One of the great things about teaching mosaic workshops is that I get to meet some really wonderful people, all from different walks of life but we all converge over two days to explore mosaics. I feel so lucky! Really. So I decided that I would start a new series to spotlight some of my students.
My first post in this series is to introduce you to Robyn Fetter, who came to mosaics late in life. She always had a latent interest in the art form but no time to indulge in it, or as she says no confidence to tackle it.
The catalyst came with the drought. Robyn is a passionate gardener and they have a lot of lawn. In common with a lot of other people living in drought stricken Australia she wasted a year or two grieving for lush green lawn before it dawned on her that the devastation could actually be viewed as a creative opportunity. “If we have to reduce the area of grass, paving is one of the most visually pleasing ways of doing it, and mosaic pictures and patterns set into the paving would be essential to break up the expanse. At any rate, this is how I presented the idea to my husband.”
Robyn started by enrolling in an 8-week evening course in very basic mosaics. It begged more questions than it answered, but she found it tremendously exciting. It was taught in part by Tina van Raay, another local mosaic artist. Robyn says, “It was at this stage that I started haunting the tile shops and happened to be there one day when a station wagon pulled up with the Kim Grant Mosaics sign on the side. Kim was scavenging for tiles with a girl I used to work with, who introduced us, and ensured that I got one of Kim’s business cards. When I saw her website I knew that sooner or later I would have to attend some of her classes because this was my idea of how mosaics ought to be – precise enough to give you confidence that this lady is completely in control of her medium, but also quirky and whimsical. I was keen to avoid the ‘smash ‘em up and slap ‘em down’ school of mosaics with acres of grout.”
Robyn also started amassing books about mosaics and found Teresa Mills very helpful for a beginner. “She gives precise, detailed instructions that encourage careful cutting and placing, and this is what I was concentrating on in my first project – the geometric design. I freely admit it’s very anal and unexciting, but I was struggling to get the shapes and measurements right – with variable success, but at least it was a start.”
With the penguins, another Teresa Mills project, Robyn felt relaxed enough to play with the design and insert her own creativity with the sky and water.
“You will be wondering what these works have to do with enhancing the paving in our garden. I’m intending for these practice efforts to hang on the fence, which also badly needs beautifying, and have made a start on decorative paving stones to be inserted in paving in the garden. Baby steps at the moment, but I have big plans.” I never fail to get excited on hearing some one with “big plans”!!
Robyn also knits, sews, crochets and embroiders. “All these things, including mosaic, and particularly gardening are, in my case at least, compensating activities for not being able to draw or paint. I am passionate about them all and would find life very grey without them.”
She is indeed very passionate and I look forward to seeing all her future mosaics!
Thanks so much to Robyn for letting me profile her!! I will say it wasn’t without a little encouragement as she felt her mosaics were not ready. I disagree! They’re as fabulous as she is.
And finally, meet Robyn.