Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mood Swing

This is a mosaic by Sonia King called Mood Swing, and this post is about my giant mood swing yesterday.

Tom and I had bought tickets for the AIA S.F. Home Tours. This is the 3rd one of these extravaganzas that I've been on. They're always a bear because of traffic and parking. But there is always one house that makes it all worthwhile.

That house belonged to a mosaic artist named Sonia King. It was the next to the last house we saw. Before that, the trip was an endless trial of finding the house, finding a place to park, removing your shoes so you could enter the house, and being reminded of the rules: no photos, no children under 12, no opening anything that is closed or touching any surfaces or furniture, and no using the bathrooms.

Frankly it was exhausting. And to make matters worse I had agreed to go to the farmers' market at the Ferry Building with Tom beforehand, a place I equate with hell on earth.

In the midst of the tour, we stopped off at TipTop Shoe and Vacuum Repair to pick up a pair of Tom's hiking boots, and then went to the bank, and then sat down for what we thought would be a relaxing Mexican lunch which quickly turned manic. More exhausted than before we ate, we made our way to House #6: The Mosaic House in Golden Gate Heights. I fell in love with this house almost immediately after walking into it. It just had that ineffable "good feeling." It smelled nice too. We won't even go into the view. And I'm sure it cost millions, but that's not the point. All the houses on these tours certainly cost millions. But almost none of them have that indescribable good feeling.

Well, I ended up talking to a friendly woman who was standing by the window. She wore a big pink shirt and glasses. I didn't realize it for quite a while, but she ended up being Sonia King, the owner of the house. The house was full of her art work. I fell in love with her. But I fell in love with her house first, and with the pieces in her mosaics second.

Suddenly the tour came alive for me, and everything about the day was worthwhile. Have you ever had an experience like that? After spending time in her house we were so excited that we actually drove downtown to CB2 to look at a rug covered with striped bugs. But it was too brown. And after that we were stopped by the police and issued a ticket for driving in the bus lane. Even still, the day retained its magnificence.

Soon as I got home I looked up Sonia King on line. Was there a possibility that she might teach a class? Maybe I could make mosaics out of the beach glass I've collected. It turns out that this summer she's taught workshops in Istanbul and England ... but in November she'll be teaching a 3-day intensive at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland. WHOA! I race over to the website to sign up. Sold out.