Tag Archives: Travel

Laurel True’s Renegade Mosaic in New Orleans

Wihoo! Check this out… Felt the need to share this with all of you, some of whom I’m sure have already seen it. Laurel True‘s latest mosaic mural is a community project down in New Orleans. She mentioned she was heading down after the mural intensive I took part in. She has such energy, I love it… Needless to say I felt the need to leave this post in her own words, so here it is…


Hey there!

I just wanted to send a few pics of the mosaic mural we are working on in New Orleans! I got hired to do a renegade mosaic wall mural and involve community members/ neighbors in the process.

We are finishing the background tomorrow and grouting on Saturday. All the places inside the giant circles will be left blank for other artists to come later and paint/ collage/ mosaic/ whatever to make it a kind of neighborhood conversation in visual art.

My friends Tai, Theo and Danit (all visiting) had a hand in the mural. Tai and Theo made graffiti- style inclusions with me and Danit jumped into her first mosaic project (in all the years we have been friends) during her visit and even mosaiced on her birthday. She really knows how to nip now 😉

As you can see, the Jackster is working on being a good job site dog and the pink truck is ok in place of a pickup..

I am headed back to Oakland, leaving Nola on Sunday or Monday.. Boo hoo!

But will be glad to get back into the studio to tackle all the summer projects.


Almost all the materials were locally sourced, donated by neighbors and/or recycled or purchased at Habitat for Humanity Reuse Center… Yay!

How cool is that?! Check out these pics, it’s gorgeous and she’s such a Swirl-Ho 🙂

The Renegade Mosaic Mural

The Renegade Mosaic Mural

The Renegade Mosaic Mural

The Renegade Mosaic Mural

The Renegade Mosaic Mural

The Renegade Mosaic Mural

The Renegade Mosaic Mural

Fun, huh?!



Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Community Projects, Female, Flickr, Inspiration, Laurel True, Mosaic, Murals, New Orleans, Public Art, Round the World, Travel, Uncategorized, Urban

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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Filed under Abstract, Architectural Installations, Art, Building, Cafe, Flickr, Floor, Flowers, Fountains, Garden Mosaics, Inspiration, Kids, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, Murals, Park, Pavement, Pools, Public Art, Round the World, Signage, Sunflower, Travel, Uncategorized, Wall Hanging

Mosaic Mural – My 1st Group Project

One of the main reasons for me heading over to the US was to participate in the mural intensive workshop offered at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland, CA. It was FUN!!! It’s all I can say about it really. The workshop took place over a week and there were seven of us – 2 of us came from OS (me being from Australia and another from Canada), 2 others from interstate, 1 from Southern CA and then 2 locally. So we were a diverse mix, not only of location but also in mosaic background. Laurel True facilitated the entire project, right down to designing the mural in advance. Our first day there the mural map was up on the wall, colour coded and all! Seeing it up there did not give me an idea of the work involved until we actually started setting tile. I had an idea of how murals were done, theoretically speaking, but given the opportunity to actually DO it and also be given all of Laurel’s tips along the way was a true gift (pardon the pun, Laurel). 😀 It was also incredibly enjoyable working with other artists. Talk about no pressure! We all got stuck into it immediately, setting tile by the second day.

The mural was made from high fire ceramic and mirror. I’d worked with high fire before and it is work getting it cut the way you like. Most of the tile was just broken tile, but alot had to be carved too. I think I’m a helluva lot better at cutting high fire now 😉 I even had the torn blisters to prove it… I feel all hardcore, lol!

I really enjoyed watching others work too: how they set their tile, cut the tile etc… It’s all very interesting to me since I’ve always worked alone, and am self taught. I’m amazed really that the finished mural looks as seamless as it does considering the scope of people who worked on it and offered assistance here and there. You wouldn’t know really that there were so many people involved. All the sections just fit together. What makes a project like this such a success I think. I guess that’s the upside to using predominantly broken tile too. I would have liked to have seen all of our work before hand. It would have been really interesting to see how, I’m sure, we all differ and yet are able to come together to work on a single project.

It turns out that two of the participants I “knew” – yet more evidence that the international mosaic community is soooo small ( I mean that in the sense that all the mosaic related forums have alot of the same members, it’s great!) . Pam Goode was a flickr friend that I can now call a real friend… she’s not imaginary anymore either! (Got to meet alot of my efriends this time around, that’s another post…) I love Pam’s work, and she’s as gorgeous as what she creates. Also there was Jill Montgomery whose work I’d seen on one of the Yahoo forums. By the second day I’d put two and two together… Her work is also amazing! Definitely check out their websites! Suzanne was a mosaic beginner, though clearly an established artist. Karla was loads of fun and had only ever worked with smalti. Carol, as I understand, was the IMA-Ho in the class. I so would be too if I lived down the road from them… 😉 Renata, the other Commonwealth Cohabitant, was also an established mosaic artist. We’d often look at each other wondrously when everyone started talking inches, feet or fahrenheit… lol! I think I have the inches and feet down pat, basically, but farhenheit I just simply can’t get an understanding for. It really means very little to me. Renata had it right: she came for a month and just fit in a bunch of different classes.

The background on the project was fairly straightforward. For this class Laurel donates the murals to local small businesses and non-profits. This time she chose a coffee shop a couple blocks away. I guess it was a cafe that has changed hands a number of times in the time that Laurel has been in this particular neighbourhood. So in the design process she decided immediately that she didn’t want it to be so specific… The business is called Kefa Coffee. I understand that Kefa is a province in southwest Ethiopia. The owners are Ethiopian and specialise in Ethiopian coffee, but their menu is not Ethiopian food (which I will say is delish). We all chowed down the BLTs there, serious yum fest!!!! So design inspiration came about from Ethiopia and coffee basically!!!

Anyway, it was well worth it. I realised just how much making a mural alone is not possible… Well it is as far as setting the tile (though I’d be setting tile for a really loooong freakin’ time!!!), but actually installing it would be physically impossible and a nightmare. I have a couple murals lined up and this was just the jolt I needed to knock me out of lala land and get with the reality of managing a large scale project on my own. I’m certainly going to change my original plan, I think… 😉

Laurel is a great instructor and a wonderful, fun person. Very animated and all the techy talk was so inspiring (talk to your tile and tell it what you want (at the frustration of not getting the tile cut the way we wanted!!!), BOMP!!!! etc…) LMAO! She’s a classic 🙂 She also talked a little about her work and plans over in Ghana. Sooo interesting and it’s really refreshing to hear people give back I think. What I’d give to participate in one of her projects over there…

We also got to meet some well known mosaic artists, so the whole week was very inspired: Lillian Sizemore, Karen Thompson and Sherri Warner Hunter was there teaching her concrete form class. I almost did that class instead of this one. Looked veeery fun but I have to say I’m really glad that I did this one. Certainly where I’m going to venture into, and am able to as far as my current studio space. Watching the snowy mess coming out of Sherri’s class made me realise that there was no way I could do this just yet given the available space I own… 😉

*sigh*… wouldn’t it be lovely to travel the world doing workshop after workshop?! I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the week. I’m not a day napper, but when we finished on the Sunday I went home and promptly fell asleep. Overall just a great experience. The opportunity to participate in a large scale, group project and mosaic all day, everyday for an entire week is a memory I’ll hold close to my heart!

My Section Day 3
My section…

Pam's gorgeous work
Pam’s section: I just LOVE that hibiscus! Pam’s technique is just amazing. She puts such thought into everything involved (cutting, placement etc…). She’s truly amazing!

Day 4
The other section I made with Laurel. I cut out most of the circles… ouch! I loved watching Laurel work. She’s fast and her cutting and placement is just so perfect… gotta do the precision tile setting class!!!

Me and Pam
Me and Pam on the install day

Kefa - Coffee from Ethiopia to Jingletown 2008
Kefa – Coffee from Ethiopia to Jingletown 2008

Mural detail
Mural detail

Mural detail
Mural detail

Mural detail
Mural detail

All done!!! It’s amazing. We’re all so proud and I think we all kicked butt!
From left, Renata, Pam, Carol, Laurel, Karla, Jill, Suzanne and me.

To view more photos of the project, check out my Flickr album.

Here is the actual lowdown on the mural:

Kefa- Coffee from Ethiopia to Jingletown 2008
Ceramic tile, glass and mirror
Kefa Coffeehouse, Oakland, CA
4’ x 10’

Mosaic mural by True Mosaics Studio and students of Mosaic Mural Making Intensive at Institute of Mosaic Art. Design and facilitation by Laurel True. Production and installation by Kim Grant, Pam Goode, Jill Montgomery , Renata Kolarova, Karla Silva-Ruiz, Susannne Takehara, Laurel True and Carol Waldren

Additional production assistance by Deborah Block, Debbie Callen, Kara Graves, Delaine Hackney, Celeste Howell, Rachel Rodi and Lillian Sizemore. Handmade ceramic tile accents by Saundra Warren.


Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Building, Cafe, Events, Female, Flickr, Inspiration, Institute of Mosaic Art, Kim Grant, Laurel True, Mosaic, Murals, Oakland, Public Art, Round the World, Schools, Travel, Uncategorized, USA, Workshops

I went shopping

So I returned from my trip OS a few days back and have managed to feel somewhat human again after coming back from being on holiday. A really wonderful holiday! A holiday from also being a mother, where I got to spend time just being me. The rude shock of having to run a household on my own and be a mother again made me sick… quite literally. I was in bed with a flu over the weekend… Illness is, I’m sure, Mother Nature’s gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) nudge that we need to look after ourselves, and that wellness is something not to be taken for granted! Well it’s usually a reminder for me to slow down, take stock and look at what my priorities are.

Kids back to school today. It was also a cold, wintery day. Though I enjoy all 4 seasons the winter here is a tad too long and too cold. I do like it for it’s coziness though. It seems to bring out the homeyness in me and I find myself wanting to cook gourmet meals, cozy up to a fire (that I don’t have) and read a book.

I managed to finally unpack all my little bits and pieces of mosaic related shopping I did whilst in the US. And only one breakage, so I’m happy. Most of the products I buy in the US are things I either can’t get here or are 3 times the expense if I can. So I always stock up whenever I go over… I will whinge and complain about the price of everything in this country! I’d say on average everything costs around 3 times more than in the US. Even for things like yarn, where the wool comes from Australia, is cheaper in the US. It is beyond me why we have such high prices. Perhaps it is because “they” know that we will spend the money when we have no other option. Funny because everyone in the US was complaining about the high petrol prices ($4/gallon in CA). We’ve been paying the equivalent of around $6/gallon for at least a year… and that’s just the tip of that iceberg.

OK, I’ll stop complaining now. 🙂

So this is some new additions to my stash: Van Gogh glass, mirror tile, grout glitter, some new mini-tools, funky coloured grout, glitter tile, glue, millefiori… I don’t like shopping, generally speaking, but mosaic related shopping from the convenience of the internet is the best! It is pure therapy!!!

I went shopping


Filed under Australia, Flickr, Lifestyle, Mosaic, Rant, Round the World, Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Seoul Subway Mosaics & Glass Art

Just thought I’d finally post the remaining pictures of the mosaics I found in the Seoul subway system – I have to say a very pristine and efficient one in my opinion! And one that is so much more pleasing to the eye with the addition of mosaic murals!!! Gotta love how Seoulites embrace public art.

Seoul Subway Mosaics
I really quite likes this one because it deviated from the “norm” – most of the mosaics I saw on the subway there were worked in the grid style, opus regulatum.

Seoul Subway Mosaics
This is one of the bathrooms (!!!) at Itaewon station…

Seocho Subway Station
At Seocho station – thought this was funky!

Seoul Subway Mosaics
I wonder if this is the same artist as the first one above…

Kkot Gil - Flower Road
This mural was titled “Kkot Gil” which means “Flower Road”. Can be found at Gosok Terminal.

Tongdaemun Station Mosaic Artwork
This was at Tongdaemun Station –  a huge transfer point.

Tongdaemun Station Mosaic Artwork
Also at Tongdaemun…

Stained Glass Ceiling
A stained glass ceiling at Tongdaemun Station. Just so lovely!!! Look up as you go up or down the looooong escalators…

Seoul Subway Glasswork
Also at Itaewon Station…

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Filed under Abstract, Animals, Architectural Installations, Art, Birds, Flickr, Flowers, gridwork, Misc. Design Concepts, Mosaic, Murals, Nature, Public Art, Round the World, Seoul, South Korea, Subway, Travel, Uncategorized, Urban

Père-Lachaise Cemetery – Elizabeth

When in Paris I stayed in the Bastille Area, which as it turned out was a stone’s throw away (and then some) to the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, where Jim Morrison amongst many others are now at rest.

My good friend came to meet me from London (we hadn’t seen each other in 10 years!) and decided to mosey on over on the morning of her departure. I was glad we did actually. The grounds are simply beautiful. I suppose had we been more organised, we could have visited others too, but we weren’t. We did eventually find the grave of Jim Morrison. I was expecting it to be much grander than it was. Just a normal little grave cramped in between many others. I guess space there must be at a premium… It wasn’t as badly graffitied as I expected either. Still, it must be weird being famous, knowing that thousands of people will come to “mourn” you and leave these things all over your grave. I personally think it’s rather sad as we tend to place how we think of these people upon them, almost forcibly whether they are true or not.

Anyway, I digress… Lots of mosaic in the cemetery. This one I thought was particularly interesting. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it’s on the headstone of a little girl called Elizabeth, who died at the age of 2 along with a boy called Jean Emile. Both with the same last name, so must be siblings… I was looking at the photo last night wondering to myself if this was the mosaic portrait of the woman who died, when I realised it is in fact on the headstone of children…

I really like this mosaic. There’s something about it that really speaks volumes to me. It is feminine, there’s a sense of freedom and peace and a protectiveness about her too. She’s surrounded by an abundance of healthy, flowering plants and fruit. Just a contentment in her… It’s really wonderful.



This was an interesting  dome that was mosaiced. I’m afraid my latin is lacking so I have no idea what this says… But I really liked the Art Nouveau feel to this.


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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Cemetery, Europe, Flickr, France, Mosaic, Paris, Portraiture, Public Art, Round the World, Travel, Uncategorized

Niki de Saint Phalle at the Negresco

On to France!

When I arrived in France I really thought I would see more mosaic than I did. Of course what I did see was fantastic! This one caught my eye while driving in to Nice, down the south of France. We did a U-ee (U turn) and stopped in to take a look.

The Negresco is the “It” hotel in this region. Everyone (apparently) who is anyone has stayed at this hotel and they command some fairly hefty prices on some of their rooms. What caught my eye was this mosaic sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle right out the front. Of course Niki is just amazing, that goes without saying. This one is a mosaic sculpture of Miles Davis. Unfortunately it is not made accessible to the public, in that it has been gated off, so hands off and no close looks… However, you can get up close enough to see some detail. It’s wonderful!

Miles Davis

Miles Davis

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Filed under Art, Artists, Flickr, Inspiration, Miles Davis, Mosaic, Negresco, Nice, Niki de Saint Phalle, Public Art, Round the World, Sculpture, Travel, Uncategorized