Category Archives: Mosaic Materials

2013 wrap up

2013. Done. It’s been a busy one, a sad one but at the same time a freeing, fruitful and happy one both in body of work and emotional path walking. Perhaps bittersweet is an appropriate description?

For those of you who follow me on Wastebook, you’ll know that I led another community mosaic project at Chapman Primary. It involved creating three mosaic panels with themes that were chosen by the school community: History, Sustainability and School Values. I was also given drawings and sketches that the kids themselves drew to include in the designs. What resulted were three amazing mosaics that ALL 400 odd students and staff at the school participated in – not kidding! Preschoolers made their own tiles that were fired in the school’s kilns and embedded in concrete at the edge of a garden bed that looks out onto the three mosaics.

Sustainability

Sustainability

History

History

Chapman Now - school values

Chapman Now – school values

It was a really great project, one that I am super proud of and, again, I worked with some wonderful people.

I had three artists come visit throughout the year: Carol Shelkin, Susan Crocenzi and Marian Shapiro. All offering something completely different and quite distinct to their own styles. All the classes sold out so it was a testament to good ol’ Canberra!! Thank you! Though I should mention that many students did come from interstate – some as far as Western Australia!!! Goes to show that Mosaic Art is indeed a growing and burgeoning medium here in Australia. So great to be a part of that movement.

Carol Shelkin's class

Carol Shelkin’s class

Susan Crocenzi's class

Susan Crocenzi’s class

Marian Shapiro's class

Marian Shapiro’s class

I mentioned this year was a sad one. It was fraught with health problems with my Dad and sadly he passed away in September. There is nothing quite like the grief of losing a loved one. He was very present in my life, stepping in to look after my children when necessary and generally helping me out so he played a large role in all our lives. I don’t miss the hours of waiting in the Emergency Departments, the ongoing discussions with nurses and doctors trying to get information that sometimes I don’t think they even knew. I do however miss our lunches and dinners, miss his phone calls and miss driving in the car with him (the cranky old bugger!!). I’m grateful of my time with him. I didn’t take that for granted in those last few years even though no one could have possibly predicted that he would be gone so quickly. I’m grateful that he is no longer suffering. Grateful that he was a role model to my children – the only real man in my life and theirs. I know that all three will carry that in them to adulthood and I find absolute comfort in that. He was a good man, a family man, served for his country and was loved by many. At the end of the day, what more of a legacy would you want to leave?! We gave him a good send off, one that I think he would have been really touched by actually! People came from all walks of his life – friends from his watering hole to old RAAF mates to judges from the Supreme and Magistrates Court. That was Dad though. He could get along with anyone.  I have in mind a memory mosaic with some of his personal artefacts that I came across after he passed. I also have a mural planned on my home. Right after he passed away I got right into creating photo transfers on tile and figured out how to create them for outdoor use. It ended up being a coping mechanism for me and in doing it I actually also found a voice for something I’d been trying to express for a while. Was a cathartic experience and I’m looking forward to including the tiles in my work. Also looking forward to perhaps investing in a kiln… but that’s a complete aside.

Photo Transfers

Photo Transfers

Mosaic w/ photo transfer tile

Mosaic w/ photo transfer tile

I’ve also been setting about, slowly adding to the mosaic murals on my home. I now know pretty much all the designs and where they will go. At the moment it all boils down to time to fabricate and I’ve been so exhausted that I can’t really look at fabricating the way I used to. So it’s a little at a time. In fact I set about with this mural differently to the way that I normally do: I decided to fabricate a few sections and install then grout as I go as space has become a bit of a premium here in my humble abode. It’s worked out well actually. There’s really not much more to do on this one. In fact it’s been about a year since I designed this. I came up with this design whilst with my Dad on one of his many trips to hospital. So there is something very special here for me. It also includes my daughter’s loveflies. I had never really thought about it but turns out that all the murals on my home (when I get to finishing them) will actually hold a lot of significance from my life. It wasn’t a conscious approach, but I realised how true this is whilst working on this.

Nocturnal Hideout Hollow - WIP

Nocturnal Hideout Hollow – WIP

Nocturnal Hideout Hollow - WIP

Nocturnal Hideout Hollow – WIP

Also worked on a commission for a client in Sydney redoing a mosaic that I made back in 2008. It was good redoing this one as I was able to make it better. Experience does that 🙂

Sacred Compass Redux

Sacred Compass Redux

I also contributed to a small community project for a fellow mosaic artist, Caitlin Hughes, who lost everything in the bushfires up in the Blue Mountains. Marian Shapiro and Kim Hallam were the co conspirators and organised for a handful of us to create a 20x20cm piece to be included into a larger quilt style mosaic. We were asked to create a piece that contained a heart of any size and a blue border. This was all done on the sly and Caitlin was surprised with it one day before a class she was to teach I believe. My contribution that I named Bloom Where you are Planted (which has become a bit of a mantra for me):

Bloom here You Are Planted

Bloom here You Are Planted

And the finished mosaic quilt:

The Caitlin Project - Mosaic Heart Quilt

The Caitlin Project – Mosaic Heart Quilt

I also set up a GoFund me campaign to which you can still contribute! The wider community so far contributed 99% of the goal. I was rather taken aback to be perfectly honest. There are great people in this world and to be part of such a great mosaic community fills me with great joy! Thank you all!!!

I managed to get to the MAANZ symposium in August as well. It was great being able to catch up with some old friends, see their work and meet a few new people (one of whom is an artist I’ve long had a crush on, Carrie Reichardt).

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Last but not least, here is a snapshot of my 2014 schedule. Some new classes and a mural class!!! I’m even going to open up a Canberra Mosaic Tour. We have some fantastic mosaics in this town and I know where they all are!! Head over to my website to click on the name of the class you are interested in for a description.

February 22-23:           Intro to Mosaics
March 29-30:                 Exterior & garden mosaics
May 17:                               Photo transfers on tile
June 14-15:                      Glass on Glass mosaics: stained glass window mosaics
July 19-20:                       Intro to Mosaics
August 9:                          Magic Mushrooms
September 13:               Mosaic cutting techniques and design basics
October 11 – 18:           Going large: creating a mosaic mural
October 19:                      Canberra Mosaic Tour

There’s other super exciting news in the works too and I will definitely write about it all in 2014!

To those of you in my life who have made 2013 an EMPOWERING one (and I know you all know who you are), thank you. You’ve come into my life this year or have been around for a while.  2013 has been the year that I’ve finally realised (thanks to you) things about myself that I didn’t realise I possessed. Walking that path has been difficult post abusive marriage, I’m not lying, but 5 years later I’m stronger than I ever have been both physically and emotionally.

I can honestly look back on this year and be proud of what I’ve achieved both on a personal front and a professional one.

Peace, love and harmony for 2014.

xx

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Australia, Building, Canberra, Carol Shelkin, Classes, Community Projects, Female, Finished pieces, Kim Grant, Melbourne, Mosaic, Murals, My Home, My projects, Polymer Clay, Public Art, Round the World, Schools, Susan Crocenzi, Tempered Glass, Wall Hanging, Works in Progress

Mosaic Mirror Workshop in Canberra Australia

If you’re interested in learning how to create a mosaic mirror from scratch using predominantly glass tesserae (vitreous glass, stained glass, glass gems etc) then I will be running a workshop in November. Dates are Saturday 20 November (10:30 – 4:30pm) and Sunday 21 November (10:30 – 4pm).

You will learn how to cut out your final shape using a jigsaw and learn how to cut different kinds of glass and assemble the mosaic. The class is catered to creating a piece with an approximate dimension of 40cm square. Get creative, though, and think about making a mirror where the mirror itself is off centre, use strips of mirror instead of a block piece etc… Get funky and deviate from the normal square/rectangular mirror! There is no grouting in this class so if you have not grouted before I do recommend signing up to my Grout Clinic.

Cost is $185 + a $45 materials fee. Check my website for more details and if you want to sign up then email me!

Examples of Mosaic Mirrors follow.

By Sue Edkins of Mostly Mosaics in the UK.

by Carl and Sue Bryant of Showcase Mosaics.

Bubbles designed by Calligaris.

Queen of Hearts Mosaic Mirror by Erin Haworth.

Star Mirror 5 by Erin Haworth.

Fire in Bloom by Crystal Thomas.

 

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Filed under Australia, Canberra, Events, Furnishings, Glass, Mirrors, Mosaic Materials, Round the World, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging, Workshops

Artist Watch: Cynthia Monica

I’d like to introduce you to Cynthia Monica. Her mosaics are so vastly different to what I think I could ever do – a lot of texture using a combination of natural materials, found objects, glass… Love it! Here’s her story:

“I am 58 (hard to believe), and I was born and raised in the West Los Angeles/Santa Monica area of California.  I think my first inkling of being an artist was as a child.  I loved to color in coloring books, and my claim to fame was being the “best colorer” on my block, along with being the best handball player in school, I should add.   I always loved choosing beautiful colors, and of course the pages in my coloring book were very neat and I never went outside the lines.  I adored my art teacher, Mrs. Shubue, in elementary school and loved to make things in her class. My first job at 16 was working at Pacific Ocean Park (POP) on the old Ocean Park Pier, that subsequently burned down.  It was a great adventure.  I had a blast working at the paint pots, squirting plastic bottles of paint onto whirling paper. When folks were finished, I matted their “masterpieces” in cardboard frames.  On my breaks I rode the rickety old wooden roller coaster, and I saw Sonny & Cher perform live when they were still wearing fur vests.  I think there were all of about 30 or 40 people watching them on that typical sunny Southern California day, standing on an outdoor stage right in front of the roller coaster.  I am definitely a child of the 60’s, as I went to “Love-Ins” and wore flowers in my hair.  I saw Jim Morrison and the Doors at After Hours on the Sunset Strip; Jimmy Hendrix at the Forum, and many other famous musicians of the 60’s.  What a “trip”.  I became a bit rebellious, cutting school and experimenting with drugs a bit, after all, it was the 60’s.  I expressed myself by making collages on my bedroom door, painting the inside of my closet purple, and putting my mattress on the floor.  My family always thought of my creative endeavors as “weird”, a label that still sticks with me to this day.  In high school my major was art and I started out in college as an art major.  I loved every medium I was introduced to; ceramics, print making, graphic design, painting, drawing, etc.  I just couldn’t get enough.  At that time I wanted to be a graphic designer.  I always had a fascination with logos and lettering and design.  I had a graphic design class and next to me sat a very talented young man, who had amazing drawing skills, and one day while we were in class he produced the most incredible drawing I had ever seen.  I looked at his work, and thought “I could never be that good”, and that turned out to be a very pivotal moment in my life, because there and then, I gave up my dream of becoming a graphic designer.  I ended up as a Philosophy major, and graduated from UCLA with a BA.  A lot of good that did me, as I did not want to teach, or pursue a career in academia which is about it, as far as philosophy goes.  So I floundered around for many years, working different jobs, in advertising, interior design, real estate, and others, searching for something, but not really knowing what.  I was always taking ceramics, or drawing or painting, interior design, graphic design, computer design, or any art class I could get my hands on in the evenings.  As I got older I decided I needed a “proper career”.  I was always interested in the psyche and the human experience, so off I went to USC for graduate school and I became a psychotherapist.  I worked in that field for about 10 years, but it always seemed like something was missing.  During that time I met my husband, Corbett, and after living in California for all our lives, we moved to Portland, Oregon, practically on a whim.  We have now been here for 11 years, and for the last 4 years, we have lived out in the country, on the Sandy River.  We have a couple of acres, and feel blessed to live in the midst of such splendor and beauty.  With the support of Corbett, I left my career, and through his encouragement began pursuing my long lost dream, to be an artist.   I started with crockery and taught myself how to mosaic through trial and error.  I graduated to glass and became enthralled with vitreous, smalti, and now mixed media.  I am still trying to find my “voice” it seems, but it is the journey, I have learned to love.  I am fascinated by the process of each piece, as well as the outcome.  Sometimes I paint, or work in collage and other mediums, as I love them all.  I am happiest when I am creating, and feel a bit lost when I am not.  As of late, I am trying develop my online skills and presence, joining various social networking sites.  It is a big learning curve for me, but I’m getting more knowledgeable, slow and steady.  I spend hours on  flickr, as I love to see the mosaics created by others.  I have also started a blog, titled “Outside the Lines”, which serves as a reminder that I don’t have to stay inside the lines anymore, I can even scribble if I want.  I have met some amazing people online, and feel blessed to a part of the virtual group of mosaic artists on flickr and CMA, for they are some of the most kind and generous people around. For a time, I had a hard time thinking of myself as an artist, although I have studied many art mediums through the years, and have always had the inclination.  But, finally, I just became used to the idea.  Yes, I am an artist, and I’m not sure where I’m going from here, but I know I will be fulfilled as long as I continue to pursue my passion – art.”

I know I say it over and over, but really! People are soooooo interesting. Thanks Cynthia for sharing your amazing story. Now for the visual feast:


Meandering


Urban Relics


Emerge #4 – detail


Emerge # 2


Taj Mahal Birdhouse

Finally, meet the Artiste – 🙂


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Filed under Abstract, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Cynthia Monica, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Inspiration, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Recycled, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

Another Mural Under the Belt, Spring Class Schedule & Tempered Glass Class

I’m done, I’m really, really done!

Mermaid Mural - Done!

Well, I kind of cheated and decided against doing the fish… for now. She looks complete without it and I am swimming in other mosaic ideas and wanting to get a start 🙂 Am really happy with her, and though no name has come to mind, I know it will come, perhaps one day. In the meantime it is Mermaid & Octopus (!). How creative of me.

So I am releasing dates for an early Spring schedule, as I have had a number of enquiries.

  • Exterior Mosaic Basics – the last weekend of August, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30
  • Tempered Glass Mosaics – Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September
  • Interior Mosaic Basics – Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 September

Just to give a brief explanation of the tempered glass (TG) class as most people are perhaps unaware of the term here in Australia and for the most part are unaware of its use in mosaic. I believe we call it safety glass, for the most part. It is the kind of glass most commonly used in shop windows and, here at least, occasionally used for (the expensive) shower screens. When it breaks, it crumbles instead of breaking into sharp shards hence the safety aspect to it. For a concise definition of this kind of glass check out this manufacturer’s website.  Of course, as mosaic artists, we use it broken. Great for memento mosaics, it also has other broader decorative uses too. Come check out the class and make a mosaic slightly left of centre! Pre treatment, broken tempered glass looks like this:

Tempered Glass Mania

Post treatment, here are some examples of its use in mosaics from mosaic artists on Flickr. You can see more in the Tempered Glass Mosaics Group. (All mosaic works are copyright to the artists and like everything not to be used without express written permission. Please be inspired rather than copying).

Ilana
Ilana by Susan Crocenzi

Knot a Swirl
Knot a Swirl by Lin Schorr

Unrequited Love
Unrequited Love by Stacy Alexander

Diversion
Diversion by Crystal Thomas

Latte Heart Valentine
Latte Heart Valentine by Lori Desormeaux

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Copyright, Events, Finished pieces, Flickr, Kim Grant, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Murals, My projects, Portraiture, Tempered Glass, Uncategorized, Workshops

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

Artist Watch: Suzanne Steeves

I had originally meant to post this before SAMA and for some weird reason my email dumped Suzanne’s response to me in my spam… grrrr! So apologies to you Suzanne, for not having gotten this up sooner… *sigh*

Suzanne Steeves was born in New York to Canadian parents. She had a fabulous career in television overseeing the launch of a couple of specialty channels, running entertainment production, heading up sports. “Very rewarding and endlessly all-consuming.”  Suzanne met her ‘soul mate’ ten years ago –  husband Aiken. “We left our full time careers behind, and ran off to Bora Bora to get married.”

As a child, Suzanne was constantly drawing, painting and actually did her first mosaic at age ten. “It was a gift for my grandmother. A picture made from all different types of seeds: pumpkin, poppy, sesame etc. My grandmother kept it hanging on her wall until she left this world.”

After the demise of her first marriage, Suzanne became a single parent with a demanding career and had little time to pursue her passion – art. “I did paint, but sporadically. Now I am making up for lost time. Initially I picked up my paint brushes and went back to oils. I had always loved mosaic but had never really considered it … until one day I happened to see a used mannequin with a uniquely beautiful shape. I immediately envisioned Eden Rocks. The idea of telling the story of the Garden of Eden – on Eve herself…” Suzanne claims it to be a ridiculous choice for a first project (scoff!) but considers herself an over achiever. “After starting her I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I spent the next several months reading everything I could get my hands on. I completed her last year and haven’t looked back.”

When describing her love for the medium, Suzanne states: “I can’t begin to describe the pleasure I find in working in mosaics. I love everything about it. The possibilities are limitless. I would need dozens of lifetimes to even begin to tackle every project I have wandering around in my head! When I’m in the zone it is my meditation.”

Suzanne left the city behind and now lives with Aiken and their two dogs on 100 acres north of Toronto. She has two beautiful grown children, a son Stefan and daughter Sasha and a wonderful stepson, Taylor.

Eden Rocks

Eden Rocks

Polar Prayer

Polar Prayer

Bird in the Hot Sun

Bird in the  Hot Sun

The Wave

The Wave

Finally meet Suzanne, pictured with her daughter…

Suzanne Steeves

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Filed under Animals, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Fused glass, Inspiration, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Nature, Ornamental, Suzanne Steeves, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

Dumpster Diva

Last year I went on a wild goose chase for tempered glass. After much ado, strange looks and “why do you want that for?”s, I came across a really lovely guy running a large company that specialised in safety glass. Lo and behold I almost wet my pants the first time I drove up to the warehouse…

Have been running a little low so decided to go and get another stash. Much more slim picking this time around (yes, only one dumpster full), but check it out!!! I think you get the gist…

My Stash

Tempered Glass Pickins

The above pic is just what’s on the ground… *sigh*

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Filed under Art, Flickr, Inspiration, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Rant, Tempered Glass, Uncategorized