Category Archives: Sculpture

Be Careful What You Wish For… and upcoming events

I take my dog (and kidlets) for a walk every day. OK so she actually takes us for a walk –  I know the Gentle Leader collar will show up some time soon. I’m pretty sure my dog has hidden it. For the most part we will take the same route. We walk past the back of one house whose garden I’ve always admired – lots of trees, no lawn, just paths and knick-knacks popping up here and there. A suburban version of a Secret Garden and I love a good Secret Garden! I spied a garden ornament a while back. It’s an owl. I have always looked for owls (and elephants) and they’re not ones I come across too often. So we admire the secret garden, we admire the owl and walk on. About a week ago the owl disappeared.

This past weekend, the owner was out gardening, as you do, and instead of just walking by minding my own business I stopped and told him how we admire the owl & admire the garden on our daily walks. I asked after the owl and if he remembered where he got it from. Alas no, but he still had the owl!

The conversation went something along the lines of: –

“It fell and there were too many spiders in there so it’s just sitting where it fell.”
“Oh…”. I’m sure at this point I grew 5 inches as my curiosity piqued. “Are you going to throw it away?!” {{insert Innocent Smile here}}.
“Well I was going to try and fix it, but you can have it if you want”.

Not wanting to sound too desperate I let a microsecond go by…

Now I know that it’s all bad to mosaic something structurally unsound and I would never teach what I will do (mosaic it), but you gotta love Bondcrete! I took her home, put her back together again and really! As good as new… well almost!

Thank you Mosaic Godesses for hearing my wishes 🙂 I owe youse a big fat one.

I’ll also be heading up to Sydney on Friday to attend Marian Shapiro‘s solo exhibition, ‘Fabrication’ in Balmain. If you are in the area it shows at breathing colours until the 21st of March with a meet-the-artist on Saturday March 20 from 2-4pm. I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to seeing Marian again, all her beautiful work, the glass adventure trip to Finns and IKEA and generally getting the heck out of Canberra for a little while 😉

On another note, if you have nothing better to do this coming Sunday I suggest coming out to the Government House Open Day, run by the Smith Family. Details below. I’ll be setting up a stall again this year and looking forward to another day under the gorgeous, shady trees…



Filed under Animals, Art, Australia, Birds, Canberra, Events, Exhibitions, Fundraiser, Mosaic, Nature, Round the World, Sculpture, Sydney, Uncategorized

Mosaic in Film: Vicky Christina Barcelona

I have to say I’m not a big Woody Allen fan, but I quite enjoyed this film – an interesting look at love I suppose, without all the happily-ever-after necessarily. Set in Barcelona, so of course Parc Guell and some of the gorgeous mosaics are featured… Will get there some day soon again. Am plotting my mosaic-world trip 🙂 Anyway, good movie but easy a DVD one.

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Barcelona, Mosaic, Mosaic in Film, Park, Public Art, Round the World, Sculpture, Spain, Travel, Uncategorized

Artist Watch: Gila Rayberg

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post – Gila is such an interesting and amazing person and I just got goosebumps when I read over the info she sent me about herself. And then of course there are her mosaics!
As the youngest of 6 kids, most of whom are artists and/or musicians, Gila was exposed to art and music at an early age. She counts her sister, renowned mosaic artist in her own right Elizabeth Raybee, as being one of her earliest influences. “By the time I was cognizant”, says Gila, “there was already plenty of music & art around. I remember my bedroom as a little girl, painted (by Elizabeth & perhaps some of her friends) chartreuse & covered with jungle animals and trees. On another wall was this bony woman with long skinny arms & poky fingers. Even though she looked kind of scary, I always thought she was way cool.”

The summer prior to her graduating from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, she spent that time with Elizabeth in San Francisco. She was taking a couple of art and geology electives at SF State to complete some requirements before graduating in ’89 (BA in Music). It was at this time that Elizabeth was just beginning in her mosaic adventures and it was in her studio that Gila got her start in mosaics; grouting Elizabeths’s first mosaic no less! Gila’s first actual mosaic was a table that she made in 1990.

After earning her Masters Degree (MM, Trombone Performance) Gila spent a year traveling around the world solo, followed by several years of teaching & more travel throughout SE Asia. One of the most memorable & life altering adventures of her life was spending time on the remote Indonesian Island of Siberut with the Mentawai people. Her time there is often a source of inspiration, both figuratively & in the abstract. Here’s a picture of her host & medicine man, Tarason, the inspiration for one of her first attempts at mosaic portraiture.

One of the more interesting positions Gila found herself in was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she was helping to organize a National Marching Band. Here she is directing the trombone choir during one of their music camp concerts. (1992)

After that experience, Gila joined the Faculty of Music at the University of Malaysia, Sarawak (Kuching, Borneo) where she taught instrumental (winds & brass) music & directed the orchestra. Throughout all her travels & adventures, she had an image in her mind of one day owning a place of her own where she could mosaic everything in sight. It was a very strong feeling & persistent.

In 1999 Gila returned to the USA & settled in New Orleans, where not long after, she met her partner Mark. It was for his birthday that she decided to make him a mosaic table. Gila had no tools, no materials & hadn’t made a mosaic in at least 6 years. “It wasn’t easy getting everything together without him knowing! When I gave it to him, he was speechless!! Believe me, that’s a rarity!”, she states.

That table really started her on her current path. Mark is way beyond supportive of her mosaic mania. Plus, he REALLY loves her work. There is rarely a piece that he wants her to sell. He prefers, & Gila concurs, it would be great to win the lottery so they could have a spacious gallery for her mosaics and the artwork they’ve collected over the years. Don’t we all?! I love how supportive her partner is. It’s a base that I certainly need in order for my creativity to really flourish, so I really admire them for this.

Gila goes on to say, “I feel as though through mosaics I’ve finally found my improvisational voice while continuing on of my life’s adventures; exploring materials & continually experimenting keeps me fully engaged with plenty of space for spontaneity.”

Gila teaches workshops between other projects, on an irregular basis. She usually holds 4-6 workshops a year with up to 6 participants. She has always been passionate about teaching & enjoys discovering the similarities between music & mosaic in the process. “I guess, since I love to learn, it makes sense that I love to teach!”

“It’s my aim for each participant to leave equipped to do something similar on their own. Among other things, we discuss tools, materials, design & inspiration.” One thing that everyone loves is the wide range of materials in her studio, from which they can choose to create their mosaic.

If you are interested in the classes, email Gila and you should check out her website as well as her Flickr account. Her portfolio is so huge that I can’t possibly really show it off here to its fullest potential… But here are some of my faves:

details of her kitchen window… it’s just stunning!!!

Finally, meet Gila 🙂


Filed under Abstract, Architectural Installations, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Gila Rayberg, Glass on Glass, Indigenous, Mosaic, Portraiture, Sculpture, Uncategorized

Breathing Life into Inanimate Objects

I must say I love doing it!

My studio has been a bustling place to be these last couple of days. I taught a friend how to make a mosaic (she is, for the record, totally besotted and has already scoped out her studio in her garage!!! Yay) and then a little 4 year old came over (one of my daughter’s womb buddies) and made a stepping stone. She rocked that mosaic!!! We were done in an hour and she was asking me what we could do next 😉 My kinda gal!

I finished, 100%, my commission-du-jour, Sir Elton. He’s not only grouted, but signed, sealed and on his way to be delivered. It’s rather exciting and then not so… The departure is all too sudden. I know, daft really. After all they are just inanimate objects. Why should I get so attached?! I never feel like I do until I have to say goodbye. So Sir Elton is packed in a box, surrounded by a some kind of foam, that was liquid so it could dry into his shape and mould him all the way to Seoul, Korea. He’s the one on the right 😉

Chicky Babes

Sir Elton

Called on the paparazzi for these pictures (by my sister Lee Grant). After all who knows when we’ll get Liberace and Sir Elton together again?! 😉 I have plans for perhaps extending the series even further 🙂 Why not?! I might as well now and from this day forth be known as “The Chicken Lady”. {teehee…} I’m very pleased how he turned out. Let’s all hope that he makes it over in one piece…

Next on my hit list is the next commission – a big fish, another 3D sculpture. I’m excited about this one. Stuck a few tiles on him today and he’s come alive already. It’s exciting to watch. His tail is broken so I’m going to have to make and attach a new section on. I’m thinking mesh + thinset + *maybe* (if it’s necessary) some polystyrene… A bit of Darjit would be useful! Still need to follow up on that workshop. It’d be fun to do. There was talk about a workshop being held down my way… I have considered organising a one here, maybe even at the Art School at Uni. I think there’d be plenty of people interested. Just another thing to do really and fairly low on my list of priorities, I might add. Almost did one while I was over in San Francisco, as there was a course right after the mural workshop I participated in at IMA. Oh if I didn’t have a life and all I had to do was travel, make mosaics and meet lotsa cool, talented artists! 🙂 Hmmm… actually now that I see it in writing, it’s what I do, just part time! That makes me feel better, I think… I think I just implied to myself that I have no life. Hmmm, time to get some sleep I think. 😉

So on that note: Voila! Here is one of my WIPs (I’m actually working on 4 different projects right now, that’s a little psychotic is it not?!). I think he’s going to be loads of fun!


Next in line...


Filed under Animals, Art, Artists, Australia, Birds, California, Canberra, Chickens, Female, Finished pieces, Flickr, Garden Mosaics, Institute of Mosaic Art, Kim Grant, Lifestyle, Mosaic, My projects, Nature, Oakland, Ornamental, Round the World, San Francisco, Schools, Sculpture, Seoul, South Korea, Studio, Travel, Uncategorized, USA, Works in Progress, Workshops

Mosaic Pointes

Thought I’d post the finished ballet shoe… It’s now on display at South Bay Dance Center in San Jose, CA.

Materials were stained glass, vitreous glass, mirror, millefiori, Van Gogh glass, diamante thread, faux rhinestones and a Swarovski crystal. The base was a pre-loved ballet shoe.

I named it Kit, for the owner. Hope it’s happy there. I’m sure it is!

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Filed under Art, Artists, Ballet Pointes, Design Concepts, Finished pieces, Kim Grant, Misc. Design Concepts, Mosaic, My projects, Ornamental, Round the World, Schools, Sculpture, Shoes, Uncategorized

Artist Watch: Wendy Tanner

Meet Wendy Tanner (flickr ID the same). I was attracted to Wendy immediately for three reasons: she has cool mosaics, she’s Australian and she travels… alot! Her travels have taken her to parts of the World that I long to see… Afghanistan being one that comes to mind. What I also love is that she photographs mosaic everywhere she goes. Kinda like me I s’pose… She also just has the passion and feels the need to record it all. For someone like myself, it’s very exciting!!! You must go check out her photos. Incredibly interesting…

Wendy’s creative career began with stained glass, but the dilemma of all those off-cuts of glass led her into mosaics. (Like all good mosaicists …. she never throws ANYTHING away!!) Her first mosaic course was with Christine Stewart, an acclaimed artist who lives locally in Wendy’s area of Northern NSW, Australia. A phenomenally beautiful part of the country I might add…

Overseas travel opened her eyes to mosaics using so many other kinds of materials. She saw the magnificent mosaics on St Marks Basilica in Venice and was also lucky enough to stumble upon the Orsoni Factory. She was thoroughly enchanted by Gaudi’s mosaics in Barcelona and the pebble mosaics in the Alhambra in Granada.

In November 2004, Wendy attended the International Association of Contemporary Mosaics biennial conference in Melbourne …and was inspired by so many wonderful mosaic artists from all over the world. Since then she has attended several other workshops with Australian glass and mosaic artists.

Wendy works with many different materials – and especially likes to use recycled or found objects. Her preference lies in making functional objects like tables and mirrors, but she is also exploring decorative and artistic mosaics, and 3D sculptural forms.

Wendy has taught several mosaic classes through the local Adult Education Centre, and has also taught several workshops with school children and teachers at three local schools. They created large scale murals, which brighten up the school grounds considerably. She loves the fact that anyone can make mosaics – no matter their age or ability.

Wendy reveals “My workshop is a total disaster. Since doing a course making a 3D mosaic mirror with Sandy Robertson of Brisbane, I can’t stop collecting crockery etc… My latest experiments are using broken Polish blown glass, which my neighbours import. (They import it whole, of course, but there are breakages along the way…oh…what a pity!!). I am firing little pieces in my newly acquired second hand kiln – and love it!! I love the internet too – the way so many mosaic artists share their art and knowledge through blogs and groups, and flickr. If I wanted to, I could spend all my time on my computer and never get any time to do my mosaics!!”

You can find Wendy’s online space here and more of her mosaics on her Flickr site. Her work has, more recently, been selected for the new mosaic magazine, Mosaic Art Now and is currently on exhibition at the Nexus Gallery.

Here are some pics of the artiste in question ( couldn’t choose just one cos I LOVE all of them!!!). Look at that school mural and all of her travels!!!

Wendy in Barcelona’s Parc Guell, a place that, like Wendy says, is “about as close as a mosaic artist can get to heaven.” No kidding!!!


Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Australia, Building, Community Projects, Design Concepts, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Furnishings, Garden Mosaics, Kids, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, Murals, Nature, Round the World, Schools, Sculpture, Table, Uncategorized, Wendy Tanner

Sex Park on Cheju Island, Korea

Now let this be a warning to those of you who are easily offended by the human anatomy and/or sex! If you are and you have NO sense of humour, stop reading this post, don’t scroll down to look at the pictures and don’t comment about how offended you are. You’ve been warned 😉 I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of hits from people plugging things into their search engine and getting here, lol! Not quite what you’re expecting either?!

On the island off the Korean peninsular known as Cheju Island there is a park whose theme is sex. It is, in my opinion, utterly fascinating that there can be an entire park dedicated to this topic without it devolving completely into pornography. I had friends of a friend (really!) who went and took some great photos, but what caught my eye was the large, yes you got it, mosaiced penis!!! 🙂 Too funny. The park is filled with all kinds of sculpture depicting mostly erect penises of some form or another. It must be said, without having been there myself it is a male-centric take on what sex is and is about. From the pics it seems to me more about the man and leaving it at that… I didn’t see any pics of the female genitals standing high and proud! Perhaps to do with the fact that even now, the female role in Korea is as the subordinate? Or maybe just simply because the park was created by men? One can only surmise… It is however all done in humour…

Mosaic Penis
Is that hilarious or what!?!!!

Picture 8.jpg

Men, all shapes and sizes

more mosaic in there, if you look hard!
Pebble mosaic and then more mosaic in the fountain area…


Totem poles

Hmmm... Mosaic in the back... way back over there!
Dome in the background looks to be mosaiced!

Stairway to...
Stairway to…?



Filed under Art, Cheju Island, Design Concepts, Flickr, Garden Mosaics, Mosaic, Park, Round the World, Sculpture, Sex, South Korea, Travel, Uncategorized