The Tamworth 250th Mosaic, a project of Arts Council of Tamworth was created in 2016, Tamworth’s 250th year, by hundreds of children and adults and dozens of tireless volunteers working with mural artist David Fichter, Arts Tamworth director Juno Lamb, and K. A. Brett School art teacher Melanie McBrian. The project received support from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Visit the Arts Tamworth 250th Mosaic page to read all about the project, see a slideshow, and watch a time-lapse video of a mosaic workday.
These mosaics were created in 2016, in celebration of Tamworth’s 250th anniversary, by hundreds of kids and adults working together with guidance from mural artist David Fichter. Thousands of community member and volunteer hours went into building, mounting and grouting the mosaics. According to math-based estimates made by Brett middle schoolers of the number of tile pieces in the mosaics, the left-hand mosaic contains 21,536 pieces and the right-hand mosaic contains 22,040, for a total of 43,576. The minority are whole tiles; most have been cut by hand into the shapes you see. Whether that number is exact or not, it’s obvious that the mosaics contain a zillion little bits of glass. Every one of those pieces was placed by a human working side by side with other humans.
At the beginning, we asked the community what they felt should be represented in the mosaic. Dozens of community members send images and ideas, and every kid at Brett drew a picture of something they love in Tamworth. In conversation with us, David skillfully wove many of these drawings and images into the final mosaic design.
Because we couldn’t put everything in the mosaic, think of everything that you see in them as representative of more—animals, activities, people, places; everything has multiple meanings.
Both mosaics contain images based on drawings by K. A. Brett students; this one contains many kids’ drawings that David has woven together. The center of the mosaic depicts Mount Chocorua and Chocorua Lake, a view familiar to many the world over—it’s even on a US quarter. The mountain in the top left of the mosaic is Black Snout in South Tamworth, the highest geographical point in Tamworth (also the bear has a black snout…), and some people believe that the composite apple and dairy farm on the top right is way up at the top of Mountain Road. The church on the left of the mosaic is Saint Andrews-in-the-Valley, in Whittier, and above it to the right is the Wonalancet Chapel. The building on the right of the mosaic is The Other Store in an earlier incarnation, and above it to the left is the Bradbury Jewell house, said to be the first timber frame building in Tamworth. We enjoy the outdoor world all year round, collecting maple sap and boiling it into syrup and spotting wild animals in the spring, fishing for rainbow trout, enjoying our lakes and rivers and watching the fireworks on the 4th of July in the summer, harvesting the bounty of our gardens in the autumn, skiing, skating and racing sled dogs in the winter. And that pig? Is he a Tamworth pig? Maybe the famous one who escaped and made it all the way to school one day?
The people represented on the mosaic are not the “most important” people in Tamworth, or the people who have necessarily made the greatest mark. As well as representing different eras in Tamworth’s history, different ages and genders, this group of citizens represents many aspects of all of us who have lived here through the centuries: Among them are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. The group includes year-round residents and summer people, those born in Tamworth and elsewhere, those whose family connections cross centuries in Tamworth, or who adopted the place as home in their own lifetime. They are business owners and laborers, farmers and hunters, writers, artists, craftspeople and musicians, military veterans, public servants of many stripes, medical professionals and people of faith. All of them gave much to this community, as have so many of our citizens throughout Tamworth’s 25 decades. And one dog!