By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsSeptember 15, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Army family member Catherine Florang sat at a long table with other military spouses, carefully placing small pieces of broken tile on a wood board at the Schofield Barracks Arts & Crafts Center, Aug. 23. She reminisced about the day spent with her husband, Pvt. Robert Florang, 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, prior to his deployment to Iraq. "We were walking in the mountains, and I was picking wildflowers," said Florang. "It was the best day of my life." "I'm trying to recreate that moment," said Florang, looking at her mosaic piece covered with bright flowers and a colorful mountain range. The arts and crafts center was packed with family members for a day of art sponsored by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR.) All Blue Star Card members enjoyed the free event as creative juices flowed around the room. Tammy Bruce, arts specialist at the center, explained the process of creating a mosaic art piece with small pieces of colored glass and tile. Participants drew a simple design on each board prior to gluing the glass pieces down. Family members wore protective eyewear as they smashed pieces of tile and glass to place on their wood boards. Boards were adorned with American flags, words of aloha and various layouts to match the dAfAcor of their homes. Mosaics create beautiful, decorative art pieces and are great for interior design and sprucing up a wall, walkway or even a piece of furniture in your house, according to Bruce. The act is simple allowing any beginner to become a master of arts and create beautiful works to display. "This is a great way for spouses of deployed Soldiers to relax and learn a new skill," said Bruce, "and it gives them a chance to see what the arts and crafts center has to offer." After the small glass pieces cured on the boards, participants started grouting their work, working the grout into the cracks. While the boards were drying, family members showed off their work proudly to other participants. "It's great to share this new experience with other spouses," said family member Carrie Scheib. "Saturdays can be pretty long with your husband gone." FMWR is committed to taking specific Army Family Covenant (AFC) initiatives and customizing them to meet the unique needs of Soldiers and families in Hawaii. AFC programs are designed to increase the quality of life for families of and Soldiers who have recently returned from a deployment or are gearing up for a deployment, as well as spouses of currently deployed Soldiers. "We try to offer a variety of events to meet the needs of every family member," said Darlene Marshall, Blue Star Card program coordinator. "We are always looking for new ideas and ways to keep our families entertained during times of deployment." The arts and crafts center offers an array of programs for every member of the family, including a "Mom and Tot" class that allows parents and children to create artwork together, and a newly added "Wahines in the Woodshop," taught by a woman for women. "We have so many things to entertain and offer families," said Bruce. "Come in and be creative."