Jumping right back in, the next mosaic artist I wanted to highlight is Natalie Warne.
Most of you, I’m certain, are aware of her work. I love how her art makes me feel. Don’t quite have my finger on exactly why… Anyway, let’s meet her! I must say reading through the info Natalie sent me, it was uncanny how many parallels there were in both our lives… it’s this weird occurrence which has happened with alot of the artists I’ve written about here.
Natalie was born in Cyprus and resided there for the first couple years of her life. She moved around a fair bit until her parents settled in Plymouth, England at around the age of 5. Not being terribly excited by school, she went to college to do a ‘Nursery Nursing’ course and ended up studying art – this was her favourite subject.
At the ripe old age of 18 she made the move to London (Wimbledon to be precise) to become a Nanny (I did this too… in Wimbledon!!! For 3 weeks, but went for longer!!!). This did not work out for her and she returned to Plymouth to work in the bingo hall in the city. This is where she met her partner, Keith. After toiling in jobs, buying a home together, doing all the things we do they decided to pack up and travel: ” Keith & I had become unhappy with the same old routine of getting up at 6am, getting caught in traffic, doing the same stressful but boring jobs. (we were earning good money, but realised that is certainly not the most important thing in life!)”. So they sold up all their belongings, bought a VW camper van and hit the road 🙂
They used the Netherlands as their base, mainly there in the warmer months and travelled off to warmer pastures in the Winter months – Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt. “…from Luxor we joined with some other travellers & hired a falucca to go down the Nile to Aswan. This was one of the best things we have ever done, we slept on the deck & it was amazing, the scenery, the floating hotels!!…”. Sounds divine! They continued on using the Netherlands as their base for another 6 or so years, during which time they also managed to get away to parts of South East Asia, India, even Hawaii. “Travelling to all these places & experiencing the diverse habitats, people & man made works of art (especially the Wats (temples) in Thailand, which are stunningly beautiful) & learning meditation & yogic breathing along the way, changed us both & led us towards a more spiritual/less material way of life.” Amen.
Throughout this time, Natalie had started making jewellery: earring, necklaces etc all with semi-precious stones. Her Mum and herself decided to open up shop back in the UK – Totnes to be precise which is down in Devon (I lived in Salcombe for a short while, a beautiful little place close by…). This is how they ended back in the UK.
Discovering mosaics four years ago, her hobby soon turned into her passion: “At the beginning all I could afford to use were ceramic tiles, so most of my earlier work is in that medium. I then started buying vitreous glass tiles in mixed colour kilo bags, which gave me different colours & textures to work with.”
Just over a year ago, she thought to give mosaics a more serious try, quit her day job and working part time with Keith allowed her the freedom and flexibility to give it a serious go. “I cannot describe how happy it made me feel to get the time to really concentrate on trying different methods & materials & to start stretching myself creatively.”
Natalie is a self taught artist and believes this enhances her work as she is not limited by the rules that are applied in art. ” I did find the groups on Flickr & have found it most helpful to read the help & tips on these forums.” She has been concentrating on exhibiting her work over the past year, a solo show in her hometown of Totnes as well as sending off a piece to Ciel Gallery, located in the US.
As for her where she feels she is heading, as an artist: “I seem to be moving towards doing mixed media mosaics as I love the textures & play of light on a piece that has many levels, I am not so keen on the grouting part of these types of mosaics and sort of heave a sigh of relief when I am doing an easy grout job. Saying that, it doesn’t stop me from doing them!!! I had a lot of beads & semi precious stones over from my time making jewellery so I love to incorporate them & any other little bits & bobs that I pick up all over the place (charity shops etc). I also really enjoy using stained glass & when I go to a glass shop I am like a kid in a sweet shop!! I have recently discovered tempered glass & am at the moment doing a series of Ladies (seasons) & am using tempered glass, along with other materials, to bring these to fruition. Colours are extremely important to me, & I LOVE bright primary colours, I love rainbows. Sometimes a mosaic design pops into my head just because of a certain glass colour or texture. I think I sort of work instinctively & go with what feels right & mostly that works out for me. I sometimes have a whole design in my head when I start to work on a piece, but often as I start to draw things out on the substrate things change & evolve as I go along. I do not like to be too rigid with myself & just let the creative process morph into being. I have also enjoyed making things for some challenges on the web, as these often take me in a direction I have not tried before & make me be a bit more disciplined. I feel I am so lucky to earn a bit of money doing something I love & it would be great to be able to sell more! I have so many ideas for mosaics in my head I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do them all in my lifetime, but I’m going to give it a bloody good try.”
Well here’s to you Natalie! I think you are giving it a bloody good try too 🙂
Here are some of my favourites, but I do think that you should go check her flickr site for more…
And finally, meet Natalie: