Category Archives: Classes

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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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Classes, Community Projects, Finished pieces, Floor, Inspiration, Kim Grant, Lifestyle, Mandala, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Public Art, Round the World, Uncategorized, Works in Progress

Crystal Thomas Mosaics’ e-Tutorials

I mentioned in an earlier post that Crystal Thomas allowed me the use of two exercises from one of her e-Tutes for the class I taught in Grafton. I’ll make note that I did specifically ask her for this along with a payment to do so (ie: I didn’t just use them) and I thought it was worth writing a blog specifically on these e-Tutes as I found them so very helpful.

Crystal currently has three tutorials:

  1. A Mosaic Flower Tutorial (Check out her flowers, they are done in a layered style and are just beautiful – I own one!!) US$14!!!
  2. An Andamento and Keystoning workshop (SUPER cool and excellently (is that a word?) explained with a ton of exercises, including the “answers” to those exercises – you simply cannot do without this one!! It will change the way you work for the better!) US$18!!!
  3. Mosaic Skulls 101 (Cyrstal’s mosaic skulls are one of a kind) – US$12.50!!!

You are also able to purchase the Andamento and Keystoning workshop with Crystal’s Top Five Tips. I think it’s great to get tips from different artists. It’s always interesting to know how certain people like to work. Crystal is not currently offering any teaching, either as a group or individually, but does plan to do so again in the future so stay tuned. In the meantime spend next to nothing (seriously all these tutorials are worth more than this!!) and purchase all three tutorials.

detail of 3 Poppies, © Crystal Thomas 2010

“Luis” – Talavera skull, © Crystal Thomas 2009

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Filed under Art, Artists, Classes, Crystal Thomas, Flowers, Inspiration, Mosaic, Nature, Ornamental, Technique, Uncategorized, Workshops

Grafton Artsfest 2011

I’m back from Grafton! It was such a wonderful week! Full of laughs, loads of information, a class full of wonderful women, warm weather, new friendships, fantastic mosaics… Canberra is cold and blustery and frankly I didn’t want to come back. I’d be happy to hang out in Newcastle for a while longer! Still, I am back and with lots of enthusiasm and energy – I’ve added so much more to my mosaic to do list. I’m going to start sketching out some ideas for a bathroom floor installation. For now, I can’t wait to get stuck into this mural.

I had 14 women in my class, come from all over. Some semi local, some a number of hours away. 14 is about the max that I like to work with. More than that & I get stretched for one-on-one time. I think it’s important to wander around the class and assist/talk/hash ideas out with each individual student. Eight of the 14 had never made a mosaic before while the other seven had some experience so it was a good mix. The class I put together was called Mosaic Sampler: Getting Back to Basics. The blurb for it went something like this:
This workshop gets back to basics. It is content rich full of information and advice. Students will finish the week with a strong foundation in mosaic technique. We will discuss which substrates are right for any given project, how to prep a substrate for its intended purpose, which adhesive to use under differing circumstances and also how to source materials. We will look at mosaic design basics, andamento, colour, cutting techniques, and how to get the most out of your tools. Grouting and how this can completely change the vibe of a mosaic will also be explored. Students will create several mosaics using different techniques: direct, indirect using mesh, reverse indirect, tempered glass, glass on glass and the groutless method of mosaic. Each student is encouraged to create a mosaic using all the techniques listed however time-wise it may not be possible for everyone to do so, as we all work at different rates. Students are then encouraged to create at least two mosaics in the technique that interests them most. We will work primarily with a myriad of different glass for each project. These include but are not limited to stained glass, vitreous glass, mirror, millefiori, glass gems, glass rods, and ceramic, marble.

I spent the first day lecturing, I kid you not, from 9 – 4:30pm. I got so into it that my poor students had to remind me of their need to eat (!) and two came back the second day with holes in their elbows (from leaning on their elbows the day before), LOL!! It was great though, as there were many questions being asked and lots of general discussion so I don’t think they were bored!! Everyone made some fantastic mosaics. Only one made a piece using the reverse indirect method. It turned out wonderfully and guess what glue we used?! It was a little bit of an experiment on my part, but Sandra was up for it and it worked (I knew it would): Clag! Remember that stuff from school? It’s a paste made from flour, so I figured it must be similar if not the same than the traditional flour paste used for the reverse indirect method. Anyway, it worked a treat so I may start stocking Clag in my studio from now on… We had mesh mosaics, the push-in method that I teach was used a fair bit, traditional grouted mosaics… it was all happening. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in a long time! I was even told by one that she liked my laugh which is pretty funny actually as it is a bit of an ongoing joke between me and my sisters. My laugh that is…

I’ve uploaded more pics of the week to my facebook page as I can’t fit them all here, so feel free to take a look there.

Sandra’s mosaic using the reverse indirect method

Carol’s mosaic using the mesh method

Judy’s mosaic using tempered glass

Madeleine’s mosaic using the direct method and the push-in technique

Last day – students with some of their mosaics

It was the last year of Artsfest, maybe not forever, but just while the volunteer committee attend to their personal lives. I was glad to be a part of the last year though. It’s amazing how something that started off so humbly has touched so many lives… Hopefully it will be resurrected and if not, then that’s OK too. It was a part of people’s lives for 18 years. I think to myself that I should start doing a mosaic retreat, or some kind of arts festival here in Canberra or close by, inviting tutors from different mediums… someday perhaps! I need to consolidate and not overwhelm myself (and find a like minded person who would be interested in helping out!!)…

I also managed to get a small piece done while up North. I’ve called it Tappeto II. I’ll make a third soon and the three Tappetos will go into the showroom of a tile shop here in Canberra – so long as they like them I guess!

I went shooting the other day with an old friend and started collecting all the bullet casings… Will have to get him to start collecting them for me!

Now that I’ve mostly unpacked, I have to repack and get ready for the Children’s workshop in Sydney next week.

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Filed under Australia, Classes, Finished pieces, My projects, Round the World, Travel

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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