St. Louis area union craftsmen present MDC with unique gift

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Saint Louis
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ST. CHARLES, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) received of a unique donation from St. Louis-area craftsmen last week.

The Tile, Marble & Terrazzo Workers' Union Local 18 of Missouri presented MDC with a handmade mosaic tile MDC triangle logo in a wooden frame. Members from the Local 18 delivered the logo Jan. 29 to MDC’s St. Louis Regional Office on the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles. The mosaic logo was crafted by a group of apprentices and donated to MDC. Amateur woodworker Matt Mauger created the frame.

On hand to accept the gift was MDC Regional Administrator Julianne Stone and Regional Infrastructure Maintenance Supervisor Mike Norris. It was presented by Local #18 Vice President and Apprentice Coordinator/Instructor Charlie Reiter and two of the apprentices who helped make the mosaic logo: Nick Hardwick, apprentice for Missouri Terrazzo, and Christian Moore, apprentice at Trademark Stone.

18 apprentices contributed about 40 total work hours to bring the project to fruition. They were a mix of tile setters, terrazzo mechanics and finishers, along with marble and granite top installers.

“I was surprised and pleased to receive Charlie’s call regarding this project. We appreciate the effort and many hours of work that all the apprentices dedicated to creating this wonderful piece of art. It was a pleasure to meet them and we will proudly display their work,” said Stone.

One of the goals of the effort was to teach the disciplines of mosaic creation to the apprentice craftsmen. “We wanted a design that was simple and would appeal to our many members who are hunters and sportsmen,” said Reiter. He explained that the project helped teach precision, problem-solving, cooperation, and planning which would also develop skills in other precision work like granite, marble tops, and terrazzo.

The project started with enlarging and printing a photo of the MDC logo, then placing a layer of mesh on top. Next came the precision work of custom shaping every mosaic tile using cutters, followed by securing each one into place with tweezers and glue. “Every piece is different, and you have to line them up precisely and make sure each one fits,” explained Moore, a seven-month apprentice.

The project was a change of pace for the apprentices and offered a refreshing challenge. “This is more of a finesse type of thing, so I really had a good time working on it,” Hardwick said, who is a year into his apprenticeship.

“We at MDC always look forward to opportunities such as this to connect with partners in the community we serve,” Stone said.

“We are pleased to put our craftsmanship to use and create a mosaic that can be shared with the community. By displaying this mosaic logo at a local MDC facility, it will ensure that the apprentices and the public will be able to enjoy it for years to come,” said Reiter.

The mosaic logo is currently on display in the main entry foyer of the MDC St. Louis regional office.