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Local artist creates beauty from tornado’s destruction

It’s a glittering picture of graceful red poppies.  But look closer – this piece of art is really a culmination of tiny, otherwise useless fragments – pieces of broken china, glass and pottery.

After deadly tornadoes ravaged through Alabama, artist Lisa Weir was volunteering in Harvest, sorting the debris in piles.  With an eye for beauty, Weir saw that a lot of the pieces, though broken, weren’t destined to be trash.

“I kept seeing details that were so beautiful and I thought, this was something special,” Weir said.  “And I started thinking, these are still beautiful, the pieces, and I thought we could make something out of it and take the broken parts and make something beautiful again out of it.”

Weir asked her fellow volunteers to gather up the pieces for her to rescue.  She ended up with boxes full of broken material, which she then sorted by color.

Then she began to make her very first mosaic.

The destruction of the April tornadoes didn’t just provide the material for Weir’s art project – it provided the inspiration as well.  Weir will auction her finished mosaic to benefit tornado recovery efforts.

Each broken fragment, whether it’s from a wedding gift, a family heirloom or a Christmas ornament, represents families affected by the tornadoes.  Looking at all of the many fragments that make up her mosaic, Weir gets lost in pondering the origins of each piece.

“You just wonder what the story is behind all of these little pieces,” Weir said.  “You know they meant something to somebody.”

Weir’s art – particularly her portrait photography – is influenced by the beauty on personal levels.

“This particular project is so personal because it came from something tragic.”

Weir will start the bid for her piece at $200.  Bidding will begin on the 16 Main website and the mosaic, along with smaller pieces like birdhouses, picture frames and mirrors will be auctioned off at the 16 Main open house on July 28.

Weir will donate the money earned from her mosaics to the Red Cross or United Way.

It was natural for Weir to breathe new life into jagged fragments by fashioning them into a portrait of flowers.

“Something of nature to me is just beautiful,” Weir said.  “To me, everything comes from God and even when we don’t understand tragedy, we can still take the broken pieces of our lives and put it back together into something of beauty.”

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