Mosaic tile wall to be featured in new café at Penn State Lehigh Valley

Installation by artist and PSU-LV faculty member Chris Bonner
Mosaic tile project

A tile mosaic from a similar project.

Credit: Chris Bonner

 As part of the Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV) expansion project, a 9’ x 8’ wall in the café area on the first floor will be transformed by artist and University faculty member, Chris Bonner.  The project is designed to allow the entire campus community as well as alumni and friends to make their own personal mark. Bonner described his mosaic concept as setting up a system of processes, ala artist Sol LeWitt, that will allow a disparate group of individuals to create a fairly uniform tile (pixel) that when combined with the other tiles will create a visual field greater than a sum of the parts (Gestalt*). 

Bonner and Ann Lalik, gallery director and arts coordinator at PSU-LV, will demonstrate the tile making process in live (socially distanced) workshops in February as well as through broadcast-video instruction for those who are not able to attend a live workshop.  Individuals will be provided extruded squares and asked to gently press into a texture to create unique and personal impressions. An estimated 12 to 13 thousand tiles will be used and even though each is the same size, the personal mark promotes the concept that each of us are unique and together create a beautiful community. Bonner will give instruction on applying texture to the tile surfaces developing the concept of observing your surroundings and reflecting your identity.   

Examples of what could be used to make texture:   

You live in the city -- concrete sidewalks, brick, macadam 

You live in the country -- grass, leaves 

You work in construction or woodworking -- plywood, the cut end of a piece of wood 

You like fashion or you sew -- lace, fabric, pins 

You work in an office -- pressed paperclips, staples, pencil/pen tip 

You love the beach -- shells, sand, driftwood 

You love the woods -- twigs, tree bark, stones/rocks 

Textures and pressed shapes could also include symbols . 

Project Timeline: 

February: Tiles are made with in-person workshops offered from noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb 16, 17, 18. 

 March 1: All greenware tiles ready to bisque fire. 

March 15: Start glazing process and second firing. 

April 1: All tiles are fully glazed/fired and ready to install on wall throughout month .

End of April: Installation complete and unveiling ceremony held.   

*Gestalt theory emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. That is, the attributes of the whole are not deducible from analysis of the parts in isolation. The word Gestalt is used in modern German to mean the way a thing has been “placed,” or “put together.”   It argues that the mind has a disposition for putting things in patterns.  


For information contact Ann Lalik, Gallery Director and Arts Coordinator, at 610-285-5261 or [email protected]