CMS Student Candice Klopfenstein tell us about her Journey into Mosaic Art for herself and others.
I recently had the opportunity to lead a mosaic workshop in California for people who had lost their homes to a forest fire. When I first heard about the devastating fire that had destroyed the homes of people I knew, I grieved with them. But a hope-filled idea began to form. What if creating a space for them to make a mosaic from things they recovered could be a part in their healing journey?
Over the years, as I’ve seen the benefit of connecting with God in my brokenness and pain, and as a result have experienced lasting peace and freedom, I’ve become passionate about seeing others receive this same healing and peace in their lives. To have an opportunity to offer this experience through mosaic was profound for me, and it led me to realize that places in my life have come full circle.
I found mosaic art during a time when I wasn’t looking for it, and in many ways, I feel like mosaic found me. For years I hadn’t thought about my buried dream of being an artist. When I came to the Chicago Mosaic School, I thought I was just seeking the technical help I needed to make a project for my home. When finished, I would just move on to the next thing I was busy with. But along the way of completing this project – a table top for our kitchen – I fell in love with the beauty and expressiveness of the medium. I also felt so supported and encouraged by the staff and other artists at the school. I kept coming back for more opportunities to learn and be a part of the community.
This journey into the mosaic art world didn’t come without challenges – it revealed insecurities and self-doubt. But being aware of these gave me the opportunity to explore them with God, to let him speak his truth to me, to learn that pursuing this dream was something he created me to do, and he loved experiencing it with me. This helped me connect with a part of me that wasn’t fully alive and hadn’t yet found a voice.
More recently, the idea of offering a mosaic workshop to those who were dealing with profound loss was another opportunity for me to face more fears and uncertainty. It was also one more chance for me to see the beauty of the mosaic community I’ve been surrounded by. I was lent tools and offered technical advice for leading the class, materials were generously donated, several people spoke life-giving words into me – that I was ready for this opportunity, that I would lead well and that it would encourage those who came. I tangibly felt God speaking to me through the love and encouragement I received from these friends and fellow artists.
Each family arrived that afternoon with a box of charred items that they had recovered from their homes. There were moments when you could feel a sense of profound loss in the room, but as they started exploring their pieces and planning their design, a sense of peace and expectancy settled in the room.
By the end of the workshop, each family had made beautiful, unique mosaics. Recently, a few of them shared with me that they found healing in the process and left with an increase in hope. One person felt each mosaic expressed what God was doing in their individual lives. Another shared she feels joy every day when she sees her mosaic. It has been so beautiful to me to see that this experience brought a measure of hope and healing to those who were a part of the workshop.
As I think about the time in California, and leading future mosaic workshops with others who are hurting, I feel hope and expectation. I’ve learned from past experiences that these opportunities will challenge me, but will also free me, and further launch me into becoming who I’m created to be. At the same time, they will give others a chance to find peace and freedom in whatever challenges they are facing. This experience of personally healing, growing and helping others find deeper life and peace is more than I’ve ever dreamed of.
Written by Candice Klopfenstein, June 2019.