Category Archives: Misc. Design Concepts

Artist Watch: Baroness Von Reichardt

Onwards to Chiswick, London where Baroness Von Reichardt (aka Carrie and used ironically of course) has been mosaicing her home one piece at a time. Her mosaics caught my eye a while back now, not long after I first joined flickr. What really stopped me was the fact that she combines her political persuasions in her art, and pulls it off with such aplomb! I really don’t think it’s an easy thing to do.

Carrie graduated from Leeds University with a fine arts degree. She specialised in creating art projects for schools and councils – not necessarily a breeding ground for free interpretation of design. Her creative freedom came about when she started working on her own home and thus The Treatment Rooms was born. With an interest in Outsider and Visionary art as well as graffiti and with partner “Mr Spunky” by her side, Carrie set about creating her own fantasy world. “I liked the idea that on this quaint little street in Chiswick something as incongruous as a house completely covered in mosaic art might exist.”

What we see come through are her strong political persuasions as well as an immense amount of passionate empathy. I, for one, love the message in her art. Her beliefs lie strongly in the cathartic value of art more than the monetary value of art. {Hear Hear!}

Before having found mosaics, Carrie suffered from extreme clinical depression, to the point of near hospitalisation. Mosaics brought her back from that brink and it was at around the same time that she had read something in the Big Issue asking for people to write death row inmates as a humanitarian gesture. She did and what resulted, other than an enormous amount of respect and perspective in Life, was life changing. “… no matter how bad you may feel at least you’re not incarcerated and awaiting execution.”

“One of the inmates I wrote was Luis Ramirez. After Luis’ execution, I started mosaicing for eight hours a day. The wall around the back garden is in memory of him, whom I believe was innocent and unjustly convicted for murder. Today, I have five pen pals on Death Row.”

“My correspondence with Luis was my introduction to the horrors of the American criminal justice system. Most people have no idea how awful Death Row really is. They don’t realize how arbitrary so call “justice” is. Luis once told me that “captial punishment means, those with no capital get punished.” I see the death penalty in America as a continued form of lynching, just now they kill the poor along with the blacks.”

Her obsessive compulsive tendencies have also lead her to have one of the most extensive collections of vintage ceramic decals. Carrie spent many years trying to figure out the techinque of transferring her own designs onto ceramic. What culminated was a technique of layering images, using a combination of homemade, vintage and digital ceramic decals (transfers) that she sources from across the globe and is slowly tiling the entire inside of her house with.

The Baroness’ art has been featured in a diverse selection of publications, including Raw Vision, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Nude, Tile and Stone, Grout, Westside, The Londonist, Abort, Mozake, That’s Life and Soho House magazine.

Passionate, articulate and incredibly talented… we need more artists like her. I’m looking forward to a visit to the UK in the next year or two and the Treatment Rooms are high on my landmarks to visit.

More pics on the Carrie’s flickr site as well as Treatment Rooms’ flickr site.

Fight for you right to be arty

Front Entrance of Treatment Rooms

Luis Ramirez Mural Detail

Mayan God Dancing

Hula Hula Girl

Flying Eyeballs

Wave

Carrie Reichardt

Jackie Sumell, Robert King and The Baroness after the back wall was unveiled on Summer Soltice, June 21st 2008.
Robert King has spent 29 years in solitary confinment, before being exonerated in 2001. He is the only freed member of the Angola3.

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Building, Carrie Reichardt, Europe, Female, Flickr, Graffiti, Inspiration, Leeds, London, Mosaic, Murals, Politics, Portraiture, Protest, Public Art, Round the World, Tile Art, Travel, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, Urban

Artist in Residence at IMA!!

After the conference it was onwards and upwards to the Bay Area – my former stomping ground and one place I keep going back to. I always feel like I come home when I go there…

Laurel True was kind enough to let me do a stint at Artist in Residence at the Institute of Mosaic Art (IMA).  When I inquired about perhaps helping out with something at IMA, I wasn’t expecting an ‘Artist in Residence’ tag at all, but was more than happy with it 🙂  Laurel had mentioned the kitchen backsplash which piqued my interest,  amongst many other possibilities. I was worried that time pressures and other personal pressures may prevent me from finishing it, so I left myself open to anything. I had mentioned it to Susan Crocenzi – looking to collaborate with her cuz I thought it would just be fun! When I arrived and went over, I thought to myself the backsplash would be the perfect thing to do. Yet again proof of working well under pressure 😉 With no design ideas in mind and no inkling, at that time, that I would be surrounded by fellow artists a la  Linda Martin, Kelley Knickerbocker and Rachel Rodi [who are waaaay awesome!!! ;)] to help finish the installation I set about doing the kitchen backsplash direct (knowing that I had 4, maybe 5 days to get it all done)! – simply because I had no design in mind and worked it as I went. I knew that if I sat down and drew stuff out, it would not get finished.

Susan came in on the last day (all the way from Nevada City!) and added her tempered glass and polymer clay accents, all of which I think make the installation! Some of the polymer clay pieces she had made many moons ago and they just fit with the theme – colours, shapes… it was just perfect! Like it was meant to be somethin’… We finished just in the knick o’ time.

I have to say designing this was a little scary… 1 because I had no ideas, 2 because it’s in Laurel’s business, 3 because that business is IMA and 4 because how many mosaic artists go through there every year?! Laurel was way cool about it though and just let me go for it. I very much appreciate her support. I figured that she wouldn’t mind a walk on the wild side and wouldn’t necessarily need/want/prefer a traditional backsplash, so I went with something else and I think it fits with the spirit of IMA…

By day 2 I was starting to get just a tad panicked that I wasn’t going to be able to finish what I’d started! I was leaving to go back to Australia and not quite like I could pop in at any time… Mentioned as much on either Flickr or Facebook (don’t remember which) and Lovely Linda came to the rescue!!! She drove up from Santa Cruz to help me on the Saturday. How cool is that?! Kelley was there, having driven down from Seattle the day before, hanging her art for a show she’s got going on (go see it if you are close by – her work is amazing!!!!). We roped her in at some point in the day and when Rachel finished teaching her class… well we just had that glint in our eyes and she couldn’t say no 😉

Last day of installation and the name for the piece hadn’t even cropped up… Susan and I decided to call it Reach.

Have I mentioned how FUN it is working with fellow mosaic artists?!!! Spreadin’ the love is good in numbers!

Me and the Lovely Linda
Me and Linda Martin

Kelley, Rachel and Linda
The Gang – Kelley Knickerbocker, Rachel Rodi and Linda Martin

Crocenzi waving her magic TG wand
The LOVELY Susan Crocenzi

Reach1
Photo by Gib Robinson

Reach - glowing
Reach, *glowing*

Susan Crocenzi's Polymer Clay and Tempered Glass Creations
Detail of Susan’s work

reach_side1
Photo by Gib Robinson

reach_detail
Photo by Gib Robinson

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Backsplash, California, Community Projects, Design Concepts, Events, Female, Finished pieces, Flickr, Inspiration, Institute of Mosaic Art, Kelley Knickerbocker, Kim Grant, Laurel True, Lifestyle, Linda Martin, Meeeting of the Minds, Misc. Design Concepts, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Murals, My projects, Oakland, Ornamental, Polymer Clay, Public Art, Rachel Rodi, Rant, Round the World, San Francisco, Schools, Susan Crocenzi, Tempered Glass, Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Art is Better than Therapy

Lots going on this side of the World, in my little ol’ life. Some positive change which is great, but change can be exhausting even when welcome! Needless to say life has simply gotten in the way of this blog… I miss it, so here I am.

Since last I wrote I have installed a ~5 sq metre mural at my daughter’s preschool. Something I had been thinking about for a long while and was unsure was ever going to happen. I talked it over with a good friend of mine who convinced me to do so. I am so very glad of it too. Between the time that I agreed to the time it was done, was only a few weeks. It was the first community project I have ever been a part of and also the first time to lead a large project with volunteers. It was looking a little worrying there for a little while, thinking that I had noone to help out but people pulled through and new friendships forged  (new addictions too)… The original idea was to come into the preschool, sit down with the kids in small groups and make a mosaic from one of their pictures with them. I was inadvertently offered a full time job that I wasn’t expecting and so that idea kinda went out the window!! Nevertheless I pushed ahead by taking some pictures that the kids drew and mosaicing them myself. The inspiration was simply the drawing of a 4 year old child. Clean, simple and without too much detail. I love a child’s approach to most anything. Honest, innocent and arguably without detail but in saying that I don’t think that children miss the detail. To me, their approach is fresh and I always find myself drawn to it.

In any case the whole project was very satisfying and I feel very happy indeed about the whole affair. It got a little write up in a local newspaper that I was also pleased with, so it was a really nice end to the whole thing. I have managed to do 2 large installations this year. Hard work, but I really think this is where it is for me. Definitely more to come…

Preschool Mural done!!!

Preschool Media

I’m also in the midst of doing the Christmas Art Markets at the Old Bus Depot Markets. Quite different this year, in that there was a very steady stream of people instead of a mad rush. I actually thought I wasn’t doing as well as last year, perhaps a sign of the times, but upon counting the sales at the end of last weekend I actually did better than last year. That was comforting. I think I know what sells and so therefore it is just easier to know what to make. I also upped my prices on a few things and introduced smaller pieces, at a smaller price but without compromising my artistic integrity.

Other major news is that I am headed to San Diego next year for the SAMA conference. Very exciting indeed… My first time, I hope not my last 🙂 I am really looking forward to meeting everyone I have come to know on the internet, meet those I am yet to know, be inspired, inspired, inspired and learn aplenty. Of course a little side trip/holiday is also in the works. Life is too short to constantly say NO!

A little earlier on, I  finished a pair of ballet slippers that got shuttled away to Texas, USA. I was very happy with the way they turned out, falling within the description of what the client specified so happy all around I believe. I was quite stoked by that commission too as it would never have come my way had it not been for the internet.

Odette - Boots' Boots

I also got around to installing a commissioned number plaque. That was a bit of a trip. The client had bought it as a surprise for his girlfriend, as they had purchased their first home together (1, 2, 3: Awwwwwwwwwwww…) and when she opened it she apparently said something like ‘ who made this? Kim Grant?!’. I kinda momentarily let it go to my head and was a celebrity for that split second, lol! 😉

1/22_k_grant_mosaics

So what’s on the cards for the future? One more day for the markets, then Xmas and all that it entails (can’t wait, family time!!!). I’ll be hopefully starting on the install of the mermaid mural which I am really looking forward to. The prep on that wall may take some time though, not something I particularly look forward to. Then it will be time to finish off a few projects I started for myself and start a few others. Trades that are on the cards, a swirl for Lin Schorr‘s project, a new(ish) website… too much to do frankly and never enough time but art is better than therapy. Amen!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year! Thanks for being such wonderful readers…

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Australia, Ballet Pointes, Building, Canberra, Community Projects, Design Concepts, Emerging, Events, Female, Finished pieces, Flickr, Flowers, Kids, Kids' Projects, Kim Grant, Meeeting of the Minds, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Nature, Ornamental, Public Art, Rant, Round the World, Schools, Shoes, Signage, Sunflower, Travel, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging, Workshops

Howl – A Protest

I felt I just had to blog this. It echoes exactly what I feel and Pam Goode has done such a phenomenal job in interpreting those feelings. Click on the photo and go to ‘All Sizes’ to read the messages in the mosaic.

Pam writes, “This is a protest piece finished for The War Against Peace show. I chose to work this piece in a folk-art style, because it is so often the “child” within us that reacts most instinctively to the atrocities around us. The image depicts a Peace Angel howling in anguish over the current state of Man and Earth. Alphabet Millefiori spell out her howls.”

I have already asked if I could write about Pam as part of my Artist Series, so her bio is coming… I eagerly await. She’s a thoroughly interesting woman – I have always loved her mosaics (and will secretly say that I was a little nervous when I first met her back in April; kinda like “bow down to the masta”, lol). She certainly has a presence.

I must say I have always been enamoured with Protest Art, for want of a better word/description. I know many artists who won’t touch it with a 40 foot pole and then I’ve seen some Protest Art that just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s all ringing bells for me right now. I do not understand the apathy. The Peoples’ silence is deafening…

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Filed under Art, Artists, Female, Flickr, Global concerns, Inspiration, Meeeting of the Minds, Mosaic, Pam Goode, Politics, Portraiture, Protest, Rant, Round the World, Signage, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging, War

Nachtwey – All will be Revealed October 3

Nothing mosaic related here folks, but something that I think is intriguing nonetheless. I have lifted the following information from here for those of you who are not familiar with the man behind the lens, though I am sure you will recognise his photographs…

More info at the TED Prize website.

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James Nachtwey: Photojournalist

Photojournalist James Nachtwey is considered by many to be the greatest war photographer of recent decades. He has covered conflicts and major social issues in more than 30 countries.

Why you should listen to him:

For the past three decades, James Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues, working in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time since 1984. However, when certain stories he wanted to cover — such as Romanian orphanages and famine in Somalia — garnered no interest from magazines, he self-financed trips there. He is known for getting up close to his subjects, or as he says, “in the same intimate space that the subjects inhabit,” and he passes that sense of closeness on to the viewer.

In putting himself in the middle of conflict, his intention is to record the truth, to document the struggles of humanity, and with this, to wake people up and stir them to action.

He is the winner of the 2007 TED Prize, awarding him $100,000 and one wish to change the world. This was his wish: “I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.”

On October 3, the story breaks … and we would like you to witness it.

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I am certainly interested in knowing what the story is and will be searching for it once they release the URL. Do make the time (20 mins) to watch the vid. Sometimes words really do fail…

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Filed under Art, Artists, Events, Global concerns, Inspiration, Portraiture, Rant, Round the World, Uncategorized, War

San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Mosaics

Heading back to the Bay Area, an old friend I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years got news of some mosaics being installed in a church. Not one to miss anything mosaic-related, we went over to the church to see what we could and Bob Andrews, the artist happened to be there. Anyway, we introduced ourselves and I told him I made mosaics and was interested in having a quick look-see. He was more than happy to let us have a look around and talk a bit about his career. The church was closed, well and truly so it was really lovely that he let us in. Firstly you need to understand that the man is 83 years old and has been working on this particular church for 60 years, if memory serves me well. He looked no more than 60, truly! The dome measured 60 feet in diameter. IT WAS MASSIVE. {Oops, sorry hit the caps button, but actually it’s appropriate…} This particular install was set to take 3 weeks. We got there half way through the third week and they were just finishing up. He seemed to think about another few days and the install would be done. It was the dome that they were installing – a mosaic of Jesus Christ. The mosaic had taken 2 years to make and was made of smalti – lots of it and alot of gold! He did actually tell me the exact number of tesserae and I forget now. I thought it was amazing in and of itself that he would even count!? How does anyone do that? They can’t possibly count as they go can they? Really is it possible, or is it an estimate?!

Nevertheless, the entire project was made in the reverse indirect. I was in awe! Just the sheer size of it and then having to work it upside down and back to front… Really I’m not one for religious icons but this was simply amazing. Bob made the mosaic with his son in his studio in Italy. They had a three person team come out (from Italy) – 2 men and a woman – for the installation and Bob’s son took the paper off and scrubbed it all down… Alot of work!

He let us climb the scaffolding, 100 ft into the air, on really rickety stairs… I was freakin’ out! Going up is worse than coming done. I never used to be afraid of heights until I had kids. It really does change a woman! 😉 But it was well worth the effort. I’ll never see it that close again and it was stunning, simply stunning!

Andrews has made mosaics in 21 different churches throughout the US. As a Greek Orthodox himself, I got the sense that most of the mosaics were in Greek Orthodox churches… When I asked him how he got started in this medium, he said he came out of Art School having done ceramics and pottery etc… Someone at a University (that he ended up becoming the artist in residence for) suggested that he make a mosaic and that’s really how it all started. Then he mentioned that his church in his hometown had burnt down and the priest asked him to make a mosaic after the rebuild. It all rose from the ashes, as they say…

He was such a lovely man, incredibly fit – he said he works out 3 times a week. That’s 3 more times than me 🙂 and so modest about his work. He was really very humble.

Please understand my photos do not do any of this work justice – you just cannot imagine the magnitude and scale of what these mosaics are like! I also couldn’t choose which photos to put in, so most of them are here! You might just have to go and visit it…

Looking down - Ohmalawd!

Scaffolding

Jesus

Mosaic Map

Rubbish...

reverse indirect puzzle pieces

Jesus

The Book

Installing

The Last Supper

In the entrance

Stair risers

Bob Andrews
And here he is 🙂

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Building, California, Church, Dome, Flickr, Inspiration, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Murals, Portraiture, Public Art, Religious Icon, Robert Andrews, Roof, Round the World, San Francisco, Smalti, Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Mosaic in Film: Spiderman 3

Time for a new series I think… I’ve been wanting to start this for a while actually as it’s merging two of my passions, that is mosaic (if you havn’t already guessed) and films. The two are a complete escape from the real world for me and I’ve always loved the movies!!!

Unfortunately I don’t get out to see one as often as I used to, though that is starting to change a little. I’m not as picky about the films I’ll watch either 😉 Spiderman 3 I watched on the big screen whenever it was out – long time ago now. (Yes, folks I really paid to go see this movie in the theatre!!!). Well for a bit of a fluff movie (aka a no brainer) I enjoyed it. But what I noticed was the mosaic (the highlight for me, lol!). In the scene when Emo-Spiderman is seeing the light about his emo-ways and starts to rip off the black, Eddie is downstairs praying to God to kill Peter (that’s really the story!). I noticed the tile work in the church and thought to myself “hmm, interesting”. Then the bell is hollering and the black comes off Spidey only to land on Eddie down below… who is standing on top of a large mosaic installation 🙂

I have no idea who designed this set… but it was a nice detail.

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Building, Design Concepts, Floor, Misc. Design Concepts, Mosaic, Mosaic in Film, Pavement, Religious Icon, Uncategorized