A bit complicated, but it worked!

The dragon sculpture for the Dragons Garden/ Julong Garden is ready!

I would like to take this sentence as the motto for this project: ‘ a bit complicated but it worked” . I am very happy we managed to finish this community mosaic project within the Julong Garden Neighborhood despite a very complicated structure, within the complicated situation of the COVID 19 outbreak and in a rather challenging setting of cultural differences(eg not everyone spoke the same language) of the participants.

We started in Oktober 2019 (click on the underlined link to open up the previous blog on the dragon) with the design which I then presented to the compound management. After getting their green light we set off to produce the larger parts of the mosaic in November in the mosaic moments studio in Julong Garden.

During the holiday period in December and January the dragon slept. Then came the COVID 19 outbreak in China and we were bound to our houses. The work on the dragon gave me and my husband an occupation to step out of hard work and worries and into colors and geometric shapes. We had two lovely sessions working on the tail of the dragon and listening to Albert Camus “The plague”

The dragon mosaic is made from tiles broken with a hammer and then put together into a new design, the shards are glued with white glue onto fibre netting basically making a new tile. Later a transparent self adhesive film is stuck over the new tile. This keeps the mosaic safe between the Fibre netting and the adhesive until it is installed.

When the weather became warmer in Beijing the dragon production was set up outside, near the structure where it should be installed, under a beautiful Pergola. Many neighbors joined, still cautious but happy to be able to meet again or at the first time. It was a happy and relieved atmosphere with in the beautiful spring in Beijing.

Finally on May 6 the Beijing government allowed building work again . So we set off to prepare the structure. Taking away the old plaster revealed some very crumbely cement underneath. I needed a mason! A neighbor passed by and got interested in what we were doing, he pulled out his phone and called a number. I didn’t understand what he was saying. 5 minutes later a friendly man appeared that somehow made me understand that he is there to help. This way I found Huang and his brother who became experts in mosaic installation working very careful and diligent with this rather fine art material.

On May 23 the main parts of the dragon were installed with the help of builder Huang and many neighbors.

In the weeks between 23 May and 6 June I worked outside making all the remaining pieces for the many corners that the structure has. This was a challenging design task to connect the main parts within all the bends and folds.

Every morning I worked on a self made table from the trash of another building site which I put up directly next to the dragon. It was a wonderful period being outside under the tall trees hearing the birds sing. My outdoor studio attracted the attention of a lot of passer by’s. Some just watched others were very keen to participate. Lisa and her colleague came in their lunch break to make two pieces

The last parts of the dragon were made on a stormy night inside the studio.

My French neighbor Magali helped in stalling the last 12 pieces. It was fun feeling like builders.

Finally the grouting day came. After the glueing cement was dry and the protective film removed the whole dragon could be grouted.

On the morning of June 6 I was anxious if we could finish grouting the dragon as only 3 people announced their participation – and what a surprise: more than 10 people came with dogs and babies to join in this magic grouting party.

Now the dragon watches over our neighborhood with its kind eye even at night. If you have him in your back like the couple in the last picture he wags his good energy towards you with his tail.