Artist Watch: Cristina Colli

I first came across Cristina’s work via the Mosaic Yearbook in 2006 (her work is also featured in the 2007 collection). Her two pieces submitted in the 2006 Yearbook spoke volumes to me – I understood her sensibility in design and loved the inspiration. I was pleasantly surprised when she started posting to the yahoo groups and when her website went up.

Though Cristina now resides in Ireland, she is Italian and spent most of her life in Tuscany in a small coastal town near Siena, Florence and Rome. Her fascination with art began as a young girl when she would visit these cities, spending time in museums and old buildings and, as she says, breathing in the art. Venice, a city full of art, was yet another place that enthralled her. She particularly loved watching the artists working with glass, a material she has always been fascinated with.

Her Uncle is a painter and she would spend hours just watching him paint or examining his art books, the smell of linseed oil and turpentine in the air. She writes “Art Nouveau enthralled me, I love curves and organic shapes and forms. Klimt is one of my favourite artists ever. I also love Gaudì, I remember being in Barcelona and admiring Casa Batlò, Parc Guell, la Sagrada Familia… I love Islamic Art, too, and I was fascinated by the Alhambra in Andalucia.”

Crisitina’s formal education is actually in accounting and she worked in a bank for over 10 years, killing her creativity in the process. The year 2000 seemed to be a pivotal point in her life when she packed up and moved to Dublin with her husband. It was then she decided on a career change. She enrolled in an Interior Design course at the Dublin Institute of Design and it was here that she discovered mosaics. The students were asked to make a mosaic – a mirror frame inspired by art. She bought herself the necessary tools, her first mosaic book (Decorative Mosaics by Elaine Goodwin) and read and read to grasp the technique. What resulted was Moon Mirror. Her second project was a table, inspired by Islamic art. She fell in love with mosaics and has not looked back since, starting her mosaic business in February of 2007

The aspects she loves most about mosaic are its tactile quality, the slow, almost meditative nature of creating a mosaic, the fact that fragments are assembled together to create a whole, and its permanence and durability. Cristina is captivated by colour, shape, texture and light reflectivity, which she is constantly exploring to bring a sense of movement and fluidity to her art.

Her inspiration comes from her emotions, her vision of the world and her observation of nature. Cristina incorporates lots of different materials into her work – vitreous glass, ceramic, stained glass, mirror, smalti, gold, rocks, beads, millefiori, mother-of-pearl, slate, minerals, the list goes on. Cristina says “every time I go for a walk at the beach I always look for interesting shells, pebbles, rocks, fragments of china, beach glass…even my husband helps! Sometimes he comes back for a walk with a shell, a flat stone, bits of slate fallen off a roof…I like to integrate these one-off pieces in my art, and I also like the recycling element, or the fact that you can incorporate mementos from childhood or holidays, odd pieces of jewellery, bits of metal…”

Cristina is a member of the British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM). Her work has been exhibited in:
Italy, Tuscany – June 2006 – Art & Craft Exhibition in Marina di Grosseto
U.K., York, York Minster – BAMM Miniature Exhibition “Symbols of Faith”, September 2006
U.K., Fishbourne Roman Palace – BAMM Exhibition “Inspired by Rome”, July-August 2007

Her work was not only published in the catalogues of both BAMM Exhibitions but was also featured in the advertising posters. She has also been chosen to take part in a group blog of Irish artists.

Curently, Cristina is working on a piece for the BAMM miniature exhibition “Waterways” which will be held in London in September and October 2008. She is also experimenting on a small 3D piece using fibreglass mesh, thinset and polystyrene (to make the sculpture) which she will then mosaic. I look forward to seeing her new work!!!

“Reaching for the Dream symbolises the universal search for our Dream. In this quest, we encounter obstacles and resistance (background movement portraying strong water currents) but also hidden treasures of clarity, seeds of growth and joy (millefiori, silver).”

“Emergence is a metaphor of the effort to break the outer shell (slate) and be true to my Self, trusting my inner voice (smalti and gold) and allowing it to speak.”

This piece is a celebration of a spiritual rebirth…

Roman Rosette

House Number – I love how Cristina can make something as simple as a house sign look just as delightful as her fine art mosaics.


1 Comment

Filed under Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Cristina Colli, Mosaic, Signage, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

One response to “Artist Watch: Cristina Colli

  1. OH I love this work! Thanks Kim for posting her work. I really did the address sign. Laura Aiken

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