Category Archives: Flowers

End of year classes, WIPs and an exhibition worth seeing

Just a quick one to mention that there are only 3 classes left this year!!

First up will be a week long intensive on fabricating large mosaic installations preferably permanently, but I will also go over how to go large with the possibility of later moving the mosaic.  It’s going to be awesome!!! I cover everything from design enlargement to fabrication to installation and grouting. November 15 – 22 in my Canberra home-studio. Details in image below.

Mural class Ad

Marian Shapiro is then going to join us from teh Blue Mountains for two, one-day workshops on December 6 & 7. If you register for both classes there is a discount! Workshop 1 is “Understanding Andamento” where Marian will go over the visual grammar of mosaics. Workshop 2 is one that she’s already taught a few years back with much success: “Bend, Fold & Undulate” where participants will learn to create their own 3D substrates that well… bend, fold and undulate!

More information on my website.

If you are looking for some inspiration of what you can create in the Bend, Fold & Undulate class I recommend you go see the group show in Bungendore by artists Caitlin Hughes, Kate Butler & Kelly Wild. It runs at the X Gallery until December 1. Well worth the visit if you are in the area.

Fracturedscapes

I’m working on a couple mosaics at the moment – a mural in memory of my father and an awesome 3D piece that I can’t wait to finish creating the substrate for.

Poppy's wall

Hope you’re all enjoying this beautiful Spring!

 

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Classes, Events, Exhibitions, Flowers, Inspiration, Kim Grant, Mosaic, Murals, My Home, My projects, Nature, Round the World, Works in Progress

1st International Urban Mosaic Intervention – Puente Alto Chile

I just arrived back to Australia from attending the first International Urban Mosaic Intervention in Puente Alto, Chile. The intervention was organised by the amazing Isidora Paz Lopez, a Chilean artist responsible for the 4 km of mosaics along Puente Alto’s metro line. That was her second mosaic project.

Back in August last year, Carrie Reichardt came to the MAANZ symposium as keynote speaker and mentioned the project. At the time, I thought there was no way I would be able to go. Life’s responsibilities would get in the way. In any case, due to my father’s passing I didn’t even see the Call to Artists so missed out on the opportunity anyway. At least so I thought.

My good friend, Susan Crocenzi, got in touch with me as one of the artists who made the cut asking if I’d like to come along as an assistant/volunteer. I jumped at the opportunity thinking that at the very least it would be amazing to experience and watch the process – possibly even documenting it all. As it became obvious that some of the original lineup were no longer going to be able to go to Chile, I was told by Carrie and Susan to apply… and so I did. I still made plans to come along though my anthem at that time was the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” until finally I just bit the bullet and bought my flight over. Within a few days of me doing that, I received an email from Isidora inviting me to be part of the project on an official basis.

It all seemed too good to be true. I had found some good friends who I trusted to look after my animals and house. My kids spent the month with my  Mum down at the coast. Even my chickens went to stay on a beautiful farm. It was too easy – this never happens and so my decision was made to GO!

In a way it happening so quickly, leaving me no time to really prepare, was a blessing in disguise. I made the decision before I left not to think about a design – in fact I had little time to and the time I did was the few days before I left which I spent down the coast. I treated it as a holiday as I knew this trip was not going to be one, as fun as it was. I also made the decision to use only what was provided to me and not bring any materials along, create pieces on mesh etc. Seriously, who had time for that? and I just want to live in the moment! were the two things going through my mind. The first three days of the project were spent with me arguing with myself about these two statements. LOL. It wasn’t pretty 😉 I did however purchase a brand spankin’ new pair of Starretts – probably the best purchase I made as they definitely helped my hands not get as wrecked as some of the artists. I walked away with callouses only and no blisters. I feel blessed! I also packed some knee pads. I thought I was being a total dork when I did it, but was 100% validated when bumping into Gary Drostle in Valparaiso before the project had started and him mentioning that he too brought knee pads, ha!

I arrived in Chile early January. Met with Susan in the customs line of the airport as our planes arrived and funnily enough left at similar times. We headed straight to Valparaiso on the coastline of Chile. It’s a fairly small city bursting at the seams with amazing street art. Loved it there and it reminded me a little of parts of San Francisco where I lived for a few years. I gave my Spanish a good crack on this trip and must say considering it’s been over 20 years since I really used it, I left Chile being able to understand near everything that was being said or at the very least getting the gist of the conversation. There weren’t many Chileans who knew English, so there was really no opportunity not to use what I did have. In fact I was trilingual on this trip as there were a number of French artists who were a part of the project. Knowing more than one language is so important! I’m thinking that I will go and join a Spanish conversation class or group just to keep it up. What with all the spare time I have!

It was my first time in South America. Having always travelled alone, I never wanted to do South America or Africa on my own so never went to either. I have to say Chile is a great country to travel around. Easy to just get on a bus and go anywhere. If I had more time I would have liked to have gone north to the desert to see the night sky and south to perhaps Chiloé and further south into Patagonia. Alas, time was not so kind to me and I had to come back to be responsible – work and raise my kids! Not that I mind. Next time I will bring them with me. Travel affords a certain perspective on Life and my kids are now at a good age to travel. Though they have done a pretty good amount of travel already. Nevertheless, I came back from this trip thinking of all the adventures I’m going to go on with the kids this year. It is after all the Chinese New Year of the Horse (Happy New Year!) and I intend on getting back in the saddle (see what I did there?!). I fell in love with the prawns in Chile. They know just how to cook them and my fave dish was a prawn and garlic dish. Heavenly! Papas Fritas made it to my table on several occasions, of course because anyone who doesn’t like hot chips is weird. Port workers were on strike for pretty much the entirety of our stay which meant that all the agricultural products stayed in Chile. Their fresh produce was amazing! Massive, seriously I bought an onion almost the size of my head!! The avocado was sweet, luscious and oh man… nothing like I’ve ever tasted!  And everything tasted better with watermelon or rockmelon for dessert.

The first day of the project arrived. Susan and I had already nestled into our lovely 2 bedroom apartment in the heart of Santiago. We were up early, navigated the metro during rush hour and we deserve a medal for being the well oiled machine we came to be!!! Seriously, if ever you had issues with personal space, the Santiago metro system just beats it out of you. We finally made it to the Municipal Building of Puente Alto after a few wrong metro station turns, which we would call work for the next 12 days and were greeted by the masses of artists (all 58 + any hangers on) from 22 countries as well as Team Chile (talking of well oiled machines!!). The official opening was officiated and we then set about deciding on where we were going to be creating each of our mosaics. Chaos ensued and for the most part, it was agreed that our numbers on the final list of artists would be where we would be situated along the wall. There was a fair bit of chopping and changing as a number of artists had come as a group and so therefore wanted their panels all next to each other. I think for the most part everyone successfully located themselves a section they were happy with and the drawing begun.

Isidora and her team had already spent the weekend sketching out images on the pre-prepared walls along the theme of “Magic Garden” with images of local flora and fauna. I’ll be honest and say for me, I found this really off putting. I guess because I was expecting a blank canvas and I still didn’t have anything in mind for a design. Just a few ideas milling around my head. It also hadn’t been made clear that these images were to be used as a guide only so I felt like I had to use the image of the daytura on my section somehow. While everyone was busy sketching out their final designs, I was still struggling with the daytura and left day 1 not feeling great with my lack of design as I hadn’t done anything that felt real to me. Later that evening, in the cool of our apartment it took me all of 5 minutes to sketch out what I wanted to do. Struggle #1: working amongst a lot of people, outside in the heat and chaos that is a group project was really difficult for me! I couldn’t concentrate. Turns out most of us were going through similar emotions and doubts of our abilities. Most of us are lone rangers, working in the comfort of our studios alone. It was interesting hearing that I wasn’t the only one who at first had a hard time with being comfortable in this new environment. By the end of it we were all fine but this was an interesting obstacle some of us had to get over. I should also mention that the way I work involves a lot of procrastination. That said, that procrastination is me thinking a lot. Arguably too much. But I spend a lot of time on design concepts etc. drawing and redrawing. Once I’m happy with my design I can then come out into the world and start to play a lot more confidently. I simply didn’t have the time for this to-ing and fro-ing so I’m particularly happy with the fact that I managed to get something on the wall, didn’t use one of the Chilean artists to do the sketching for me and that my design echoes me and my own sentiments. It’s definitely my style.

Day 2. I had come at least with an idea in mind! Win! I then went back and forth about this daytura… again. I put my head up long enough to see what others had done so far and spotted a gnome. It was at this point that I decided to completely eliminate my struggle with this daytura and go with my own design as so many other artists had already done. I realised that other artists were considering Magic quite heavily in the theme of Magic Garden too. The whole concept of realism freaked me out as I don’t do realism. It isn’t my thing, I have no interest in it though can still appreciate it. It was also apparent that all the other work was very colourful, showy and attention grabbing, As soon as I freed myself from using another person’s drawing, everything fell into place and I also made the decision that I would create a piece that was still, calming and more subdued in contrast to what everyone else was doing. I sketched the outline up on my section and started cutting and laying tile. Phew. I felt like I was getting somewhere. I also had a better look at the tile that was available to us. There was a shipping container full of ceramic tile across the road in a carpark. This is where we would have to go to get our tile and where we all packed our things at the end of the day. Team Chile did bring our buckets to us of a morning and of an afternoon packed away anything we weren’t using but ultimately we were responsible for getting anything we needed and putting it all back at the end of the day. At first glance there appeared to be a lot of different colours. Thinking about it now, we actually were quite limited in our palette. All the colours were well represented but I don’t know that there was a large variety of each hue. We also ran out of certain tiles fairly quickly and these were not replaced so the challenge was getting what you needed ahead of time. It resulted in some resource guarding issues! I went back and forth on colour choices and for the most part was lucky enough to be able to find what I wanted/needed. I did have to go scavenging in the last few days for a particular green and managed to find just enough. Tile was an assortment of 6-8mm ceramic varying from mid to high fire tile. I seemed to use a lot of the hire fire tile which is where my Starretts came in very handy!! I actually dislike using low fire tile I must say and don’t stock it in my studio for many reasons. Some of the tile I would never think of using if I ever saw it in a tile shop. It was a real eye opener as that same tile ended up looking great within the mosaics. I’ll certainly be selecting tiles with a different approach I think! I beleive it was Day 2 that the Mayor put on a luncheon for all the artists at a nearby park. We were given a lovely Chilean dish called Pastel de Choclo, some good Chilean wine (I’m a fan of the red!) and fruit to finish it all off.

Day 3 & 4, I was still setting tile but it didn’t look like I was getting anywhere. I did start to feel a little concerned that I wouldn’t finish in time. There was no consistent information coming through about whether it was expected that we complete our mosaic. Some said we didn’t have to do the background, others said we did. What we knew for certain was that Team Chile would be grouting. I had set myself a few goals in doing this mosaic: one was that I wasn’t going to use the local artists to draw for me, the other was that I really wanted to complete the mosaic, background and all so I had to keep my design along the KISS principle. I was still in two minds about grouting – I never call a mosaic complete until after it is grouted so I was struggling with the idea that we were not going to be able to grout our own mosaic and I really wanted to see my finished work grouted as the grout can make it look so different. That said the upside was that we were not going to have to grout our own mosaic. In the words of the effervescent Susan Crocenzi: “It’s hard being me!!”. It was finally on the fourth day that I also gave up on wishing/arguing with myself that I had not brought over particular materials. I don’t think I have ever not used mirror in one of my murals. It’s just a given for me. I would have loved to have used mirror, especially coloured mirror in my mosaic. I did almost go buy some plain mirror and then decided no, I was being silly and really didn’t have the time nor the tools. Things would be OK… My neighbour Wendy Phillips and Kim Porelli gifted me with some small glass gems that I did end up using and am very grateful for!

Day 5 – I started setting tile on the big mushroom cup. I spent all day and got about a third of it done. As much as I wanted to keep things simple, I didn’t want it to be totally boring either so I decided to go for a really flowy mushroom. I’m really glad I did.

Day 6, being a Saturday was only an optional half day work day. Susan and I did a bit of sightseeing before heading down for some further work. It was a lovely day as there were only a few of us on site and therefore less chaotic! I managed to get more than I expected done on the mushroom cup. We were then invited to a play that evening as one of the scheduled events. I decided to pass. Exhaustion had started to set in. A week of working in the sun and mid 30 degree heat had started to wear thin and I needed to be alone.

Day 7: day of partying at Isidora’s. It was her birthday throughout the week and she invited us all over to her place for festivities and swimming. I swam and slept by the pool most of the day.

Week 2 was an even busier week and we knew it would be. There were events lined up for every night with artist’s presentations and dare I say it, some that went way too long!!! Please people, keep to time and relevance when giving a presentation! Going over time and under relevance meant that presentations were pushed out to another night, which was then declared that they would occur the following night so I left. As it turned out, people changed their minds AGAIN, the presentations went ahead and I missed seeing Laurel True‘s presentation. I WAS SO BUMMED!!!! And yes I did get over it but I would have much preferred her presentation over some of the ones I did stay for.

The mayor also put on a cocktail night for us in the same park  as the luncheon we had that included traditional Chilean cuisine as a tapas style finger food, wine and dance on the Thursday evening. Everyone was working towards the official opening on the Friday, 7pm. By Wednesday I felt certain that most of us wouldn’t finish and Team Chile would have to step in after we had left. I was wrong. A number of artists worked until the absolute last minute, but Friday was my favourite day. Everyone came together to pitch in and help. It was evident throughout the 12 days that some artists took a dislike to each other – not surprising where big egos are involved! Friday saw everyone pitching in and assisting everyone. I had already grouted my piece as I came in on Thursday absolutely determined to finish setting tile. It meant that I didn’t speak to anyone all day! Literally head down, bum up as we say here! So Friday I was a lot more relaxed and pottered around pitching in where people needed me. I helped Wendy and Kim next door to me, assisted with Susan’s background, cut and filed some leaves and set tile for Sherri Warner-Hunter, set tile for Laurel True and even got to poke in some glass rods into Stephanie Chatelet‘s mosaic. During all this time Team Chile had completely covered the front of the building. They really are a well oiled machine. I havn’t seen a bunch of people work so well together. Always laughing and having a good time, and they work fast!

Well, by Day 12 we did it. It was a whirlwind of an experience, but we did it. There were many hiccups in the running of the event from either the management of or artists having personal belongings stolen, but it will be all the better for the next intervention (rumoured to be happening in Germany!). The only thing I didn’t understand was the blessing of the mosaic given by a priest at the opening. I am always “when in Rome…” when I travel, but that was kinda weird. I saw the priest come up to the podium all dolled up with his Bible so excused myself to drink in the finished artwork. What I later found out from one of the Argentinian artists was that while the priest was blessing the artwork on the Town Hall, he also blessed the people who showed up to the event including us artists. He then went on to damn those who had not come to the opening to Hell. Dang! Even my local Chilean friend thought that was odd as Chile is these days relatively diverse in its religious views and not usually so…. evangelistic.

So now that I’m back home I ponder my time there and ask what I got out of it? Would I do it again?

I can’t actually begin to say what I got out of it. I feel like I grew as an artist. Maybe I’ll feel that impact more as I begin work again because I learned so much from watching such a diverse group of artists work. I’m pretty sure, in fact I know, that I will approach my future projects differently. I learned a new way of seeing a mosaic and setting tile that I will start to use more in my practice. I learned a new method of double direct mosaics. I learned a whole heap more about myself: how shut down I am in certain social situations (let’s be honest, big crowds freak me out. I’m definitely a one-on-one kinda gal and have always known this but that is also the left overs of surviving an abusive relationship – still working on it after all these years!), that I don’t need to procrastinate as much as I do in order to output decent work, that I allowed myself to get easily caught up in Life and forgot to make mosaics more of a priority, that self-doubt is normal with most if not all artists, that I’m not in any rush to make another mosaic direct, in situ even though I never thought I’d miss sitting on a bucket in the heat and sun nipping hard tile!! haha!! Would I do it all over again?! Hell yes I would! Let’s hope Isidora continues to find funding for mosaicing public buildings, lol! I can’t ever see the same thing happening in Australia, as much as I’d love to be part of organising one. What I did realise with the limited travel I did in Chile is that the people there have an appreciation for the arts that is VERY different than the appreciation here. Art appreciation here is sterile. If it’s not in a gallery, or the public art is not funded by the government or some exclusive high end organisation and made of brass or some such, it’s not art. Everywhere I went in Chile, there were murals, mosaics, you name it, it was everywhere. People liked it, expected it, accepted it and fostered street artists in particular with all kinds of festivals. When a new mural goes up, that artist rarely sought permission if ever. Street artists there are well known and appreciated. Their work is not painted over without permission. How awesome is that?! We have some awesome street artists here in Canberra and the popular views of their work is not the same! This is something I’d like to see changed as the benefits of having art in our streets seemed to me to be bigger and better than not having it. Maybe the biggest revolution we can stage as artists is to head out to our local places and colour them in. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and have always thought, what’s the point? It’ll only get buffed tomorrow. But maybe that is the point. Maybe the point is to colour in our world only for it to be taken away for people to realise that they are in fact missing that magical something. Like what happened in Turkey!

I really think that the magnanimity of this project is yet to be realised.

I’ve posted pictures of the entire project on my Facebook Page in an album called Chile Intervention 2014. It will save me a lot of time not having to upload them here, which means more time getting back to actually creating mosaics!! 🙂 I still have to finish my mural that has been a WIP for far too long. Not much more to do so I’m getting offline and creating! Next in line after that is a mosaic dedicated to my Dad which has a deadline – my Dad’s birthday! So… time to get busy!

Here is the day by day of my mosaic from the project as well as the final image, larger.

My Family of Magic Mushrooms © Kim Grant 2014

My Family of Magic Mushrooms © Kim Grant 2014

My Family of Magic Mushrooms © Kim Grant 2014

My Family of Magic Mushrooms © Kim Grant 2014

xx

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Filed under Animals, Architectural Installations, Art, Birds, Building, Chile, Community Projects, Design Concepts, Events, Flowers, Inspiration, Meeeting of the Minds, Mosaic, Murals, Nature, Ornamental, Public Art, Round the World, South America, Subway, Town Hall, Travel, Urban

Midnight Garden – a community mosaic project with children

As I’ve mentioned previously I was contacted a little while ago by a public primary school here in Canberra to  lead a mosaic project with their students. What came out of the brief discussions we had was to create a feature mural and some extra mosaics that will float around the courtyard. The theme of which is a macro garden.

I went away and created a design that fit to the brief, but that was also going to be simple enough for a whole school to participate in. In my opinion, too much detail can be overwhelming. I also like stylised designs, as I suppose one can tell from my work. I suggested some colour themes and created colour packs for them to refer to, but emphasised that these were suggestions only. I think ownership comes from choice in process and it was important to me not to take that away. I worked in small groups with kids once a week and the teacher leading the project worked with kids throughout the rest of the week. All the kids cottoned onto the hows and whys pretty easily and then took the information and passed it on to their peers who had not yet participated. As we fabricated, the kids made changes to some of the colour selections. 🙂 The kids have been so great! Most of the panels have been fabricated already. There was always a lot of interesting conversation, a lot of problem solving (not only of the mosaic, but also of social matters in their lives). It was a lot of fun to listen to them all talk. Of course, the part they loved the most was smashing tiles!

It makes my day to hear things like:

“When I grow up, I want to be an artist” and  “This is so fun, I wish we could do it all day”, amongst many other uber cool other statements.

Yesterday I started on the installation. One of the teachers walked past while I was working and she said to me “you are such an inspiration to these kids.” I wasn’t too sure what she meant by this and after chatting with her she remarked on me being a woman doing what I am doing and how it is inspiring for kids, both male and female, to see me creating large scale mosaics: teaching, fabricating, installing etc… I never thought of it like this. Ever! Wow. It was a pretty empowering moment and one that makes me feel like I am on the right path for me. I am exactly where I should be.

Anyway, a year 6 teacher was keen for her kids to be involved. They’ll be assisting me in the rest of the installation as well as grouting the project which will basically happen next week and the week after which puts us in line to completion for the end of term.

I also had a number of students discuss with me the name of the mural. They came up with Midnight Flowers, which I thought was way cool. We settled on Midnight Garden, after some discussion, to include the whole scope of the project.

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Big THANKYOUS to all those involved: students, parents of the community and teachers, in particular Hazel who is leading the project from the school perspective and the Principal, Lindsay whose understanding of the value of art for children is invaluable.

I’ll post final pics when we get there 🙂

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Asian, Australia, Canberra, Community Projects, Female, Flowers, Garden Mosaics, Kids, Kids' Projects, Kim Grant, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Nature, Ornamental, Public Art, Retro, Round the World, Schools, Uncategorized, Works in Progress

Rosella, Mural WIP Pics & Community Project News

My 9 yo son managed to get his first 3D mosaic completed the other day. It was his first time using glass too. He ended up burning out with the background (all that was really left to do), so I had to help him get that part done, but everything else he did on his own, right down to the cutting of glass. I love that he loves it and doesn’t just do it to please me… He has named the chook Rosella and she sits out by Liberace 🙂

I’ve moved along quite nicely with my Secret Hideout mural. I have three panels left to go. Scored some interesting tile off a tiler in Belco Mall today, who rummaged through his rubbish bin for me. I’ll probably try and use it for the shell section of the snail if I can make it work. I got to use the gran tronconi millefiori that has been sitting in my studio since the SAMA 2009 conference… Almost forgot I had it! I’ve been loving working on this. It’s so nice to work large – I L-O-V-E, love it! Can’t wait to get his one up and start on the next mural for the house. Swimming in ideas. I’m online less (good news), generally more satisfied with life and energised to get on with things. YAY! I love my job.

In other news, the project at a primary school here in Canberra is going ahead. We’ve pretty much started. My design was accepted and now it’s up to me to enlarge, code and chop it into enough pieces so that each class can have a good go. I’ve got tile pack samples to bring in. The kids range in age from pre-school to year 6 and I believe there are about 450 students in total. They will be making their own tiles and firing them in the school’s kiln (yes they have a kiln!!) and these will be used in the border of the mural. Sneak peek of the first draft design:

We’ll be going with a dark blue background on this one as this is the main colour of the school. The flower pods themselves will be bright and colourful with plenty of mirror (of course) and I’ll be using some of the green paua shell tile too. So exciting!! Originally the school was aiming for an end of term unveiling (6 weeks away), but this is now flexible, which is actually good for everyone involved: me, kids and teachers!! Overall dimensions of the mural is 2.1m H x 4m W. So, on my to do list this week is enlarge, code and chop. One of the hardest aspects of mural making. The planning is tedious but necessary or the whole thing doesn’t come together in the end, quite literally! I need to find a good space that is large enough for me to enlarge and template out the design of these sorts of installations. It’s a nightmare doing it in my home as I don’t have the wall space, but by the same token I don’t want to rent space out. Argh! That backyard studio is sounding more appealing every minute of every day, hehehe.

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Filed under Animals, Art, Australia, Birds, Community Projects, Flowers, Garden Mosaics, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Nature, Public Art, Uncategorized, Works in Progress

Crystal Thomas Mosaics’ e-Tutorials

I mentioned in an earlier post that Crystal Thomas allowed me the use of two exercises from one of her e-Tutes for the class I taught in Grafton. I’ll make note that I did specifically ask her for this along with a payment to do so (ie: I didn’t just use them) and I thought it was worth writing a blog specifically on these e-Tutes as I found them so very helpful.

Crystal currently has three tutorials:

  1. A Mosaic Flower Tutorial (Check out her flowers, they are done in a layered style and are just beautiful – I own one!!) US$14!!!
  2. An Andamento and Keystoning workshop (SUPER cool and excellently (is that a word?) explained with a ton of exercises, including the “answers” to those exercises – you simply cannot do without this one!! It will change the way you work for the better!) US$18!!!
  3. Mosaic Skulls 101 (Cyrstal’s mosaic skulls are one of a kind) – US$12.50!!!

You are also able to purchase the Andamento and Keystoning workshop with Crystal’s Top Five Tips. I think it’s great to get tips from different artists. It’s always interesting to know how certain people like to work. Crystal is not currently offering any teaching, either as a group or individually, but does plan to do so again in the future so stay tuned. In the meantime spend next to nothing (seriously all these tutorials are worth more than this!!) and purchase all three tutorials.

detail of 3 Poppies, © Crystal Thomas 2010

“Luis” – Talavera skull, © Crystal Thomas 2009

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Filed under Art, Artists, Classes, Crystal Thomas, Flowers, Inspiration, Mosaic, Nature, Ornamental, Technique, Uncategorized, Workshops

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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Artist Watch: Linda Hooper

On to the next artist!! Meet Linda Hooper aka lyndalu_fla. I came across her lovely, lovely pots one day. They’re big and impressive! Then I noticed her mushrooms. Well… I have a bit of a thing for mushrooms so this was right up my alley and the tingles began! Here is her story…

Linda has been mosaicing for 4 years and believes that the wonderfully colourful mosaics in Mexico is what originally inspired her to start. Like most of us, she has always had her hand in something creative: sewing, crochet, cross stitch, decoupage, beaded jewellery, to name but a few. “Watching all the craft, gardening and home improvement shows on HGTV gave me the interest and the courage to try all types of things. I was inspired to take a Woodworking class and fell in love with working with wood – making all kinds of small decorative items, mainly with a scroll saw. I thought that was going to be my big passion, but then I got into mosaics, and discovered that THIS was definitely my big passion.”

Linda promptly read every mosaic book she could get her hands on at her local library, and then bought those she felt were valuable reference material. She realised that pique assiette was her “thang” and that it also gave her the excuse to peruse the thrift stores that much more. “I love the hunt and I love finding bargains. It’s really insane how much “stuff” I have collected for mosaics – both tesserae and substrates. My work area is in the garage, and my poor car no longer fits in there.”

I’m sitting here chuckling to myself while I write this just because I think at some point we all get taken aback by the hook! It’s quite a powerful sensation and the realisation that life has, from this moment on changed can be a little startling, as Linda mentions: “I still can’t believe how quickly mosaics became an obsession. I saw every object as something to mosaic, and even dreamed about mosaics! The first couple of years, I worked strictly with broken china, and then I started working with some vitreous tiles, and more recently have been working with stained glass and tempered glass.”

Her love is garden art and so everything she has created has been done for the garden. She has also been working with concrete, making or modifying bases for mosaic. Lucky Linda attended the SAMA conference earlier this year and took Sherri Warner Hunter‘s class – making lightweight mosaic bases out of polystyrene.

The sharing, camaraderie, support and inspiration she has received from Flickr pals and those from the Mosaic and Stained Glass Forum are an enjoyment to her and spur her on to keep creating! “What an amazing and talented group of people! I was so happy to discover that I was not alone in my obsession – and that I wasn’t crazy after all – or at least if I am, I’m in good company!!!!”. lol!!! 😉

Linda resides in Cape Coral, FL USA where she has lived for the last 8 years.

And finally meet the artist!

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Filed under Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Birdbath, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Flowers, Garden Mosaics, Linda Hooper, Mosaic, Nature, Ornamental, Uncategorized