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Mosaic Tile House in California stands as monument to 2 Decades of artistic collaboration

Pann was encouraged by family and professors to pursue accounting, but at age 18 she went to a Van Gogh show and never looked back

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Mosaic Tile House
Mosaic Tile Artwork. Representational image. Pixabay
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  • The Mosaic Tile House stands as a monument to two decades of artistic collaboration between Cheri Pann and husband Gonzalo Duran
  • The house is on a quiet street, a 20-minute bike ride from the beach and Pann bought it in 1994 and wanted to build an art studio in it
  • Pann was encouraged by family and professors to pursue accounting, but at age 18 she went to a Van Gogh show and never looked back

The Mosaic Tile House in California stands as a monument to two decades of artistic collaboration between Cheri Pann and husband Gonzalo Duran. 

“Its tchotchke heaven,” Pann, 76, told Reuters about her kaleidoscopic bungalow. “It’s turned out to be homage to putting everything possible into cement.”

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By “everything,” Pann means figurines of poodles and hula girls, commemorative china baseball bats and a sweeping arch of coffee cups, their handles pointing skyward. Smashed pottery and shards of mirror make up the more traditional mosaic patterns on the house’s interior and exterior surfaces.

The couple met in 1992 when Duran was working at an art supply store and Pann was in need of some acrylic paints. They still go back to the same store for supplies.

Photos of artists Gonzalo Duran and Cheri Pann are seen in the kitchen of their Mosaic Tile House in Venice, California U.S., August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Photos of artists Gonzalo Duran and Cheri Pann are seen in the kitchen of their Mosaic Tile House in Venice, California U.S., August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The house is on a quiet street, a 20-minute bike ride from the beach. Pann bought it in 1994 and wanted to build an art studio in it. After the studio was built, Pann made tiles for the bathroom.

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“It was so much fun doing it, we just kept on going,” said Duran, 72, who was born in Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles.

Tiles in the shapes of butterflies, camels and giraffes surround the sink. A ceramic cockerel sits proudly atop the breakfast bar. One of the walls is covered in photographs of the couple. Kitchen appliances are decorated with paint.

The collaboration is, Pann said, the ultimate “honey-do” project. She makes the tiles, he lays them. 

“He’s busy working, working, and working and then I’ll come along and say, ‘Hon, hmmm, there is something wrong and I won’t know what it is.’ And then he’ll take a look back and he’ll say, ‘Ah, I know what it is,’ and then he’ll fix it,” Pann said. 

Pann was encouraged by family and professors to pursue accounting, but at age 18 she went to a Van Gogh show and never looked back. 

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“The story behind the house is really about the love story behind Gonzalo and myself,” Pann said. “We salsa in the house, we kiss all day long, and if it weren’t toxic, I’d paint on him.” 

Pann hopes the Mosaic Tile House eventually will be preserved on the National Register of Historic Places. He is convinced the house will stay standing. 

“To tear this down is a big job. So I mean it’ll be here forever,” he said. (Reuters)

 

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Children In California To Return To School, 3 Weeks After The Wildfire

Schoolwork will probably be secondary to dealing with trauma and reconnecting with friends, said Paradise High Principal Loren Lighthall.

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Erica Hail hugs her son Jaxon Maloney, 2, while preparing her older children for their first day of school since the Camp Fire destroyed their home in Yuba City, Calif. VOA

Eight-year-old Bella Maloney woke up next to her little brother in a queen-size bed at a Best Western hotel and for breakfast ate a bagel and cream cheese that her mother brought up from the lobby.

And then she was off to school for the first time in nearly a month.

For Bella, brother Vance and thousands of other youngsters in Northern California who lost their homes or their classrooms in last month’s deadly wildfire, life crept a little closer to normal Monday when school finally resumed in most of Butte County.

“They’re ready to get back,” Bella’s mother, Erica Hail, said of her children. “I think they’re sick of Mom and Dad.” At school, “they get to have time alone in their own space and their own grade and they get to just be by themselves.”

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Erica Hail, back left, dresses son Vance Maloney, 5, while preparing her children for their first day of school since the Camp Fire destroyed their home in Yuba City, Calif. voa

Schools in the county had been closed since Nov. 8, when the blaze swept through the town of Paradise and surrounding areas, destroying nearly 14,000 homes and killing at least 88 people in the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century. About two dozen people remain unaccounted for, down from a staggering high of 1,300 a few weeks ago.

About 31,000 students in all have been away from school since the disaster. On Monday, nearly all of them went back, though some of them attended class in other buildings because their schools were damaged or destroyed, or inaccessible inside evacuation zones.

Bella was shy and not very talkative but agreed she was excited to be going back. She wanted to see her friends.

The small, tidy hotel room with two queen beds has been home to the family of five for some two weeks. Since they lost nearly everything to the fire, there was little to clutter up the space. The Hails are booked there until February.

“Bella, what time is it?” Hail asked her daughter, waking her up in their hotel room.

“Seven dot dot three five,” came the 8-year-old’s sing-song reply. 7:35. It was time to brush her teeth, comb her hair and hit the road for a nearly hourlong drive to school in the family SUV.

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Bella Maloney, 8, arrives for her first day of school since the Camp Fire leveled her family’s home, in Durham, Calif. VOA

A few minutes later, at seven-dot-dot-four-seven, they were out the door.

Some families driven out by the inferno have left the state or are staying with friends or relatives too far away for the children to go back to school in Butte County.

The Hails — whose five-bedroom, two-bath home in Paradise was destroyed — are staying in Yuba City, a long drive from their new school in Durham.

It was shortly before the 9 a.m. start of the school day when they pulled up to Durham Elementary School, where Bella is in third grade and Vance is in half-day kindergarten.

Across the county, nearly all of the teachers are returning to provide a familiar and comforting face to the children.

“It’s important that the kids are able to stay together and have some sort of normalcy in the crazy devastation that we’re having now,” said Jodi Seaholm, whose daughter Mallory is a third-grader.

Mallory underwent radiation in October to treat a recurrence of brain cancer and showed no fear, Seaholm said, but “this situation with her house burning down has absolutely devastated her.”

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Trees reflect in a swimming pool outside Erica Hail’s Paradise, Calif., home, which burned during the Camp Fire. VOA

Counselors brought in from around the country were in nearly every classroom Monday to help children who were distressed by their escape through a burning town and the loss of their homes, Paradise school Superintendent Michelle John said at a celebratory news conference. Many of the teachers lost their homes as well.

“Our kids are traumatized,” John said. “Their families are traumatized.”

Most of Paradise High School survived but is inaccessible.

The district doesn’t have space yet for intermediate and high school students whose classrooms were rendered unusable, so for the 13 days before the holiday break begins, they will learn through independent study. They will have access to online assignments and a drop-in center at a mall in Chico where they can get help from teachers or see classmates.

Also Read: Australia Suffers From Heat And Fuel Wildfires

Schoolwork will probably be secondary to dealing with trauma and reconnecting with friends, said Paradise High Principal Loren Lighthall.

“They don’t have their church, they don’t have their school, they don’t have their work, they don’t have their friends. They don’t have any of that stuff, and we’re asking them to write five-paragraph essays?” Lighthall said. “It’s just unreasonable at this point. We’re going to do it, but we’re going to be super flexible with what we require.” (VOA)