Category Archives: Tempered Glass

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.





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.



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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

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 by Susan Crocenzi

Knot a Swirl
Knot a Swirl by Lin Schorr

Unrequited Love
Unrequited Love by Stacy Alexander

Diversion by Crystal Thomas

Latte Heart Valentine
Latte Heart Valentine by Lori Desormeaux



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

Photo by Gib Robinson

Reach - glowing
Reach, *glowing*

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

Photo by Gib Robinson

Photo by Gib Robinson


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

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*


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

Artist Watch: Natalie Warne

Jumping right back in, the next mosaic artist I wanted to highlight is Natalie Warne.

Most of you, I’m certain, are aware of her work. I love how her art makes me feel. Don’t quite have my finger on exactly why… Anyway, let’s meet her! I must say reading through the info Natalie sent me, it was uncanny how many parallels there were in both our lives… it’s this weird occurrence which has happened with alot of the artists I’ve written about here.

Natalie was born in Cyprus and resided there for the first couple years of her life. She moved around a fair bit until her parents settled in Plymouth, England at around the age of 5. Not being terribly excited by school, she went to college to do a ‘Nursery Nursing’ course and ended up studying art – this was her favourite subject.

At the ripe old age of 18 she made the move to London (Wimbledon to be precise) to become a Nanny (I did this too… in Wimbledon!!! For 3 weeks, but went for longer!!!). This did not work out for her and she returned to Plymouth to work in the bingo hall in the city. This is where she met her partner, Keith. After toiling in jobs, buying a home together, doing all the things we do they decided to pack up and travel: ” Keith & I had become unhappy with the same old routine of getting up at 6am, getting caught in traffic, doing the same stressful but boring jobs. (we were earning good money, but realised that is certainly not the most important thing in life!)”. So they sold up all their belongings, bought a VW camper van and hit the road 🙂

They used the Netherlands as their base, mainly there in the warmer months and travelled off to warmer pastures in the Winter months – Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt. “…from Luxor we joined with some other travellers & hired a falucca to go down the Nile to Aswan. This was one of the best things we have ever done, we slept on the deck & it was amazing, the scenery, the floating hotels!!…”. Sounds divine! They continued on using the Netherlands as their base for another 6 or so years, during which time they also managed to get away to parts of South East Asia, India, even Hawaii. “Travelling to all these places & experiencing the diverse habitats, people & man made works of art (especially the Wats (temples) in Thailand, which are stunningly beautiful) & learning meditation & yogic breathing along the way, changed us both & led us towards a more spiritual/less material way of life.” Amen.

Throughout this time, Natalie had started making jewellery: earring, necklaces etc all with semi-precious stones. Her Mum and herself decided to open up shop back in the UK – Totnes to be precise which is down in Devon (I lived in Salcombe for a short while, a beautiful little place close by…). This is how they ended back in the UK.

Discovering mosaics four years ago, her hobby soon turned into her passion: “At the beginning all I could afford to use were ceramic tiles, so most of my earlier work is in that medium. I then started buying vitreous glass tiles in mixed colour kilo bags, which gave me different colours & textures to work with.”

Just over a year ago, she thought to give mosaics a more serious try, quit her day job and working part time with Keith allowed her the freedom and flexibility to give it a serious go. “I cannot describe how happy it made me feel to get the time to really concentrate on trying different methods & materials & to start stretching myself creatively.”

Natalie is a self taught artist and believes this enhances her work as she is not limited by the rules that are applied in art. ” I did find the groups on Flickr & have found it most helpful to read the help & tips on these forums.” She has been concentrating on exhibiting her work over the past year, a solo show in her hometown of Totnes as well as sending off a piece to Ciel Gallery, located in the US.

As for her where she feels she is heading, as an artist: “I seem to be moving towards doing mixed media mosaics as I love the textures & play of light on a piece that has many levels, I am not so keen on the grouting part of these types of mosaics and sort of heave a sigh of relief when I am doing an easy grout job. Saying that, it doesn’t stop me from doing them!!! I had a lot of beads & semi precious stones over from my time making jewellery so I love to incorporate them & any other little bits & bobs that I pick up all over the place (charity shops etc). I also really enjoy using stained glass & when I go to a glass shop I am like a kid in a sweet shop!! I have recently discovered tempered glass & am at the moment doing a series of Ladies (seasons) & am using tempered glass, along with other materials, to bring these to fruition. Colours are extremely important to me, & I LOVE bright primary colours, I love rainbows. Sometimes a mosaic design pops into my head just because of a certain glass colour or texture. I think I sort of work instinctively & go with what feels right & mostly that works out for me. I sometimes have a whole design in my head when I start to work on a piece, but often as I start to draw things out on the substrate things change & evolve as I go along. I do not like to be too rigid with myself & just let the creative process morph into being. I have also enjoyed making things for some challenges on the web, as these often take me in a direction I have not tried before & make me be a bit more disciplined. I feel I am so lucky to earn a bit of money doing something I love & it would be great to be able to sell more! I have so many ideas for mosaics in my head I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do them all in my lifetime, but I’m going to give it a bloody good try.”

Well here’s to you Natalie! I think you are giving it a bloody good try too 🙂

Here are some of my favourites, but I do think that you should go check her flickr site for more…

Sun Birdbath

Mr Wizard

Lady of WInter

Rainbow Swirls

Lava Flow

And finally, meet Natalie:

Natalie Warne


Filed under Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Birdbath, Emerging, Europe, Female, Flickr, Garden Mosaics, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Natalie Warne, Nature, Round the World, Tempered Glass, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, Wall Hanging

Mosaic in Film: Iron Man

OK… so not really mosaic in this film. Just a heap of tempered glass with all the testosterone-induced fighting.

BUT, I felt it worthy to mention in this context simply because there is alot of tempered glass and I watched this a while back when I was on my hunt. All I could think of was “Man!!! Look at all that TG… I wonder what they did with it?”. It’d be a shame to think that it all ended up in the bin, where no doubt it did end up. Someone ought to start some kind of film-industry-clean-up-for-art association!

The movie stars Robert Downey Jr and I actually enjoyed it – a great DVD night in, I should think. When the film opened with an AC/DC song, I knew it would, at the least, be entertaining 🙂 Great soundtrack… did I mention Robert Downey Jr?


Filed under Art, Mosaic, Mosaic in Film, Mosaic Materials, Rant, Tempered Glass, Uncategorized

Making Mosaics and Lasting Friendships

Well as most of you probably are aware I have become quite friendly with Susan Crocenzi having made a website for her and in return I lovingly welcomed Crossroads into my life. When I was in the USandA I went and visited her in her neck of the woods. How could I not?! The drive up was lovely and I was cursing myself for not hiring the GPS for the extra $14.99 per day cos I kept getting lost?! Mapquest had me all over the place, lol! Finally made it though and she was busy teaching Donna, aka CaDonna, who came to know of Susan through another online forum… They’d been making a polymer clay and tempered glass piece which they’d just finished as I turned up 🙂

Now I will admit to being a tad worried that we might not get along, that it would all be a stereotypical weird online friendship thing and it SOOOO was not. I felt like we’d known each other for a long time. Phew, cos she opened her home to me and was so very hospitable and I stayed for the whole weekend, even got to meet her family. I’m sure you felt the same, a little… huh, Susan?! 🙂

We had planned on trying to go for a hike, there was even mention of going kayaking on the Yuba, which sounded wonderful! There just wasn’t going to be any time though (I was only there for 2.5 days) and I do plan to take her up on the offer another time. Some of the pics I’ve seen of her beautiful surrounds was just mind blowing. Northern CA is just simply beautiful!!! From her studio you could hear the wind in the trees, the river running, birds singing and the air was fresh! It was really just lovely. I could totally see why she lived there. My ideal spot to live is in the mountains overlooking the ocean… Still searching for it. 🙂 In CA, Santa Cruz came very close for me. The Santa Cruz mountains are just… I don’t have words to describe it frankly…

When I asked Susan if there was anything she wanted from Australia, she said the only thing she wanted was a mosaic I’d made. Well, not having all that much left I did have Flutterby which now resides with her 🙂 and I’m so glad it does. I in turn got Big Love… Just what I needed! I own 5 Crocenzi originals now 😉 One would think I’m a fan of her work or something!

Susan was also gracious enough to let me sit in on her 1st class. I think it’s the beginning of a new career for her… Having been a teacher for the last 15 or so years, she’s a natural at it and her classes are fun. Guaranteed you’ll come away from one, or two (?) classes with a piece you’ll love. I know it has made me look at the potential of my mosaics in a different light, which came at a very necessary time as I was feeling rather blah about everything for a while. The combination of the mural intensive, Susan’s tempered glass class and me having just gone on a *major* de-cluttering of my house has got me all enthused again. Nothing like getting rid of crap. It literally clutters your soul and it is so therapeutic to chuck.

Anyway, it was a really fun get-together. Donna is way cool too and her piece she made was gorgeous. Thanks Susan! Thank whatever and whoever for the internet is all I have to say for giving me such great friends, who I can now count as “real life” friends, not just e-friends… 😉
Susan, Donna and me
Susan, Donna & I surrounded by those big gorgeous trees

Me and Donna
Me and Donna

Cabin in the mountains

Aspire, my tempered glass piece I made in Susan’s class 🙂

Big Love
Susan’s trade for Flutterby. I love this piece! It just sparkles and now adorns my love wall…

Donna’s tempered glass and polymer clay piece, Wild Hearts.

April was the month of hearts for me. Everywhere I turned there was one… I had to purchase Laurel True‘s graffiti tag when I saw it:
Laurel True's graffiti tag
It’s about all I could afford, lol!


Filed under Art, Artists, California, Female, Flickr, Furnishings, Inspiration, Kim Grant, Laurel True, Mirrors, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, My projects, Polymer Clay, Rant, Round the World, Susan Crocenzi, Technique, Tempered Glass, Trades, Travel, Uncategorized, USA, Wall Hanging