytelling approach for the design.  The design elements flow one to the other other in a natural way.

Beginning with an abstract mosaic representing the Napa River, the mosaic blends in to a mosaic of sailboats on blue wavy water.


planters mosaic sailboats napa river waves water public art community art

Mosaic Planters – Napa River & Sailboats

As you walk around the planter, the land of the city of Vallejo is represented by a Tree Of Life with a Blue Bird of Happiness,  evoking the ideas of hope and prosperity.

Mosaic Planters Tree of Life & Blue Bird of Happiness

The soil under the tree becomes a shore against more water. The mosaic word “Vallejo’ is of course floating on blue wavy mosaic water, since the town is surrounded by three major bodies of water.  The Carquinez Straight to the East, the San Pablo Bay to the South and West, and the Napa River to the West.  The mosaic continues on the next smaller planter with the watery theme as larger mosaic waves in blue tile, representing the bigger water of the San Francisco Bay.

Mosaic Planters with Blue Waves & Vallejo City Name

The next design element is a yellow mosaic sun/sunset, followed by a mosaic moon, mirror mosaic stars, and swirls.  The mosaic’s thematic movement goes from land to water, to sky and the heavens.

Mosaic Planters with Waves Sunset Moon Stars

The next design element is an abstracted Monarch Butterfly, which soars high above the moon and star, representing transformation.

Mosaic Planters with Monarch Butterfly Sunset & Moon

A Glimpse in the Mosaic Studio

We pieced the mosaic in the studio on fiberglass mesh.

Fiberglass Mesh Mosaic Section in Progress in Artis’s Studio

The mosaic sections fit together like a puzzle.  Here is an image of how they look before we install them in a cement mortar bed applied to the planter’s vertical surface.

Fiberglass Mesh Mosaic Sections Ready to Install – Napa River Sailboats

Mosaic Sections Before Install – Making sure they all fit – Tree of Life

Fiberglass Mesh Mosaic Sections Ready to Install  – Sun Moon Stars Swirl

Fiberglass Mesh Mosaic Sections Ready to Install on Planters – Butterfly

The rims of the planters were pieced on site in the direct method with glass gems, flat round glass pieces. During the installation many children passing by with their families were able to add a few glass gems to the rim.  I loved this impromptu contribution of joyful youthful energy and enthusiasm to the mosaic planters.

Glass Gems for Mosaic Planter Rims – Children in the community helped

The glass gem rims turned out beautifully!

Mosaic Planters Sun Moon Stars Monarch Butterfly

Mosaic Credits

Production of these three mosaic planters was entirely volunteer driven.  Production assistance by Siram, Koko Yaeger, Kathy Vinson, Theo Reynolds, and Kemper Stone.



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