Wichita Artists in Their Studios
by Sondra Langel
There is a brisk, cool breeze blowing in the Derby, Kansas park, but Tina Murano is smiling as she applies concrete to the giant tree roots she has created along a new curved wall enclosing what will become an enchanting children's playground. Assisted by her son, Nate, Tina has used styrofoam and fiberglass mesh to replicate roots streaking along the wall for more than 50 feet. She sculpts the wet concrete with a small trowel to mimic textures along the roots. There are smooth blanks in between the roots where she will place handmade ceramic tiles that suggest the underground, and playful animal forms. Tina has formed a working relationship with the architects who designed this new park. Together have have developed a number of parks and outdoor areas. Although much of her work is done on site at installations, she has a sizable studio/garage at her home dominated by two large worktables. The walls are lined with bins of glass and ceramic tile in every color and shape, and bins that contain other materials and tools she uses in her work - stone, stainless steel, aluminum, tile nippers, trowels and power tools. In another room there is an electric kiln used for firing ceramic tiles. Perched atop one set of bins are four hard hats, playfully decorated by an artist friend, symbolic of Tina, a master of mosaic design, fabrication, and installation.
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