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Piecing Together: Mosaics at the Café

We were thrilled to introduce a new class in our School for Recovery in late October. Piecing Together: Introduction to Mosaic Arts is the first class of its kind at the Café, and is led by mosaic artist and founder of Seattle Mosaic Arts (SMA), Dr. Claire Barnett. Last spring, staff of the Café attended a talk given by Dr. Barnett where she described her journey into mosaic arts, which is summarized on the SMA website:

“As a family doctor with over 20 years experience of practicing medicine, Claire Barnett never imagined that she would be opening a mosaic studio. Her path to this studio has been long and forged with heartache. She began creating mosaics after the tragic deaths of her two young daughters and their father on the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 plane crash in 2000.”


As Café staff heard Dr. Barnett describe mosaic creation as a metaphor for piecing back together what has been broken through trauma and grief, it really resonated. Helping transform trauma into something hopeful and beautiful is what Recovery Café aims to do every day. As Dr. Barnett puts it, “There is, I believe, some real meaning in the process of breaking up glass and tiles into small pieces and then putting them back together in a new form, over and over again. It is both meditative and creative. There is something soothing about the process and it is a comforting way to be with other people – sharing space and working side-by-side.”


Over the years at Recovery Café, we have seen the transformation that comes from sharing space and working side-by-side. The pride and artistry our Members demonstrate when they are creating mosaics is a powerful manifestation of this. As Café Member Tanna puts it, “There’s no wrong way to do this.”

Carmella, looking at her completed mosaic pumpkin, said: “I did a good job; I’m proud.”

We are so grateful to Dr. Barnett for joining with us at the Café to offer inspiration and healing. She is opening up new ways for our Members to continue piecing together their recovery.

Support for this class comes from 4Culture.