Grafton Artsfest 2011

I’m back from Grafton! It was such a wonderful week! Full of laughs, loads of information, a class full of wonderful women, warm weather, new friendships, fantastic mosaics… Canberra is cold and blustery and frankly I didn’t want to come back. I’d be happy to hang out in Newcastle for a while longer! Still, I am back and with lots of enthusiasm and energy – I’ve added so much more to my mosaic to do list. I’m going to start sketching out some ideas for a bathroom floor installation. For now, I can’t wait to get stuck into this mural.

I had 14 women in my class, come from all over. Some semi local, some a number of hours away. 14 is about the max that I like to work with. More than that & I get stretched for one-on-one time. I think it’s important to wander around the class and assist/talk/hash ideas out with each individual student. Eight of the 14 had never made a mosaic before while the other seven had some experience so it was a good mix. The class I put together was called Mosaic Sampler: Getting Back to Basics. The blurb for it went something like this:
This workshop gets back to basics. It is content rich full of information and advice. Students will finish the week with a strong foundation in mosaic technique. We will discuss which substrates are right for any given project, how to prep a substrate for its intended purpose, which adhesive to use under differing circumstances and also how to source materials. We will look at mosaic design basics, andamento, colour, cutting techniques, and how to get the most out of your tools. Grouting and how this can completely change the vibe of a mosaic will also be explored. Students will create several mosaics using different techniques: direct, indirect using mesh, reverse indirect, tempered glass, glass on glass and the groutless method of mosaic. Each student is encouraged to create a mosaic using all the techniques listed however time-wise it may not be possible for everyone to do so, as we all work at different rates. Students are then encouraged to create at least two mosaics in the technique that interests them most. We will work primarily with a myriad of different glass for each project. These include but are not limited to stained glass, vitreous glass, mirror, millefiori, glass gems, glass rods, and ceramic, marble.

I spent the first day lecturing, I kid you not, from 9 – 4:30pm. I got so into it that my poor students had to remind me of their need to eat (!) and two came back the second day with holes in their elbows (from leaning on their elbows the day before), LOL!! It was great though, as there were many questions being asked and lots of general discussion so I don’t think they were bored!! Everyone made some fantastic mosaics. Only one made a piece using the reverse indirect method. It turned out wonderfully and guess what glue we used?! It was a little bit of an experiment on my part, but Sandra was up for it and it worked (I knew it would): Clag! Remember that stuff from school? It’s a paste made from flour, so I figured it must be similar if not the same than the traditional flour paste used for the reverse indirect method. Anyway, it worked a treat so I may start stocking Clag in my studio from now on… We had mesh mosaics, the push-in method that I teach was used a fair bit, traditional grouted mosaics… it was all happening. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in a long time! I was even told by one that she liked my laugh which is pretty funny actually as it is a bit of an ongoing joke between me and my sisters. My laugh that is…

I’ve uploaded more pics of the week to my facebook page as I can’t fit them all here, so feel free to take a look there.

Sandra’s mosaic using the reverse indirect method

Carol’s mosaic using the mesh method

Judy’s mosaic using tempered glass

Madeleine’s mosaic using the direct method and the push-in technique

Last day – students with some of their mosaics

It was the last year of Artsfest, maybe not forever, but just while the volunteer committee attend to their personal lives. I was glad to be a part of the last year though. It’s amazing how something that started off so humbly has touched so many lives… Hopefully it will be resurrected and if not, then that’s OK too. It was a part of people’s lives for 18 years. I think to myself that I should start doing a mosaic retreat, or some kind of arts festival here in Canberra or close by, inviting tutors from different mediums… someday perhaps! I need to consolidate and not overwhelm myself (and find a like minded person who would be interested in helping out!!)…

I also managed to get a small piece done while up North. I’ve called it Tappeto II. I’ll make a third soon and the three Tappetos will go into the showroom of a tile shop here in Canberra – so long as they like them I guess!

I went shooting the other day with an old friend and started collecting all the bullet casings… Will have to get him to start collecting them for me!

Now that I’ve mostly unpacked, I have to repack and get ready for the Children’s workshop in Sydney next week.

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Filed under Australia, Classes, Finished pieces, My projects, Round the World, Travel

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