Category Archives: Signage

Art is Better than Therapy

Lots going on this side of the World, in my little ol’ life. Some positive change which is great, but change can be exhausting even when welcome! Needless to say life has simply gotten in the way of this blog… I miss it, so here I am.

Since last I wrote I have installed a ~5 sq metre mural at my daughter’s preschool. Something I had been thinking about for a long while and was unsure was ever going to happen. I talked it over with a good friend of mine who convinced me to do so. I am so very glad of it too. Between the time that I agreed to the time it was done, was only a few weeks. It was the first community project I have ever been a part of and also the first time to lead a large project with volunteers. It was looking a little worrying there for a little while, thinking that I had noone to help out but people pulled through and new friendships forged  (new addictions too)… The original idea was to come into the preschool, sit down with the kids in small groups and make a mosaic from one of their pictures with them. I was inadvertently offered a full time job that I wasn’t expecting and so that idea kinda went out the window!! Nevertheless I pushed ahead by taking some pictures that the kids drew and mosaicing them myself. The inspiration was simply the drawing of a 4 year old child. Clean, simple and without too much detail. I love a child’s approach to most anything. Honest, innocent and arguably without detail but in saying that I don’t think that children miss the detail. To me, their approach is fresh and I always find myself drawn to it.

In any case the whole project was very satisfying and I feel very happy indeed about the whole affair. It got a little write up in a local newspaper that I was also pleased with, so it was a really nice end to the whole thing. I have managed to do 2 large installations this year. Hard work, but I really think this is where it is for me. Definitely more to come…

Preschool Mural done!!!

Preschool Media

I’m also in the midst of doing the Christmas Art Markets at the Old Bus Depot Markets. Quite different this year, in that there was a very steady stream of people instead of a mad rush. I actually thought I wasn’t doing as well as last year, perhaps a sign of the times, but upon counting the sales at the end of last weekend I actually did better than last year. That was comforting. I think I know what sells and so therefore it is just easier to know what to make. I also upped my prices on a few things and introduced smaller pieces, at a smaller price but without compromising my artistic integrity.

Other major news is that I am headed to San Diego next year for the SAMA conference. Very exciting indeed… My first time, I hope not my last 🙂 I am really looking forward to meeting everyone I have come to know on the internet, meet those I am yet to know, be inspired, inspired, inspired and learn aplenty. Of course a little side trip/holiday is also in the works. Life is too short to constantly say NO!

A little earlier on, I  finished a pair of ballet slippers that got shuttled away to Texas, USA. I was very happy with the way they turned out, falling within the description of what the client specified so happy all around I believe. I was quite stoked by that commission too as it would never have come my way had it not been for the internet.

Odette - Boots' Boots

I also got around to installing a commissioned number plaque. That was a bit of a trip. The client had bought it as a surprise for his girlfriend, as they had purchased their first home together (1, 2, 3: Awwwwwwwwwwww…) and when she opened it she apparently said something like ‘ who made this? Kim Grant?!’. I kinda momentarily let it go to my head and was a celebrity for that split second, lol! 😉

1/22_k_grant_mosaics

So what’s on the cards for the future? One more day for the markets, then Xmas and all that it entails (can’t wait, family time!!!). I’ll be hopefully starting on the install of the mermaid mural which I am really looking forward to. The prep on that wall may take some time though, not something I particularly look forward to. Then it will be time to finish off a few projects I started for myself and start a few others. Trades that are on the cards, a swirl for Lin Schorr‘s project, a new(ish) website… too much to do frankly and never enough time but art is better than therapy. Amen!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year! Thanks for being such wonderful readers…

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Australia, Ballet Pointes, Building, Canberra, Community Projects, Design Concepts, Emerging, Events, Female, Finished pieces, Flickr, Flowers, Kids, Kids' Projects, Kim Grant, Meeeting of the Minds, Mosaic, Murals, My projects, Nature, Ornamental, Public Art, Rant, Round the World, Schools, Shoes, Signage, Sunflower, Travel, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging, Workshops

Howl – A Protest

I felt I just had to blog this. It echoes exactly what I feel and Pam Goode has done such a phenomenal job in interpreting those feelings. Click on the photo and go to ‘All Sizes’ to read the messages in the mosaic.

Pam writes, “This is a protest piece finished for The War Against Peace show. I chose to work this piece in a folk-art style, because it is so often the “child” within us that reacts most instinctively to the atrocities around us. The image depicts a Peace Angel howling in anguish over the current state of Man and Earth. Alphabet Millefiori spell out her howls.”

I have already asked if I could write about Pam as part of my Artist Series, so her bio is coming… I eagerly await. She’s a thoroughly interesting woman – I have always loved her mosaics (and will secretly say that I was a little nervous when I first met her back in April; kinda like “bow down to the masta”, lol). She certainly has a presence.

I must say I have always been enamoured with Protest Art, for want of a better word/description. I know many artists who won’t touch it with a 40 foot pole and then I’ve seen some Protest Art that just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s all ringing bells for me right now. I do not understand the apathy. The Peoples’ silence is deafening…

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Filed under Art, Artists, Female, Flickr, Global concerns, Inspiration, Meeeting of the Minds, Mosaic, Pam Goode, Politics, Portraiture, Protest, Rant, Round the World, Signage, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging, War

Obama Mosaic Project

Just had to write about this as it encompasses several feelings I have right now. The obvious US elections… no I’m not a US citizen, but I still make my opinions heard as the damage done is widespread and does not just stop with the US. Also, I saw some photos by a photographer called Paul Quinn re the Iraq War a few months back and I was so disturbed by the images that it really made me question my art. He had photographed scenes he constructed of an actual even that occurred: three US military personnel raping an Iraqi girl. Think diorama – which in a way kinda heightened that surreal slap-in-the-face shock of it all. Here were these disturbing yet fantastic images that really told a truth about war and here I was making ornamental art… I felt shocked… at the fact that here I had a voice and a medium and wasn’t using it to its full potential.

Anyway… before I go off on a tangent, Mosaic Miracles on Flickr (I think her name is Amy?!) actually did something about her convictions. She began the Obama Mosaic Project by selecting 50 participants (one from each state, though it ended up being 52 people- 2 from Vermont and 2 from Illinois) who she found on the Obama website and sent them each a mosaic kit. What she did was create an amazing mural that is currently hanging at the Obama Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN and it is up for sale. Proceeds will go towards the campaign.

It’s amazing, gorgeous, giving-me-goosebumps material…

Here is the Artiste in question saying Thank You to all who participated…

Stacy Alexander recently sent this out to me and I must echo that it so eloquently states how I feel about what is going on right now… Let’s talk Obama!!! Let’s talk about what makes sense and not pay attention to the circus as all it does is project them onto a stage that they have no right to be on. Vote for your children!!!

From NYT Best Selling author Anne Lamott:
Sept. 16, 2008
I had to leave church Sunday morning when it turned out that the sermon was not about bearing up under desperate circumstances, when you feel like you’re going crazy because something is being perpetrated upon you and your country that is so obscene that it simply cannot be happening.

I sat outside a 7-Eleven and had a sacramental Dove chocolate bar. Jeez: Here we are again. A man and a woman whose values we loathe and despise — lying, rageful and incompetent, so dangerous to children and old people, to innocent people in every part of the world — are being worshiped, exalted by the media, in a position to take a swing at all that is loveliest about this earth and what’s left of our precious freedoms.

When I got home from church, I drank a bunch of water to metabolize the Dove bar and called my Jesuit friend, who I know hates these people, too.

I asked, ‘Don’t you think God finds these smug egomaniacs morally repellent? Recoils from their smugness as from hot flame?’

And he said, ‘Absolutely. They are everything He or She hates in a Christian.’

I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman’s name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it. Nor am I going to say the word ‘lipstick’ again until after the election, as it would only be used against me. Or ‘polar bear,’ because that one image makes me sadder than even horrible old I can stand.

I hate to criticize. And I love to kill wolves as much as the next person does. But this woman takes such pride in her ignorance, doesn’t have a doubt in the world about her messianic calling, that it makes anyone of decency feel nauseated — spiritually, emotionally and physically ill.

I say that with love. As we say in Texas. (Also, we say, ‘Bless her heart.’)

We felt this grief and nausea during the run-up to the war in Iraq. We felt it after the 2004 election. And now we feel it again.

But since there are still six weeks until the election, and since the stakes are as high as the sky, which should definitely not be forced to endure four more years of the same, we have got to get a grip. There are millions of people to register to vote, millions of dollars to be raised. We really cannot go around feeling flat and defeated, with the need to metabolize the rotten meat that this one particular candidate and the media have forced upon us.

One of the tiny metabolic suggestions I have to offer — if, like me, you choose not to have her name on your lips, like an oozy cold sore (I say that with love) — is to check out a Web site called the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator. There you can find out what she and her husband would have named you if you had been their baby. My name, Anne, for instance, would be Krinkle Bearcat. John, her running mate, would be named Stick Freedom. George would be Crunk Petrol. And so on.

First of all, go find out what your own name would be. Then for one day refuse to use the name of these people who are so damaging to earth and to our very souls — so, ‘I don’t have to understand anything, it’s all fuzzy math. Trust me. I’m the decider.’

From now on, when working for Obama, talk about Obama, talk about his policies, the issues, the economy, the war in Iraq, poverty, the last eight years, Joe Biden. You don’t have to mention Crunk Petrol, or his sidekick, Shaver Razorback. And you sure as hell don’t have to mention Claw Washout — she is absolutely, hands-down the most ludicrous person ever to be nominated. She’s a ‘South Park’ character. There was a mix-up. Mistakes were made.

Everything you need to know about how to bear up during these two months is already inside you. Go within: Work on your own emotional acre. Stand still, and hurt, and feel crazy. Then drink a lot of water, pray, meditate, rest. Rest is a spiritual act. Now, I am a reform Christian, so it is permissible for me to secretly believe that God hates this woman, too. I heard God slam down a couple of shooters while she was talking the other night.

Figure out one thing you can do every single day to be a part of the solution, concentrating on swing states. Money, walking precincts, registering voters, whatever. This is the only way miracles ever happen — left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe. The great novelist E.L. Doctorow once said that writing a novel is like driving at night with the headlights on: You can only see a little ways in front of you, but you can make the whole journey this way. It is the truest of all things; the only way to write a book, raise a child, save the world.

As my anonymous pal Krinkle Bearcat once wrote: Laughter is carbonated holiness. It is chemo. So do whatever it takes to keep your sense of humor. Rent Christopher Guest movies, read books by Roz Chast and Maira Kalman. Picture Stick Freedom in his Batman underpants, having one of his episodes of rage alone in one of his seven bedrooms. Or having one of his bathroomy little conversations with Froth Moonshine. (Bless their hearts.) Try to remember that even Karl Rove has accused him of being a lying suck.

Reread everything Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower ever wrote. Write down that great line of Molly’s, that ‘freedom fighters don’t always win, but they’re always right.’ Tape it next to your phone.

Call the loneliest person you know. Go flirt with the oldest person at the bookstore. Fill up a box with really cool clothes that you haven’t worn in a year, and take it to a thrift shop. Take gray water outside and water whatever is growing on your deck. This is not a bad metaphor to live by. I think it is why we are here.

Drink more fluids. And take very gentle care of yourself and the people you most love: We need you now more than ever.

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Filed under Art, Community Projects, Events, Female, Flickr, Fundraiser, Global concerns, Inspiration, Mosaic, Murals, Politics, Portraiture, Public Art, Rant, Round the World, Signage, Uncategorized, Urban, USA, Wall Hanging

Artist Watch: Judit Bozsár

I’m trying to make a disconcerted effort to include artists from all over the world here and have noticed many of the artists featured so far are from the US. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… as Seinfeld might say 🙂 but in keeping with the effort of making this as international as I can, I introduce you to Dr Judit Bozsár who was born in Hodmezovasarhely, Hungary and now resides in Pilisvorosvar, just outside Budapest, Hungary. She is known as stiglice on Flickr, one of my preferred stomping grounds.

Now I know there is a very lively mosaic community in Hungary because I have had alot of hits from atleast one mosaic forum, and alas have not been able to understand a single word that is said. 😦 I still marvel at the fact that we English speaking countries have very often only the one language, whereas every single non-English speaking country that I have travelled to, bar one, had some English.

After being a slave her whole life to her watch, Judit retired as a research scientist of veterinary medicine back in May. Nowadays she enjoys “going to bed, getting up, eating, strolling in the garden, playing with mosaics, with my grandchildren, with my animals, etc. whenever I feel like doing so.” 🙂 I’ve always said I can’t wait to retire! lol…

Judit has been making mosaics now for 3 years and it has pretty much taken over her home as she states: “No room is singled out yet to be furnished as a workshop, so I am forced to litter the house with my treasure of half-made pieces, china and glass shards: cellar, garage, my former study, the guest room (the only one with an appropriately positioned window), wherever I can…”.

When I asked her if she had any advice on making mosaics, her response was first and foremost having a spouse who does not mind but does care. 😉 Acquire some very good tools, browse the internet, see as many mosaics as you can, find all the websites and blogs of as many artists as you can. Learn from everyone kind enough to share his/her knowledge – “and be as grateful to them as I am”. Have patience, do not feel you are wasting your time with more important tasks waiting … Do not let your failures disappoint you rather learn from them. Study the properties and descriptions of the used materials carefully, enabling your work to stand the test of time in both senses. Be courageous in your experiments, “except when you are working on a commission.” Food for thought and then some…

In recent years, her life has undergone many positive changes that she now feels there are too few hours in the day to do everything she is interested in. “At long last I can live in a large garden with as much domestic and wildlife around me as I like. I am enthralled with all forms of LIFE from those lovely spiders’ nets through the teeming plant life to the titmice brooding in their birdhouses … Since I was given my first digital camera, photography has also been a standard hobby.”

Judit’s first grandchild was born a year and a half ago and was followed by two more: “…they are opening up a new world for me, one very different from what I and my two sons used to live in”. Her other passions are reading and gardening, though these two suffer most since discovering mosaics.

Judit is self-taught and has learnt, and is still learning, everything through the web. She is ultimately very grateful to all those who have supported her in her newfound passion – her husband who encourages rather than sneers; to her Hungarian mosaic friends who introduced her to this medium and whose constructive criticism is a huge help; to her virtual friends at flickr who leave supportive comments; and last but not least “to those colleagues, friends and relatives who remember me whenever they break a plate or cup or renew their bathrooms and thus keep supplying me with much of my precious basic materials…”. 🙂

Judit’s website is still being constructed and you can also see her work on her flickr account.

Now for the nity gritty! You’ll see why I love her mosaics. She is one of the most versatile mosaic artists that I’ve come across…

Finally meet Judit…

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Building, Cafe, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Judit Bozsar, Mandala, Mosaic, Murals, Public Art, Signage, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

Mosaics in New Zealand

One of my friends went to NZ late last year for a family holiday and came back with all these pictures of some gorgeous mosaics. I love that! So many of my friends notice mosaics now 🙂

Unfortunately, don’t know anything about these installations. They appear to be made from ceramic and the ones on the ground can be found in a town called Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty. The toilet block can be found in Colville. Amazed that anyone would be bothered to make such a mural on a toilet block. It’s rather refreshing…

Anyone know anything about it, please let me know!

Mosaic Pavement

Mosaic Pavement

Mosaic Pavement

Mosaic Pavement

Mosaic Pavement

Toilet Block Mosaic

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Building, Flickr, Floor, Mosaic, Murals, New Zealand, Pavement, Public Art, Round the World, Signage, Travel, Uncategorized

Artist Watch: Cristina Colli

I first came across Cristina’s work via the Mosaic Yearbook in 2006 (her work is also featured in the 2007 collection). Her two pieces submitted in the 2006 Yearbook spoke volumes to me – I understood her sensibility in design and loved the inspiration. I was pleasantly surprised when she started posting to the yahoo groups and when her website went up.

Though Cristina now resides in Ireland, she is Italian and spent most of her life in Tuscany in a small coastal town near Siena, Florence and Rome. Her fascination with art began as a young girl when she would visit these cities, spending time in museums and old buildings and, as she says, breathing in the art. Venice, a city full of art, was yet another place that enthralled her. She particularly loved watching the artists working with glass, a material she has always been fascinated with.

Her Uncle is a painter and she would spend hours just watching him paint or examining his art books, the smell of linseed oil and turpentine in the air. She writes “Art Nouveau enthralled me, I love curves and organic shapes and forms. Klimt is one of my favourite artists ever. I also love Gaudì, I remember being in Barcelona and admiring Casa Batlò, Parc Guell, la Sagrada Familia… I love Islamic Art, too, and I was fascinated by the Alhambra in Andalucia.”

Crisitina’s formal education is actually in accounting and she worked in a bank for over 10 years, killing her creativity in the process. The year 2000 seemed to be a pivotal point in her life when she packed up and moved to Dublin with her husband. It was then she decided on a career change. She enrolled in an Interior Design course at the Dublin Institute of Design and it was here that she discovered mosaics. The students were asked to make a mosaic – a mirror frame inspired by art. She bought herself the necessary tools, her first mosaic book (Decorative Mosaics by Elaine Goodwin) and read and read to grasp the technique. What resulted was Moon Mirror. Her second project was a table, inspired by Islamic art. She fell in love with mosaics and has not looked back since, starting her mosaic business in February of 2007

The aspects she loves most about mosaic are its tactile quality, the slow, almost meditative nature of creating a mosaic, the fact that fragments are assembled together to create a whole, and its permanence and durability. Cristina is captivated by colour, shape, texture and light reflectivity, which she is constantly exploring to bring a sense of movement and fluidity to her art.

Her inspiration comes from her emotions, her vision of the world and her observation of nature. Cristina incorporates lots of different materials into her work – vitreous glass, ceramic, stained glass, mirror, smalti, gold, rocks, beads, millefiori, mother-of-pearl, slate, minerals, the list goes on. Cristina says “every time I go for a walk at the beach I always look for interesting shells, pebbles, rocks, fragments of china, beach glass…even my husband helps! Sometimes he comes back for a walk with a shell, a flat stone, bits of slate fallen off a roof…I like to integrate these one-off pieces in my art, and I also like the recycling element, or the fact that you can incorporate mementos from childhood or holidays, odd pieces of jewellery, bits of metal…”

Cristina is a member of the British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM). Her work has been exhibited in:
Italy, Tuscany – June 2006 – Art & Craft Exhibition in Marina di Grosseto
U.K., York, York Minster – BAMM Miniature Exhibition “Symbols of Faith”, September 2006
U.K., Fishbourne Roman Palace – BAMM Exhibition “Inspired by Rome”, July-August 2007

Her work was not only published in the catalogues of both BAMM Exhibitions but was also featured in the advertising posters. She has also been chosen to take part in a group blog of Irish artists.

Curently, Cristina is working on a piece for the BAMM miniature exhibition “Waterways” which will be held in London in September and October 2008. She is also experimenting on a small 3D piece using fibreglass mesh, thinset and polystyrene (to make the sculpture) which she will then mosaic. I look forward to seeing her new work!!!

“Reaching for the Dream symbolises the universal search for our Dream. In this quest, we encounter obstacles and resistance (background movement portraying strong water currents) but also hidden treasures of clarity, seeds of growth and joy (millefiori, silver).”

“Emergence is a metaphor of the effort to break the outer shell (slate) and be true to my Self, trusting my inner voice (smalti and gold) and allowing it to speak.”

This piece is a celebration of a spiritual rebirth…

Roman Rosette

House Number – I love how Cristina can make something as simple as a house sign look just as delightful as her fine art mosaics.

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Filed under Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Cristina Colli, Mosaic, Signage, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

Disneyland Mosaics

While in CA, we took the kids to Disneyland. Their first time and my 1st time as a parent… It’s an odd place I tells ya. I had a load of fun, but it’s an odd place! Of course what I did notice all over everywhere were the mosaics. In Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney. See?! It is an odd place. It’s like a city all it’s own! I was rather taken aback at the money spinner that it is. Here we are with global poverty, shortages on basic foods and then here in the West there’s Disneyland, where I don’t know how many tens of thousands of dollars get turned over in a day. Kinda crazy. But that’s not the point of this post… “The Happiest Place on Earth”, perhaps. But something about that slogan makes me feel uneasy. I have to say thank goodness the ride known as “It’s a Small World After All” was closed for construction. That ride is trippy! Don’t know if I could have done that one all over again… lol!

It was pretty awe inspiring just how much detail in everything there is. First of all it’s really clean. I mean like really clean. People that worked there were friendly. Everything just ran really well. The amount of organisation that must go into creating and maintaining something like that is, in itself, quite remarkable. And to top it all off, every night they had fireworks that far surpass the New Year’s Fireworks we get here!!! Every night! Certainly alot of fun to be had. We went with extended family, and it’s definitely a lot more enjoyable in a large group 🙂 Makes all that waiting around doable…

There were some beautiful mosaics. I have no idea who made any of them so this post will just be a bit of a visual feast. Plenty more in my Disney Mosaics Flickr set… There are some hardcore families who seem to go a lot. I don’t know if that’s me, in fact I know it’s not!!! By the third day (of all of us looking out for 6 young kids) I was holding L’s hand and suddenly looked around, panicked, blood drained from my face and I screamed out “Where’s L!!!?”. I knew it was time to leave. 😉

Waterlily Fountain

Something Silver Mosaic
Such a perfect use of mirror!!! This mosaic quite literally sparkled…

Naples Pizza Mosaic Floor
The floor entrance to Naples Pizza, in Downtown Disney.

Sunflower Fountain
Detail shot of the Sunflower Fountain at the entrance of Disneyland.

Mosaic Benches

Sun Fountain

Catalina Casino Mosaic

Disney Mosaic

Disney Mosaic

Disney Mosaic - floor detail

Disney's California Adventure Park Mosaic Mural

Disney's California Adventure Park Mosaic Mural
Gorgeous hand made tiles it seems… This mountainous mural flanked both sides of the entrance to Disney’s CA Adventure Park. It depicted everything that CA is famous for… Really a fantastic mural!

Aladdin's Mosaic
The mosaic on the floor to Aladdin’s theatre in Disneyland. Didn’t go in to see the performance but this mosaic certainly caught my eye…

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