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Artist provides community canvas for charity

Local artist Lori Franklin is enlisting the help of the community to create a piece of art for charity. She's supplying the canvas -- a 3-foot-tall vintage birdbath -- and thousands of pieces of multicolored ceramic shards ranging from broken din...

Local artist Lori Franklin is enlisting the help of the community to create a piece of art for charity.

She's supplying the canvas -- a

3-foot-tall vintage birdbath -- and thousands of pieces of multicolored ceramic shards ranging from broken dinner china to marble-like glass orbs.

Most of the project will be done by people who pass through her Canal Park art store and school, Peasantworks at 310ยฝ Lake Ave., just above Hell's Kitchen.

Participating in the mosaic's completion are customers, artists, students and tourists from all over.

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"I am amazed with how many people are more than happy to come in and add a piece to it," Franklin said.

She will do a bit of grouting after there's no room left for the mosaic, but that's it. The only requirement for artists is the desire to add your own personal touch to the birdbath mosaic by gluing on another piece.

Though she's not sure she'll be able to identify the ceramic shard she glued onto the birdbath mosaic, Peasantworks customer Kim Leedtke said she is excited about the project's potential.

"I just thought it was a great idea," Leedtke said. "She's going to donate the proceeds to charity or a nonprofit organization, and I like that. It [the mosaic] is fun, it's exciting and it will spark creativity in anyone."

"It's hard to say how much the mosaic will raise," Franklin said. "I have sold a lot of mosaic-shard pieces here, and similar-sized machine-made mosaics sell for around $300."

Franklin's idea for the artwork started almost 10 years ago during the search for the "perfect" birdbath that wasn't so decorative that it couldn't handle hundreds of glass pieces glued to it. After securing the right bird bath, Franklin put the project on hold for a while. Then she got the idea of turning to the community for help.

"It sat there for so long," Franklin said. "I thought, OK, this wasn't going to get done unless I had some help on it."

The process has moved much faster than she expected.

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"I was thinking this was going to be our entire summer project, but at the rate we're going here I think we'll probably have it done by the end of July," Franklin said. "We'll put it on display for the month of August, because so many people that have added their pieces want to see what it will look like when it's done."

The mosaic birdbath is not the only piece of art being created during the project. Franklin and other Peasantworks employees have taken pictures of everyone who has added their personal touch to the birdbath.

"We are actually going to make a mosaic collage out of the pictures," Franklin said. "We've taken a snapshot of all the people that have added their pieces, and these pictures will all go up behind the birdbath while it's on display."

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