Mosaics & Tombstones

This was July.  I've been sitting on this post since then when a BFF took me on a birthday adventure, and it's a bit of a *departure* from my usual posts.   I wanted to wait closer to Halloween just for a spooky effect, but I don't really want to creep anyone out.  Mostly I was just in birthday age denial, yet happy to be around to celebrate another.  Nothing makes you appreciate getting older more than visiting a place where that opportunity no longer exists.

So what kind of friend takes their best garage sale'n pal to a cemetery for her birthday?  One that knows you have an appreciation for mosaics silly!  Dii (I did not make up her name for this post) didn't mean to take me to a cemetery it just so happened it was on the same grounds as this amazing quaint chapel.

 This is the Lakewood Memorial Chapel.  
Minneapolis, on the shore of Lake Calhoun.

From the web site:   
Mosaic interior ....created by designer Charles Lamb and many consider it the most perfect example of Byzantine mosaic art in the United States. In 1909, Lamb traveled to Rome to enlist the services of six mosaic artists who had just recently completed a project in the Vatican. The artists created more than 10 million mosaic pieces, called tessellae, from marble, colored stone, and glass fused with gold and silver. The artists then traveled to Minneapolis to assemble the work inside the chapel. Upon completion in 1910, the Lakewood Memorial chapel was the only building in the country with an authentic mosaic interior.

 Did you catch that?... 10 million tiny pieces.  1909, completed a year later.  Someone better than me do the math... if they worked 365 days how many tiles a day is that?
Pictures of course do not do it justice.

Dii is a mosaic artist in her own right, she's the one who turned me on to smashing china.  Dii actually plots out things in a pattern, me I just smash something and glue it on randomly.  I don't have the patience, you know that lazy crafter thing, and I can't even imagine doing the whole interior to a building in tiles the size of a fingernail.  

I wanted to see the cemetery, this is art too.  It was the most well kept cemetery I have ever been to, especially for its age.  No I don't hang out in cemetery's but I'm no stranger to loss.  I really prefer to visit them in this fashion than have reason to go.

 Reading the names on the skyscrapers tombstones it was easy to see why it was so well kept; these are the movers and shakers of the area buried here.  The namesakes and founders of towns and businesses across the state. 

And then there were the ones that caught my eye...... 

I kid you not, Griswold and Chase were next to each other. 
You know... Chevy Chase and the Griswolds from the Vacation movies?

This was my favorite stone.  The lettering just looked all vintagy and cool.  

 Some make you wonder the significance of the design.  Why did Rosie get a log?

No matter how old I get the last name of butts will always be funny. 
Probably because I'm thankful it's not mine.
Seymour was not next to it.  I looked.

 And everything in it's place.....

 The deceased mortician from our town was named Grimsmo.  Appropriate huh?  The current mortuary owners are friends of ours and employ one of my sons from time to time for things like vehicle washing or extra hands for what ever is "needed".  Occasionally it makes for interesting dinner table talk.  And yes often we find humor in it, but don't doubt for one minute the admiration we have for that family.

Old cemetery's are historical places.  I found this one very interesting.  Just ponder for a moment how fast time goes by.  Death is certain and that fact wasn't any different 100 years ago!  Someone still felt the loss that each one of these stones marks yet only 100 short years have passed and no one is left that even knew the people buried beneath the oldest ones. 

I said ponder, not dwell.

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  1. I love to walk in old cemeteries. They are so peaceful and yes, sometimes the tombstones are pieces of art themselves. I have never seen anything like the one with the tiny mosaics though. That is breathtaking! This was an enjoyable post and I wasn't creeped out at all!

  2. only you would have found the butts tombstone.... i wonder if it was good ol seymour.

  3. I want to be laid to rest next to the Griswolds.
    I'll feel right at home. Ya think the squirrel is there, too?
    Fingers crossed!

    Good one, Cassie.

  4. What a beautiful cemetery and the mosaic work is incredible. Glad you didn't save this post any longer. It's still the perfect time to share it.

  5. First the Church, I wish I could have gone with you, I love church's the architecture, the details, the artistic efforts,craftmanship you don't see in today's world. The headstones I am on the same page, Such pride shows in those headstones. One of my favorite places to go and walk the streets and find history is New Orleans. If you ever have a chance go and they have a church their that is wedged between buildings and the most marvelous stain glass and mosaics inside,I know I will spell this wrong. Jesuit church with Bizan....details....Luved the post

  6. My grandparents, and after their deaths, my parents lived across the street from a cemetery that was used in the 1800s. I used to go over there as a kid and read the tombstones. I used to get creeped out when I would find a bunch of babies' headstones from the same family. (There were a LOT of babies in that cemetery.)

  7. You know I absolutely love the is place Bliss. Why did Rosie get a log, one always makes you wonder. How gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  8. What a gorgeous example of mosaic tile work!! And your tour of the cemetery was very entertaining, too. My favorite was the log for Rosie. I wonder if it was a pet. Do you think they allowed pets to be buried there?

  9. That is INREDIBLE! I can't believe it only took a year to do that!

  10. That mosaic work is!

    I have to say, if you can have fun in a cemetary than you are my kind of girl! lol

  11. Gorgeous pictures Bliss! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Gail

  12. We do this, D and I. We go to cemeteries sometimes and just wander. We think they are so peaceful and beautiful. We like to ponder who those people are, and what they were like, and take in all the history of the stones. But only you could inject that kind of humor! Seymour Butts - heh!

    That mosaic is beyond beautiful.. just unreal!

  13. Anonymous9/07/2012

    Did you know that the chapel can be rented? My son and his bride were married in the mosaic chapel last September! It was a gorgeous setting! Thanks for your post. Barbara

    1. Yes I found that out when I was there. Your son couldn't of picked a more beautiful place. Nice and intimate, just the right size.

  14. The mosaic is breathtaking Bliss.

    We live in a historic New England town so there are quite a few cemeteries that people like to visit. I love the quiet and it's a great place to 'fix' your head when you need to. I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes to wander through.

  15. can't even imagine doing a mosaic like that. absolutely amazing. I think Rosie might have been a pet (or maybe that is illegal?)

  16. Beautiful photos. That log caught my eye. It was the fact that it was a log, and that was my mother's name.

  17. So interesting, Bliss! I have never been to Lakewood before and had no idea of the mosaic work...we might have to visit there one of these days!

  18. Awesome tour, I'm not good at math, but it's mind blowing that was done in a year...or at all. I would have given up.

  19. When my daughter was in 3rd grade we took a walking field trip to a nearby cemetery. Strange, right? It's a place I drive by frequently but with a big brick wall around it never gave it a second thought. But once we inside, I realize how truly beautiful it was!


  20. You have found a way to make posting about a cemetary both educational and fun! Only you could do that. I had to laugh at the Butts name myself. Don't you know that person was teased as a child? The mosaic art inside was breathtaking. I can see why you enjoyed looking at it in person. Knowing the history behind it is even better. I do enjoy reading markers on old tombstones at historic cemetaries myself. It's always interesting to see how long they lived and read the old names. Thanks for taking us along with you on this tour!

  21. Thank you for showing us these mosaics, they're absolutely stunning. The colours and designs are amazing.
    I've never been in a cemetary that looked quite like this one - the ones I know well are all higgeldy piggeldy and when I was young I was always worried about stepping on someone's grave !

  22. Pondering...
    I'm fascinated with old cemeteries ~this one looks especially fascinating. The mosaics are gorgeous!

  23. Aren't they gorgeous? Everything was done with such excellence way back when.

    Time flies.....we are a blink.

  24. Thank you for the tour! Beautiful place. I'm pondering where Seymore could be. ;)
    <3 Christina at I Gotta Create!

  25. Those mosaics were amazing!! I liked your tour of the cemetery too. I knew right where you were going with the Griswold/Chase thing! We toured a really cool old cemetery when we were in Savannah. Even the kids learned a lot walking through it.


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