BACK AND FORTH - A Millennium Art Project
This is an invaluable record of how the village of Otford in Kent decided to commemorate the Year of Our Lord 2000 by commissioning Oliver Budd to make a mural mosaic for the High Street.
It starts rather scarily by letting us in on Oliver explaining his final design draft to the committee. Moving from left to right the design shows selected highlights from the history of Otford – from a pterodactyl at the dawn of time, through early man knapping flints, the Bronze Age, Roman Britain and Boadicea, the Anglo-Saxons, King Canute (everything is dated naturally), Thomas Becket, the Elizabethans, on and on, to Victorian Otford, the coming of the railway, the car, and finishing with a mother picking apples from a local fruit tree and handing them on to the next generation.
The border round the mosaic, due to be made of polished cement fondu, shows many more objects from the story of Otford – bridle, camera, credit card – dozens of them.
It’s no surprise when the committee approves; after all the design brilliantly incorporates a great many of their ideas. The whole village approves likewise at another meeting, and so off to Oliver’s studio.
There we watch the whole business of scaling up the design onto the studio wall, protecting it with transparent polythene, covering it with metal mesh and then applying the tesserae – mainly smalti and cut tile. Oliver then embeds large squares of the mosaic in metal trays for ease of transport and fixing. We also get to see how to make the light but strong cement fondu border, a medium which was new to me.
With two panels fixed on the wall of the church hall (to encourage fund-raising to complete the rest of the mosaic on time) Oliver tours local schools, explaining what the show is all about.
Finally we have the official unveiling, in January 2001. Yes, they made it.
You couldn’t ask for a clearer exposition of how Oliver Budd goes about his creating and installing one of his excellent mosaic murals. A highly recommended DVD.