High School Mosaic Bench Near Completion

Students and helpers work on mosaic bench at Kodiak High School. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Students and helpers work on mosaic bench at Kodiak High School. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A mosaic bench in front the high school is almost complete. By necessity.

Three years ago, a group of students designed the bench with teacher and artist, Bonnie Dillard.

Now the deadline is coming up.

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A group of students has come down to complete community service.

Dillard is in dire need of the help.

She says she has three weeks to complete the mosaic.

“It’s the end of school, I’m going on a trip, and my principal, who’s been very patient with me, says we just need it to get it done, and he’s right. We keep stopping because our hands get cold and the weather got bad and all, but we’ve just go to finish it.”

Dillard, who wears heavy-duty gloves, a bright pink scarf and a turquoise jacket, looks prepared.

She’s mortaring a mosaic of trees, branches, roots, and soil.

She says before a former student pulled her in to lead the project, she’d never done a curved bench before. This bench is shaped like a horseshoe, and the seat is hilly, which would make it no easy task to place the tiles one by one. But they have a method, as Dillard explains.

Bonnie Dillard works on mosaic bench. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Bonnie Dillard works on mosaic bench. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

“This is fiberglass netting, and we use big panels of this for the kids to glue the designs down, so when we add pieces to the bench, we have those panels already done.”

Dillard says she and the students set out to make a bench along the concept of healthy relationships. The seat is curved so that it pushes students together and the U-shape encourages people to face each other and talk. They began the mosaic a year ago, but it took so long to set up the bench’s base structure that her team graduated.

“My challenge right now is getting the new students to have some ownership.”

That’s what she tries to impress upon the group that comes down to help.

“Students who are here at the high school now, I want you to be connected to this bench,” she tells them. “It’s yours.”

They still have blank spaces to fill with mosaic tile, but right now they’re chipping away at the mortar to reveal the tiles below. They use knives, chisels, and even brushes.

Dillard says the mosaic is nameless so far, but she’ll look into a fitting title for the piece.

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