A collaborative public art project is underway this month in Petersburg and there’s still lots of time to take part. The effort will produce a new art piece for Petersburg’s library and is funded by the Petersburg Community Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

A half dozen artists Saturday were sketching, drilling into shells and laying out their designs for found art mobiles in a pretty nice temporary studio space near the middle harbor parking lot.

“This is a community art project,” said artist Doris Olsen. “It’s actually one of the first of it’s kind that we’re doing through the library.” Olsen is leading the workshops to create a mobile that will be a permanent installation in the teens’ room at the library. Participants in grades six and up through adults are building mobiles using found natural objects.

“Everybody’s invited to find found objects to build their mobile out of and we also have some supplies here,” she explained. We have sticks and moss and bark and shells and feathers and clay and paint and other different arrangements that you can make your little mobiles with. And then we’re gonna arrange all the little mobiles on the larger pieces, I’ll call them foundation branches, they’re larger branches that they’ll all hang out from.”

The effort is still looking for donations of found natural objects, everything from bones, antlers, shells, glass, driftwood moss and feathers.
The library’s Jessica Ieremia was using some of those pieces in her work. “Yeah I’ve just started working,” Ieremia said. “I’m trying to figure out the spacing right now how far I want my pieces apart. But Doris with her diagram here has made it pretty step by step for me thank you.”

Melanie Chase and Doris Olsen planned the design for a mobile Saturday.

Melanie Chase and Doris Olsen planned the design for a mobile Saturday.

Nearby, middle schooler Melanie Chase is also working on her design. “So I’ve decided to sketch my mobile before I started on it, ” Chase said. “I found this speckled piece of wood to hang all my other parts off of. And in the middle of my mobile I was thinking of maybe sculpting a whale tale.”

Chase explained her work will eventually include polymer clay, glass, driftwood and scallop shells. “I think it’s really neat that it’ll end up in the library and people will be able to go in and see it.”

Iris Case and Julie Hersey were working together at another table. “I’m working on a bird that’s made out of shells and we have feathers here that I’m making the wings out of and the tail to hang on the mobile,” Case said. “And I made some barnacles and hot glued them together and it made a beak for my bird.”

“This is going to be what that hangs from and we’re excited to donate something to the library because there’s so much great art at the library,” Hersey said. “So this will be fun to do something for the teen room. Iris is not quite a teen yet but pretty soon. Not far couple years. For years she’ll be able to go in and go yeah I made that. So we’re having a great time and really glad that Doris put this opportunity together.”

People can come to any all or just one of the remaining three workshops. They are Saturdays in March from 1-4 at the old Locks by the Docks building behind Kitos Kave.