Category Archives: Marian Shapiro

Grabbing Life by the Cojones

2013 y’all! I still feel like I’m in the 90s. Or maybe I’ve finally arrived at “that” time in my life – being stuck in a particular time warp.

Quick catch up! I miss this place. Where once upon a time I blogged every other day or week, it has seriously fallen off  my radar. But, this year is looking to be ah-mazing! After a particularly difficult 2012 where I fell into a bit of a funk and didn’t know how to get out, things bubbled up and I found the courage to make many a change and potential difference in my life and that of my kids’. Even if these changes are not supported, not successful, I’ll know that they have made a positive difference and that’s all that counts. Turns out that taking out the trash is a very cathartic experience, especially when the trash was just someone else’s crap that they dumped in my backyard. We are all in such a good place. Finally!

So what has 2013 got in store for me?! Well good question, but here are some of the things I am super excited about it:

  • I have an intern/assistant for my personal projects!! Still in discussion phase, but looking good! 🙂
  • Teaching online. Yes!
  • Visiting artists! Yes!
  • A new community project with students at Chapman Primary School – Yeah!
  • Nearly coming to an end of the community project with the Queanbeyan council and there has been discussion of possible further projects with them. Yes!
  • Mosaic Symposium in Melbourne August 23 – 25

Last year I asked one of my repeat students if she’d be interested in assisting me in some of my personal projects. I’m hopeful this will work out as she’s truly lovely and I really like the way she works. There will be an introduction soon! I’ve been re-working an old design, getting what was in my head out on paper, based on my sister’s mermaids. Just a couple more elements to add and she should be ready to go – though the enlarging on this one will be interesting… It’s a big’un.

Teaching online? Mmhmm! This has been running through my head for some time now and out of the blue one of my first clients who commissioned me to make Odette, got in touch to ask if I’d be interested. So the rundown is this – AU$75/hr. I use either Skype or Facetime. I will cater the lesson plan to your needs/your project and also generalise the information where appropriate so that you can feel confident that what you are creating will last in the area that you live. I am not one of those teachers who tells you what products to buy and then leaves it at that. I get into the details of what to look for in a product and why so that no matter where you are in the world, no matter what the climate is, you have the know-how to source what you need for the project at hand. I feel this is a much more empowering method of teaching and learning. I also include class notes as a pdf. Interested? Email me!

VISITING ARTISTS! Wow, I have THREE (3) confirmed visiting artists this year!!! I know, I’m so excited. Canberra, we are so lucky. Really!! All three artists have very different styles so I think they complement each other well. In addition, all three have been teaching and creating mosaics for a number of years and are well respected in the mosaic world (and further afar too as a matter of fact!)

Susan Crocenzi will be teaching her popular class “TEMPERED, TRANSPARENT & TEXTURED GLASS AND POLYMER CLAY TILES” August 30, 31 and September 1. Susan hails from Northern California in the USA. If you have ever been to one of my classes you will recognise one of the below pieces, Crossroads, which she made for me back in 2008. It sits on my wall in my living room. Hard to miss really and always admired. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! I don’t know when or if she’ll ever be back! Places are limited. Besides, the reunion of Susan and Crossroads will be a thing to behold!

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Also on my list of Visiting Artists this year is Marian Shapiro! She had such a great time last time she was here that she has agreed to come back!! This time Marian is going to demistify “WORKING WITH SMALTI”. I. Can’t. Wait. Because yes, I’ll admit I am a little skeered of the stuff!! This class will be held November 8 – 10 and students will need to come armed with about 1.5 kgs of smalti to create either an indoor or outdoor wall hanging. Smalti Australia has agreed to a discount for all registered participants! If you happened to take Marian’s class in 2011, Creating 3D Susbtrates for Mosaic, you are welcome to mosaic one of your substrates in this class!! Great opportunity to complete a project! Let’s face it, we all have unfinished projects…

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I’m happy to be able to announce that I’ve just secured a third visiting artist. Timing is of the essence on this one as Carol Shelkin will be in the country from  the East Coast in the USA around the same time as Susan. I know, hard on your wallets people, but seriously these are two AH-mazing artists who won’t be making their way back to Australia any time soon!!! Christmas must come early and you don’t want to miss the partay. They each have their own style, their own teaching methods, their own everything. It’s, simply put, not to be missed. Carol’s class is titled “MAKE YOUR OWN MOSAIC WORKSHOP!” She will teach the use of modern mosaic techniques to understand structure, cross contour, highlights, colour, gradation, value, composition, design and types of shadows in realism using Stained Glass. Students will learn how to mix glass values and colors to define planes, and how to use colour most effectively with artist tricks. If your interest lies in creating realism in mosaics, then there’s no one better to learn from in the contemporary mosaics field today. Carol’s class is slated for August 18 & 19 (a Sunday and a Monday). So… think about putting in for leave now! 🙂

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Check out my website for full details on the Visiting Artists Series and check back for Carol’s workshop – my copy of Dreamweaver has just gone bust so I’m unable to update it immediately!

Community projects? Yep – They’re continuing! 🙂 I’ve just been commissioned by Chapman Primary School to work with staff and students there to create three murals that will be permanently installed out the front of the school. The murals are all in celebration of Canberra’s centenary. Exciting stuff! Themes for the three of them have been decided upon. It’s now a matter of designing, enlarging and coding the murals for a term 2 start (no biggie!!). Deadline is the beginning of term 4 with an unveiling in Week 2 of that term as this is Children’s week. We even have rosters ready to go for all students in all years and when they will work on the mosaics. I love how organised this school is.

We’ve just completed the seventh panel for the Crawford st precinct. Pretty satisfying! The kids and staff at the Axis Youth Centre made their panel, mostly independently of me. They should be really proud of themselves! I think they did a great job. I’ve also just got the Landcare group started with theirs. Their theme is River Life. I’m looking forward to how this will turn out! A few finishing touches on the design for the HOME in Queanbeyan panel and the design will be hopefully OK’d by them! Last but not least is a playgroup of 3-5 year olds! Design yet to be determined, but as the playgroup is for Indigenous children it will  involve Indigenous elements. 🙂 Almost there!

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The Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand (MAANZ) is hosting another Symposium, this time located in Melbourne. I will be there. Keynote speaker is UK craftivist, Carrie Reichardt (not Dusciana Bravura as previously advertised by MAANZ). Carrie is AWESOME!!! It’s going to be pretty bloody amazing! I was lucky enough to grab one of Carrie’s flying eyeball mosaics last year. Proudly hanging out the front of my home waiting to be included into a larger mosaic.

Grab life by the cojones! That’s the theme for my year! Life is too short.



Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Carrie Reichardt, Community Projects, Events, Kids' Projects, Kim Grant, Marian Shapiro, Melbourne, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Public Art, Round the World, Susan Crocenzi, Symposium, Workshops

New Mosaic Classes, Canberra ACT

I’m excited to say that earlier this year I released some new mosaic workshops that will take place here in Canberra. One of which will be my first Visiting Artist, Marian Shapiro. Marian will be heading down from Sydney on November 19 to teach a one-day workshop on creating 3D substrates for mosaic.

The focus of this one day course looks at creating three types of small 3D substrates for mosaic. Students will create:

  • a wall-hanging mask or torso using the technique of sand casting and
  • an undulating or folded wall hanging substrate,
  • one small free standing form using polystyrene

All substrates are suitable for exterior use.

  • Health and safety issues are discussed and a slideshow of inspiration pieces will accompany the lecture portion of the workshop.
  • No experience necessary and beginners welcome.
  • Full course notes and resource lists are provided.

Super exciting to be able to have that level of control over your own substrate, but also to have that creative freedom! Marian is an award winning artist, well known in the mosaic world and we’re lucky to have her on these fine shores. Places are limited and registrations are made online via Eventzilla or through my website (which will redirect you to the Eventzilla page). Email me if you have any questions!

Floradora © Marian Shapiro

Another class I’m happy to be offering is a class that spans over six weeks on a Monday morning. I’ve called it Mosaic 301: Journey into Mosaics as this is exactly what we will do. It is essentially an extension of Mosaic 101 and Mosaic 201 whilst also venturing into other techniques such as tempered glass and making mosaics on mesh, as well as using a variety of materials. Over  the six weeks, students will learn how to create a mosaic from start to finish. We will meet once a week for three hours and create two pieces, one for interior use and another suitable for exterior use, grouting both on the last day. The interior mosaic will be made using glass while the exterior mosaic will be created with ceramic on mesh. We will discuss how to prep the substrate, appropriate selection of materials, adhesives, safety, tile setting, design basics & terminology. A list of resources is available in the handouts provided. This class is suitable for the beginner as well as those with some mosaic experience who would like to extend their knowledge of making mosaics. Students will gain a strong foundation in this versatile medium. No art or mosaic experience necessary!

I also finally managed to get some sample boards made up for my classes to show how opus and grout can completely change the vibe of the same mosaic. Come join a class – there are many on offer!!

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Filed under Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Classes, Inspiration, Marian Shapiro, Mosaic, Round the World, Schools, Uncategorized

Marian Shapiro’s Fabrication

In my last post I mentioned I was heading to Sydney for Marian Shapiro‘s solo exhibition “Fabrication”. As the song goes “oh what a night!…” It was a really great opening night – lots of people turned up, Marian glowed and her body of work was truly something to behold.

MAANZ president, Nola Diamantopoulos, gave the opening speech and what I loved about something she said in this speech was along the lines of how Marian is such a giver, but a quiet one… So true!

I think you need to go and see this exhibition, showing at breathing colours in Balmain, Sydney. The show ends this Sunday with a meet-the-artist on Saturday between 2-4 pm. Now is the time to buy art (may I also say at a great price!!).

Marian’s beautiful catalogue, with a lovely intro by artist Jane Denison, is also available at blurb.

Details and pics from the opening night below:


Filed under Art, Artists, Australia, Events, Exhibitions, Marian Shapiro, Mosaic, Round the World, Sydney, Uncategorized