New Malden - Corpus Christi School’s 40th Anniversary Mosaic
by Paul Bentley and Karen Parry
Corpus Christi Catholic Primary was founded in 1969 by the local parish
priest, Mgr. Hugh Hunt, and forty years later the school wanted to mark
the anniversary appropriately. They decided to cheer up the exterior entrance
wall with a mosaic mural. It so happened that a member of staff, visiting
a charity exhibition, spotted several mosaics by a local artist, Karen
Parry of Mosaic Workshop, Kingston on Thames, and Karen got the job. (Kingston
used to be famous as an ancient market town, complete with the Saxon kings’
coronation stone, but nowadays it’s best known for the exciting
new riverside Rose Theatre.)
Karen Parry has a studio in Kingston (see www.mosaicworkshopkingston.co.uk),
and lots of experience with large community projects and private commissions.
She also teaches mosaic, and works with people with disabilities.
The school wanted the design to say “Welcome To Corpus Christi
Catholic School”, with their emblem, an ancient pelican bird, in
the middle. And of course they wanted the colours to be their school colours,
yellow and burgundy.
Karen drew out the design and coloured it in, so that it was easier for
the children to follow. Everyone in the entire school, 420 pupils and
all the staff, and even some parent helpers worked on the mosaic. They
used mirror tiles to highlight the bird’s wings, etc., and lots
of iridescent tiles to really make it shine. With the plain colours they
used lots of different tones of each colour, to make them stand out.
Karen did some 70 workshops with the children, explaining about materials
that you can use (in this case vitreous and mirror tiles on mesh), and
how you design a mosaic, how to shape tesserae with tile nippers, and
how you install the finished mosaic onto a wall. Actually making the mosaic
took two weeks – the result is simple but remarkably effective.
Karen Parry’s next project is a picture of “King John”
for Egham Council, Surrey.