Category Archives: Works in Progress

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

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

Mid year already?!

How can it be?! The trees are already blossoming, it *almost* feels like the chill may be dissipating – though Winter will come back with a vengeance to be sure. It is August after all. Yay! I made it through July. My least favourite month in Canberra…

Sometimes I feel like the world is moving around me in fast motion – everyone so busy going here, going there. It’s nice to not feel like I need to participate in all that. Just sit back and watch, potter around in my garden, so to speak. Things are blossoming in my metaphorical garden, but I admit to sometimes wishing I had more time. I’d like more time to read. I’d like more time to devote to my other hobbies: crochet, roller derby and more recently raising chickens. I’d like more time to spend with my kids. Sometimes I feel cheated that I can’t spend more time with them – that’s probably been the harshest wound that divorce brings. By the same token, it is also a gift in that we cherish our time together.

The last year or so has also brought many lessons both good and challenging. Lessons are always a gift, even if hard to swallow. What it meant was that I didn’t create as much as I had planned. Not even sure that I had planned much. I still, however, feel that procrastination is in fact a good thing. There’s a lot that is happening in the quagmire of one’s brain whilst playing in a different stomping ground and I’ve learned to embrace it. Through embracing it, I feel like I am more confident in certain areas of what I do and so now I allow myself the time I need to process, even if subconsciously.

So… what have I created? It feels like not much, but I’m not sure that’s all true or important! There’s a lot going on in my brain and I’m no longer rushing to get it all done. I have time. I have plenty of it as it turns out…

What I have started to do is make my own projects a priority. I finally got some concrete poured and created a floor mosaic. So it’s not finished… yet! But I’m almost there. Literally less than a square foot left to do! Part of it lies on the floor in my living room at present. I look at it, and look at it some more. And while I look at it and work away on this, I’m thinking about my other projects.

The community project for the Queanbeyan Council is going well. We’ve entered stage 2 of the project. Two more groups will begin tomorrow to fabricate their mosaics. It’s pretty exciting! I went past the other day and saw that the Queanbeyan High School’s three panels have been installed. The morning we were meant to do it was too cold, so I never saw them get adhered to the seating… The themes explored are Youth, Education and Sports respectively: –

 

I recently learned that I have had some of my work published in a book. I havn’t yet seen the book, but lots of great artists in there and I’m very stoked I got in!!

Lastly, I am still teaching. I’ve made a few changes but for now am keeping with the classes I have always offered. Registrations for all mosaic classes are on my website. This semester they include the basic mosaic classes as well as a Mosaics on Mesh class and a glass class (Patterns & Shapes: Push-in Technique). Next year will see at least one or two new classes which I’m quite excited about. It’ll also be nice to teach some new things!!

Anyhoo! I’m off to tend to my garden…

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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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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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Mural WIP and other shenanigans

So I finally got around to transferring a design for a mural the other night. I have motivation AND I have energy. It is such a welcome return. Love what Spring can do… I sketched out a design three years ago and it got shelved due to other commitments, lack of sleep etc… For me, the hardest part of anything is the design and for large scale stuff transferring the design and all the prep involved beforehand. One part of me wants to get it all exact and be overly prepared, the other just wants to get a wriggle on. Anyway, the hard part is done and I can’t wait to get a start on it. The mural will be about 2.3m W x 1.6m H. It’s going to be located on my home, in an area that has come to be known as the Secret Hideout. I have a gorgeous Japanese maple that grows out front, perfect for climbing and of course come Spring and Summer no one need know if you are in that tree, watching the world go by! It’ll be great because the tree loses its leaves in Autumn (when it becomes our Not-so-Secret-Hideout). I kinda wanted a feeling of entering another hidden world… I think it’ll be a lot of fun. The first of four murals intended on my home that I already have designed. I’m sure more will probably come, but I need to start somewhere (says my more patient self). Next up after this one will be another mermaid…

Tomorrow I leave for warmer Newcastle, en route to Grafton to teach a six day workshop as part of the Grafton Artsfest. This is their last year in operation so I’m happy to be a part of it again this year. The workshop I am teaching is called Mosaic Sampler: getting back to basics. It should be a good week, with lots of information and hopefully lots of mosaic making using different techniques… I am overfull, so I’m really pleased that the class has been a popular attraction. My car will be chockablock full of all sorts of things. My tile guy has been awesome as far as providing everything I need. Pretty sure the only thing he hasn’t provided is the kitchen sink, though I’m sure he could work with me even on that one!! Looking forward to warm weather as it is still touch and go here in Canberra but I’ll miss the Jacarandas that begin to  flower a week or so after the festival. I love Jacarandas – one of my favourite trees! I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple exercises from one of  Crystal Thomas‘ eTutorials included as part of the week which I think will greatly assist in cutting and setting tile. If you havn’t already seen her eTutes, I strongly encourage you to take a look at her site and buy some! They are very, very affordable and are a wealth of information. It’ll change the way you work – for the better! Thanks again Crystal! Mwah.

I met with the primary school that contacted me the other week. What a great meeting – the principal, teachers and parents totally got what community means and what art teaches our new generation. The principal made a note of saying that she didn’t want any of the students (~460)  to have token involvement. That did it for me right there. Respectful, kind people. My heart beats a little more solidly knowing there are good people in the world who truly do care for our youngsters without letting their egos get in the way. I havn’t been asked to provide permits that don’t exist, nor a bunch of other unnecessary  paraphernalia. I hope I’m successful with the proposal I have put forward as it seems like it would be a wonderful relationship. The theme of the project was already agreed upon (macro garden) and I’ve already actually created a design for the feature wall that will also allow for each child’s addition in and around the main mural!! So exciting… but I need to pace myself 🙂

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Weekend in the studio = bliss

It’s been a while but I finally did it – I spent the entire weekend in my studio making mosaics. I am SO happy!! There were no (OK very few) facebook interruptions or any others for that matter. I can’t remember the last time I managed to do this… So after a long time of not really making anything, in the last week I’ve managed to finish four mosaics and get a good start on another – a trade with an artist living in Chicago. It’s been ongoing for I don’t know how long because I’ve just been too busy and/or not feeling particularly motivated. So, yay me.

I’ve been meaning to make a few of the same mosaics for my classes. I made five – damn good seeing as I really dislike making the same thing over and over! It is to show how choice of opus and grout can completely change the vibe of a piece… Happy that they’re done, after a good year or more of talking about it. I think it’ll help with my classes – being able to physically see and feel a mosaic is not the same as a photograph.

Lack of motivation in and of itself is a motivation killer 😉

A new series of work, at least I hope it will become a new series, haha!!
Tappeto I

I also have to get it together to create a body of work to go in a local tile shop – pretty exciting! There are still the murals for my home – I have the designs for them all, the tile, the know-how, just not the time. Time to pull my finger out I think.

The MANNZ Symposium was on this weekend in the Barossa Valley. Wonder how it went?!

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Filed under Art, Finished pieces, Mosaic, My projects, Ornamental, Wall Hanging, Works in Progress