For mosaic makers our ‘representative body’ is BAMM – British Association for Modern Mosaic. It was founded in 1999 and exists to promote, encourage and support excellence in contemporary mosaic art.
Yesturday I went to their AGM and Forum at Kings College on the South Bank, London. Leaving the house at 7am I was in central London bright and extremely early, grabbing a coffee and croissant at Prets before registration.
Although at bit apprehensive as I had not been before, everyone was very welcoming, friendly and helpful. I met a couple of people I know, Sue and Kitty, and also met some new people, Sally, Karen and Viv – newcomers like myself.
It was a fantastic day, very inspiring and informative with some amazing speakers. Among them were Luciana Notturni from Italy who founded the Mosaic Art School in Ravenna which is recognised as a centre of mosaic excellence. Norma Vondee (President of BAMM) talked about creativity and expression showing some lovely examples of her work.
Laurel True was over from New Orleans to talk about her ‘Global Mosaic Project’. A truly inspirational and enthusiastic speaker who has done an amazing range of community mosaics over a 25 year period including working with people in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and in Haiti after the earthquakes. Through her projects she has worked with hundreds of people and helped to provide job training and arts education to underserved communities in urban environments and developing areas. Her range of work and projects was amazing and very humbling. Having dipped my toe into community projects when I worked with The Log Cabin, it made me keen to get involved in more so if anyone out there wants to talk about a project, do send me an email and we can talk.
The last speaker was Karen Ami who founded and is the Executive Director of the Chicago Mosaic School, the first school for mosaic arts in the Americas. A very enthusiastic and lively speaker, her subject was ‘Practice and Process in the Mosaic Studio’ which we could all identify with. As well as giving us all great tips, ideas and encouragement, it made me realise how lucky I am to have a dedicated work space to make my mosaics.
The ‘full on’ day wound up with a raffle, awards for ‘best mosaic’ and best ‘mega mosaic’. There was a ‘market place’ where I made some modest purchases and a ‘Working Wall’ where people could showcase their work. By the end of the day myself and my new found mosaic friends felt like part of the BAMM Family. I signed up as a ‘Professional Member’ before I came away because having had such a great day, I definitely want to be part of this inspiring, and supportive group.