Category Archives: Wall Hanging

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

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

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

Artist Watch: Ilona Fried

I’ve always been quite fascinated with Ilona and her work and I was excited that she agreed to be a part of this series. I’m deviating from the norm this time around – here’s her story, in her own words…

Although I used to do a lot of drawing as a child, I did not consider myself an artist for most of my adult life; periodically I would dabble in some art form or another, usually ceramics and photography, while working in various professions…I won’t bore you with the list!  I was drawn to art but was also a bit apprehensive about pursuing it – in fact, about 10 years ago one of my photography instructors pulled me aside and said, “I think you really want to be an artist.”  I felt as if he had revealed some deep secret and
although I did not pursue photography as an art form his words stayed with me.

Fast forward to 2001 when I was working as a management consultant and traveling a lot. When 9/11 happened I really woke up to the fact that life is short and that I no longer wanted to be doing a stressful job that I did not enjoy. To quell my anxiety about the future I started designing jewelry and months later worked up the nerve to resign and start a jewelry design business.  I loved combining color, shape and texture in my jewelry and finding new materials to use, but after awhile I felt limited by the jewelry format as a means of self-expression.  I wanted to work with color, shape and pattern on a larger scale and to create fine art. Although I had taken a few painting classes over the years, the medium did not grab me.  Mosaics seemed like the natural next step in my creative path, allowing me to continue working with my hands and with a wide variety of tesserae – beads, ceramic, glass, stone and more.

I took my first mosaic class in 2006 in a community education program – the instructor showed us how to cut and what adhesive to use, and that was about it.  Not completely satisfied, I decided to study with the experts and in the spring of 2007 went to the Mosaic School in Ravenna, Italy.  There I was very surprised to discover that even I could cut teeny tiny pieces with a hammer and hardie!  When I returned to the US I saw a call for an all-mosaic exhibit in the Boston area, where I was living at the time.   Back then I had only made a handful of mosaics and two were accepted.  I was thrilled! One of them sold after the show ended.  That helped me take my mosaic making a bit more seriously. And having one of my pieces published in Brit Hammer’s “Mosaic: Finding Your Own Voice” inspired me to keep going, as have all the many wonderful mosaic artists I’ve met at SAMA conferences and online. I really enjoy using an ancient medium to express contemporary themes and being part of an international community of artists; I’ve traveled to two dozen countries and lived overseas a few times – in Hungary, Ecuador, and Mexico – and so I welcome any mosaic-related opportunity to get on an airplane.

About a year ago I thought about relocating to Colorado where I could pursue another passion: hiking.  The “Art Gods” were on my side – I found a terrific studio in an artist building during one of my exploratory trips to Denver.  So I packed up and moved here.  Being outdoors in stunning scenery helps me recharge and gives me ideas for mosaics. Some of my abstract pieces are inspired by mountains and how I feel when I’m at high altitude – completely at peace with myself and deeply connected to the world. Sometimes I am able to experience that same feeling when I am deeply engrossed in making a mosaic. Life doesn’t get much better than that!

Family Outing

Tamago

New Directions

Shades of Memory

Salmon Maki

My Analogous Self

Just love this portrait, everything about it is so great!

Ilona’s website is a treat: clean, organised and well presented, do check it out. It’s everything I love in a website, especially the art! 🙂 If you’re on Facebook, become a fan of her work!

Finally meet Ilona –

Eccles

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Filed under Abstract, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Ilona Fried, Inspiration, Mosaic, Portraiture, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

MAANZ 30:30 Vision Exhibition

Been a while since I even entertained the idea of exhibiting and didn’t feel at all inspired by this year’s theme, Crusty Oceania, but decided at the very last minute to give it a go… Two night’s work produced this:

Tridacna

Tridacna2

tridacna_detail3

Amazing how a mosaic can look so different dependent upon the lighting…

This year’s exhibition is being held in Brisbane, in conjunction with the Symposium which I am also going to. Cannot wait!! It will be a well deserved break… October can’t come soon enough.

Spring is springing here now, well beginning to at least. It’s been a long Winter… but the cherry blossoms and daffodils are a welcome distraction. In fact, so is the rain. I’ve just marked my son’s 10th b’day (!). Holy Dang Snot (a la Bamasusana)… it’s frightening to think 10  years has slipped by almost unnoticed…

I am looking forward to some upcoming work I’m planning. Mostly for me, with any luck. It’s time I start covering my house 🙂

Mosaic classes are shaping up to be a busy schedule, with some possibilities of travel too! My two favourite pastimes rolled into one?!!! Almost too good to be true!

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Filed under Art, Artists, Australia, Brisbane, Events, Exhibitions, Finished pieces, Kim Grant, Mosaic, My projects, Nature, Rant, Round the World, Travel, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

Artist Watch: Irit Levy

I only recently found out about Irit Levy‘s art. I immediately felt a sense of shame as to how I could have possibly allowed her to fly under my radar! The first mosaic I saw of hers was the tree she made for Christine Brallier, a tree trade 🙂 I’ve been hooked ever since.

For as long as she can remember, Irit always painted and drew. As a young child, she surrounded herself with all sorts of paper and different types of paints and crayons, even creating art from glass as an older child. “With no internet or TV this was my easy escape from boredom”. Irit discovered her local glazier who would give her some coloured glass offcuts which she then cut and glued, “Of course it didn’t hold long. Who knew then about different types of glues…”.

As a young adult, Levy studied painting at the art academy in Israel. She later went on to pursue Economics and worked in this field for a number of years before returning to a different art academy, again in Israel. It was here she met Doron Bar-Adon, who she claims has the most influence on her art today. It wasn’t until leaving Israel that she discovered other mediums, taking pottery very seriously. “Though I had done pottery before, it was actually the first time I dived into “brushless” art. I think that without knowing it yet then, it was at this moment that I was opened to different types of art”.

It wasn’t until mid 2006 on a visit to New York City that Irit discovered mosaic as an art form. “I stumbled, by chance, onto the Sicis showroom. The beauty of this place really hits you. After I started breathing again I knew I was going to do THAT. It took me a few more months and in April 2007 I did my first mosaic.”

“The process of making a mosaic is totally the opposite of painting, of the way I was painting. I was painting big and dirty, no plans in advance, no early sketches and very quickly. With mosaic I am going more and more into the direction of no planning. If I want to make a rhythm in mosaic I need a little planning as I can’t have that rapid brush stroke as I did while painting. I am still dirty and messy but the process is slow and I feel so good with it. I feel that I am growing into the work, that it becomes more and more a part of me.”

Irit’s claims of being impatient and impulsive means she also works on several pieces simultaneously: “… otherwise I couldn’t survive the pace of the mosaic art process.”

Irit has experienced the loss of her art throughout her life, from destroying it herself to burglary: “I am very connected to all my art. If I don’t like something, I destroy it. I don’t keep things I don’t like and I won’t have others have them… Sadly, over the years, I lost a lot of art I didn’t intend to lose. My parents destroyed all the art I did until I left home at the age of 18. I could never figure out why. The second time I lost my whole work was when I was in my mid 20’s when burglars stole all my art in my apartment.”

Irit will be exhibiting 2 of her paintings in the prestigious Biennale in Italy soon. Here is an excerpt of what one of the curators wrote about her work, which Irit feels also applies to her mosaics:

Irit Levy is a highly thought provoking artist, whose art reflects a strong existential contemplation of the world and of ordinary objects. (…. )   “Over the years my art changes as I experiment with new materials and new approaches.  What remains most similar in my art is the backgrounds. My works often show a certain emptiness. The backgrounds are large and usually have a character of their own and at times the content of the paintings seem to be floating. For me, the backgrounds are no less important than the content, in the same way that unspoken words are no less important than spoken ones.”

Cool huh?!Check out her Flickr photostream for more visual stimulation and head over to her awesome blog where she documents her work.

The Kiss

Chez Christine

Smiling Nude

Big Steps

Le Mistral

Quiet - self portrait

Love her work… just love it!

Finally, meet Irit:

Irit Levy

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Filed under Art, Artist Watch Series, Events, Exhibitions, Flickr, Inspiration, Irit Levy, Mosaic, Portraiture, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging