This weekend I went to Oakland, the country's fourth most dangerous city, to take a mosaic class. I went with my friend Vicki. We've been on a few adventures together already.
We left Friday morning because Vicki wanted to visit the Oakland Museum of California and they closed at 5 pm. We got there with a few hours to spare. As we went into the first hall the person behind the desk stopped us and said we had to leave our "back packs" at the counter. We were a bit confused because we didn't have back packs, we were carrying purses. When we turned to show her she then said never mind, just make sure to hold the purses back so they wouldn't hit anything. I thought that was a bit odd because neither one of our purses was very big to begin with. Never mind, though. We started into the first area and began to enjoy the old paintings and art.
Then a guy with a back pack passed us on his way out of the museum. So how come he got to bring his back pack in and we got hassled at the desk? Never mind, though. We carried on. It was kind of dim in there so I put my purse on a glass case to change my glasses. Some lady came whipping out of the shadows to tell me to remove my purse from the case. SORRY!!!! Who was that lady? I don't know. She wasn't dressed like a museum employee and didn't have any official badge or anything that identified her. In fact she never identified herself to me at all. That whole experienced pretty much soured me on the Oakland Museum.
We meandered through the exhibits and tried to enjoy everything. Unfortunately many of the more famous older paintings were missing from the walls and the explanation was that they were being prepared for another exhibit which would be opening in December. There were also many exhibits with no information at all. It would have been nice, in my humble opinion, if I knew exactly what it was I was looking at. At least what year the "artifact" came from? Never mind, though. Vicki didn't get to see all the things she wanted to but at least we got to see some stuff.
Then we had to find our way to the hotel. I'll tell you this right now. I'm very glad I don't live in Oakland. It's a terrible town to try and find your way around. There were many twisting streets that suddenly turned into one way streets. There were stop signs that didn't make sense and it seemed around every other corner were on ramps to a freeway. Nothing was gradual; it was all of a sudden! Never mind, though. We finally found the hotel and got settled. We had a nice room looking out over the water (tidal basin).
The view from our hotel room balcony (day time).
The view at night.
The next morning we found the Institute of Mosaic Art, where we would be taking our class. It was a bright purple building with mosaics done all over the outside. It was quite a contrast to the dreary, decaying neighborhood. The class we were taking was called Exterior and Garden Applications. Even though I've already done some mosaics I was hoping to pick up a few handy hints and tips. I was not disappointed. Naturally, the first thing I found out was to never use wood as a base for an outdoor project. Oh well.
The Institute of Mosaic Art.
The first day we listened to a few hours of lecture by the instructor, Naomi Craig, and then we started our project. We were to make a mosaic stepping stone to place in the garden. Of course I drew a total blank on what design to make and ended up making a sun that looked like a mutant poinsettia. The second day was all about grouting and making color choices. Then we grouted our projects. I've always found that grouting makes everything come together and look better. My mutant sun poinsettia looked a little better. Everybody's projects looked really great by the time the class was done. I was excited to get home and get started on something--anything, using my newly learned techniques.
Our class with instructor Naomi Craig in the green shirt.
It wasn't until we got home and I was getting ready for bed that I realized I'd left my pillow in the hotel. I can't usually sleep on hotel pillows so I always bring my pillow with me. I called the hotel and fortunately they found my pillow and will be sending it home to me. And now it's time to go to my home improvement store and get some new tools!