Tree of Life


Working with students from grades K through 8, Grendel’s Mother built a seven by six foot permanent outdoor mosaic sculpture for Marin Country Day School in 2003. The project began with a school assembly in which David and Trisha showed the students past examples of Grendel’s Mother projects, explained the building process and provided historical examples of tree of life imagery.

Next, students from all grades made drawings, prints and maquettes which the artists and the school’s art teachers synthesized into a final model. The children then began making the hundreds of tiles that would become the sculpture’s surface.

Students working on the sculpture

The sculpture’s steel armature was fabricated at the artists’ studio and brought to the campus in a series of sections. Older students attached chicken wire to the forms which were then passed on to younger students, who covered the wire with fabric mesh and acrylic cement. As sections were covered, students from all grades applied tiles to the surface. Once tiled, the sculpture was grouted and then cleaned by an army of children wielding tooth brushes. The sculpture was unveiled at a special ceremony honoring the school’s headmaster, whose portrait is embedded in the top portion of the sculpture.


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