By Paula McCambridge
Anna Meyrick’s approach to art is not unlike her teaching process — she finds fragmented pieces of beauty and puts them together to create something whole.
She does it in her elaborate mosaics, and she does it through teaching at-risk children and others “aged 5 to grandma,” she said.
“I like helping other people take charge of their own identity, their own education, their own lives through art,” Meyrick said.
Meyrick’s multimedia works bring together colored glass, paint, jewels and found objects. She is inspired by religious symbols, Native American pottery and mythical creatures such as fairies, and those images reoccur in her mosaics.
Her teaching features a similar process that involves helping students put themselves back together by recognizing their own beautiful pieces.
“A student told me, ‘One thing I learned from you was, if I don’t fit in one place, I’ll fit in some other place.’ And that’s what it’s about,” Meyrick said. “Art is a process; life is a process. Just because bad things happen, it doesn’t mean that’s all there is.”
Meyrick spent about 15 years as a teacher at a non-profit alternative education program in Oregon. (She and her family now live in the North County.)
“I was kind of the queen of freaky little kids,” she said.
With a smile, Meyrick acknowledged that she herself was a “freaky little kid” not quite fitting the world in which she was a child.
“If everyone had hair like Farrah Fawcett then my hair was chopped off, dyed black and sticking up like Billy Joel’s,” she said. “So I understand what it’s like for those kids, and I like helping them, usually through art.”
Meyrick has been making art as long as she can remember, but her mosaic work began with a flower pot in 2000.
Meyrick’s mother, Carol, was watching someone making a mosaic flowerpot on television and decided the process might interest her daughter. It did, and Meyrick began smashing materials into pieces for use in mosaics.
“I had a lot of frustration in my life at the time, so I’d come home and just start hammer materials to make art, often cutting myself in the process,” Meyrick said. “It’s not an easy art form. It’s like quilting in a way, but bloodier.”
Meyrick now shows her work at the Gallery in The Network in San Luis Obispo and at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. She also teaches at Studios on the Park.