Submitted by the San Juan Island Sculpture Park
The Friendship Fish mosaic was designed by San Juan Island artist and Alchemy Art Center Co-Director Maria Michaelson and was created under the direction of Maria and Alchemy Art Center staff by hundreds of visitors of all ages to the SJI Sculpture Park in the summer of 2022. As part of our Summer Education Program, each visitor made their own clay tile which was then fired and glazed at Alchemy. The two-sided sculpture, a king salmon affectionately called “Sammie” by Sculpture Park staff, is constructed of over 500 individual tiles.
This sculpture is the final iteration of a community art project called Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts, which was created by Maria and Alchemy in the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic as a way to foster community even while under an island-wide quarantine. Participants of this earlier project were able to pick up clay and supplies from Alchemy and create pieces of the mosaic from the safety of home, which were then glazed, fired, and assembled into a 7-foot salmon by Alchemy staff. A second fish was created later in 2020 as part of Alchemy’s youth outreach program, while on-site at Camp Eagle Rock.
The Friendship Fish is a collaboration between Alchemy Art Center and the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park, celebrating what we can all accomplish together.