Old surfboards get new lives as mosaics

Old surfboards get new lives as mosaics
"Vortex" will be featured in Cherrie LaPorte's mosaic glass surfboard collection when it debuts 5-9 p.m., Feb. 29 at Catch restaurant in Carlsbad. Photo courtesy of Glass Ranch Studio

CARLSBAD — Cherrie LaPorte’s solo exhibition of her mosaic glass surfboard collection will debut between 5 and 9 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Catch Carlsbad restaurant. It will be on display until March 6.The boards in the collection include: “Glass Kelp,” “Vortex Glass Surf,” “Surf Reflections,” “Glass DHD Number 5,” “Glass Eucalyptus Leaf” and “Magical Ride.”The opening also celebrates the Bridge to Bridge Project, a fundraiser that will follow Tim Warner and Clayton Walking Eagle as they paddleboard from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. The goal is to generate awareness and money for Charity: Water, a global nonprofit that raises money to bring clean and safe drinking water to underdeveloped parts of the world.

"Glass Kelp" by Cherrie LaPorte. Photo courtesy of Glass Ranch Studio

Ten percent of sales during a silent auction will go to the nonprofit. Warner and Walking Eagle will be on hand to answer questions and help with the fundraising. They will embark on their adventure the following day.
LaPorte said that all boards were designed and made at her Glass Ranch on Del Dios Highway near Lake Hodges which she shares with her husband artist Garry Cohen. The property consists of a hot shop for blowing glass, a fused glass studio, a sculpture garden, mosaic ponds and a glass gallery.

“My studio is surrounded by nature and every day I am inspired by our garden which I landscape and maintain mostly myself,” she said. “I love everything organic and I wanted the design to replicate that and my joy of color and texture.

“‘Glass Kelp’ was my first mosaic surfboard and the one I am most attached to. It evolved beautifully as I designed it with a natural theme of leaves or kelp.”

LaPorte explained that she begins each piece with a “retired” surfboard which becomes the canvas. The process, including design, takes about six weeks.

“I thought the platform of a surfboard would be perfect to create a colorful sculpture for the garden and I loved the shape and size,” she said. “I didn’t realize it would grab hold and motivate me to create a collection. I was just giving it a try and now I am hooked with the process and outcome.”

LaPorte uses leftover pieces of glass, including remnants of fused and blown glass she and her husband have in their studio.

“The beauty of glass is that it is recyclable so we keep everything and add it to the garden for visual stimulation,” she said. “The spectrum to me is most enjoyable to replicate so the leaves move in colors from yellows to reds, lavenders, blues and greens.”

Cohen helped create a stand used to mount the boards for display in the garden.

“The whole other side to the story is my passion for recycling and what the sport of surfing, and its amazing culture, represents,” LaPorte said. “Each piece of the puzzle is its own entertaining story, from the original shaper, to the surfer that had fun times on the board, to me — and then to the final owner of the mosaic. Add these together and you create a masterpiece!”

Mayur Pavagadhi, owner of Catch Carlsbad, was inspired by LaPorte’s use of recycling materials.

“The end result, of course, is dazzling, plus the fact that it is connected to the ocean which is what we are all about,” he said. “The sense of community paired with the opportunity to team up with Bridge to Bridge, that is all about awareness of clean waters. This is a wonderful opportunity to support the arts and ecological awareness at the same time.”

For more information, visit LaPorte’s website at cherrielaporte.com.

To make reservations for dinner after the event, visit catchcarlsbad.com or call (760) 729-7904. Catch Carlsbad is at 660 Carlsbad Village Drive.

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