Category Archives: Commissions

Review of 2018

As the year is rapidly disappearing and it will soon be time to focus on the festive season, I thought it would be a good time to look back on 2018.

The year started in January with me agreeing to join the Ealing Art Trail (BEAT) Committee. I had taken part in BEAT 2017 and was so impressed with how well it had been organised that I said to Kitty I would be happy to do the odd job to help out.  Kitty said she would really like me to join the Committee and although I didn’t really want to, how can you say no to Kitty! So reluctantly I joined as the self appointed ‘Brochure Queen’ and I have to say it has been a great experience. A lovely, dedicated, focussed team of people, who got on with the job and delivered another great BEAT event in 2018. Needless to say I will be staying on the 2019 Committee.

Brand New Studio – yipppeee

Early in the year I had my studio refurbished in order to give me more work space and I have been putting it to the test. I have 2 large work areas as well as a small desk/computer area and loads of shelf space for tiles, materials and all my paperwork. The layout works perfectly and I am able to work on several pieces at the same time. This was especially useful when I received my 2 large commissions in the summer and was able to accommodate and work on both of them. As I seem to be moving towards larger work the extra workspace is proving to be essential.

BEAT Ealing Art Trail was a great success for me again this year. People say that your 2nd year is not usually as good as the first but I found this not to be the case. I had more visitors, made more sales and had more people interested in lessons.

Following on from the success of BEAT I have had a spate of giving Beginner’s Mosaic lessons to people who came to view my work, liked what they saw and wanted to have a go. I really enjoy teaching people a new skill and as I work with small groups of 3/4 people at a time, there is lots of 1-2-1 time and I am able to give everyone my full attention and encouragement. As several people have asked for an intermediate lesson I am currently working on that so I hope to  come back in the New Year with some dates.

Hilary and Pauline with the Marple Mosaic

You may remember my lovely ladies who I made the Marple Mosaic for. We have all become good friends and this year we saw them 4 times! Which proves that a mosaic is not just for Christmas but for life! On their last visit I was able to present them with their joint birthday present – a Tree of Life mosaic. They were delighted with the piece and have already decided where it will go. I am looking forward to seeing a picture of it in situ.

Hours of fun

So another great mosaic year. I seem to be moving to bigger pieces, larger commissions and I have a fancy to try some 3D mosaic art next. I am still in 2 galleries: North East Art Collective and the Tower House Gallery which have regular sales and BEAT is now a fixed event on the calendar and my main showcase. So keep reading my Blog and do sign up to my Facebook Page to get regular news – always accompanied with a mosaic picture.

 

The Triptych Commission

At BEAT 2017 I got talking with a visitor who was very interested in discussing an outside mosaic project with me. She described the area  where she wanted it to go and we spent a long time playing around with various ideas and options.  Potential commissions are always very exciting at this stage as you can dream up all sorts of weird and wonderful things and they may or may not happen so the sky’s the limit.

2017 BEAT Profile piece

I had a picture in my mind of where the mosaic would go but as I didn’t hear anything over the next few months it was pushed to the back of my mind as other things took over.  However, in May this year I got a call “you won’t remember me…..” but of course I did. We arranged for me to go round and meet Sibel (who was also a BEAT artist) and we did a site visit – well it was nothing like I imagined, in fact it was an altogether much better location in her beautiful large garden surrounded by trees.

Sibel was very clear that she wanted a triptych as she had seen my ‘profile piece’ from BEAT and wanted something similar but on a much, much larger scale.  We agreed on all the details that morning and shook hands on the deal – something I still do – once a business women, always a business women.

I decided to make the piece on Hardie Bakker Board (also known as cement board) as is it perfect for outside and sturdy enough for the size of the mosaic.  I did a basic sketch which Sibel approved and then one of my favourite parts – shopping for the materials.

When I make a triptych I work horizontally so I always need all three pieces in situ. Now normally this is not a problem when I work on my studio but as it was our best summer since 1976 I wanted to be working outside in the sunshine as much as possible. So poor old Mosaic Roadie Alan had to carry this massive 3 part piece in and out of the house on a daily basis – obviously the more I mosaiced, the heavier it got!

I sent Sibel progress photos on a regular basis and she also had visiting rights.  The first parts I made were the tree and the boat and I was keen that Sibel was happy with those two focal points. We also had more site visits so that Alan could check how he was going to install the completed mosaic.

Almost there

It did end up taking me longer than I expected – partly because I ran out of sky tiles which was the last part I did. This entailed an emergency dash to West Norwood to see James at Mosaic Workshop – luckily he had what I wanted in stock. Once the mosaicing was complete it was onto grouting. Ironically grouting is such a messy job I usually do it outside but by now it was October and very cold. So in and out I went with the triptych again while it was grouted and cleaned – that part took 10 hours so you can get an idea why this was such a long project!

Sibel had been insistent that I had the mosaic on display for BEAT 2018 which was incredibly kind of her – it certainly was a statement piece at BEAT and people couldn’t ignore it. How will I match that next year!

So the final and crucial part was the installation.  Off we went with mosaic, electric drill and spirit level. It’s hard enough hanging a heavy piece anyway, let alone keeping it straight. This triptych gave us a treble challenge especially as it was going onto a brick wall that was quite uneven. So after a bit of chipping away,  and making sure it was straight, Alan screwed it to the wall.  I then returned the next day to fill the screw holes with mosaic and then grout them. A final clean and polish with my trusty duster and we are done!  Whew, Client delighted, Mosaic Artist relieved, pleased and proud, Mosaic Roadie delighted to have his dining room table back.

Sibel’s Triptych

The Bird and Flower Commission

Commissions are sometimes like buses – nothing for a while then 2 arrive at once!

The 2 new arrivals are both very different to what I normally do and to each other so I was very excited about the new challenges.

My friend Sarah, who lives locally and follows me on Facebook, called to say she wanted to commission me for a very specific piece so we arranged for her to come round to discuss the details. She arrived with a beautiful piece of material from her new curtains.  As always I had a lot of questions: size, matt or shiny, framed or not, indoor/outside, budget etc. Once we sorted out the detail we could then move onto the exciting part – selecting the tiles.

Sarah wanted me to re-create the picture from her curtains – a humming bird among flowers. This was a big challenge for me as I don’t often do pictures – I am usually an abstract girl, interpreting something rather than copying it. Also as we were reproducing the picture we needed a perfect colour match.

I got some lovely Mexican tiles which are rich in colour and texture and are very nice to cut and shape. I also decided to use glass to get the length in the bird tail and flower leaves. The background would be matt ceramic tiles which would bring out the vibrancy of the Mexican tiles and glass.

I traced the bird from the material, scaled it up and got to work on that first as it was the main part of the picture. I then worked on the flowers, buds and stems. As always the background went in last.

 

I am really pleased with the completed piece and so is Sarah. The mosaic is hanging up and looks great on a white brick wall, complimenting (and matching) the curtains. It was a very different style and colour palette to what I would normally do but I really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone to make the piece and I learnt a lot along the way.

p.s. we both agreed to change the beak – it wasn’t me using artistic licence!

Sarah bought the material from John Lewis, it is called Menagerie by Blendworth Furnishing Ltd,

The curtains were made by Sarah’s friend  Zandra Russell who runs her own business www.zandrarussell.co.uk

 

 

 

BEAT 2018 – A Successful Event

I really enjoyed taking part again in the BEAT Ealing Art Trail 2018.

As it was my second BEAT and there were 100 new artists this year, I really didn’t expect to have many people come along to my venue. However, I had 260 visitors – 10 more than last year! I made a lot of a sales, took 2 small, 1 large  commissions and had 30 people wanting more information on the beginners mosaic lessons that I run. So all in all a great success.

Again, everyone who visited was really interested in my work and as I had a demonstration piece on display, I could show them the various stages involved in mosaic making. It was especially nice to have return visitors from last year who brought their friends and were keen to see what new work I had developed during the year.

New Fishy Theme

New Fishy Theme

After the event I had one day to wrap and deliver my sales. I then went away for a well deserved rest. However, on returning yesturday I walked in to a house which still resembled a Gallery, bare rooms without any furniture, brochures scattered everywhere and bunting to be put away. As there are so many empty wall hooks it may be time to decorate!

We have a committee meeting on Monday so after having a de-brief on the event, I am sure we will start talking about BEAT 2019!

Thank you to everyone who came to see me and supported the event. Well done to all the artists who took part and congratulations to my fellow committee members in achieving another great BEAT Ealing Art trail 2018.

EALING ART TRAIL – In 2 Weeks Time

BEATING the drum

The BEAT Ealing Art Trail event is picking up momentum and is taking place in 2 weeks time.

BEAT – Borough of Ealing Art Trail, is taking place over 2 weekends in September 7th, 8th, 9th and 14th, 15th, 16th.  I am delighted to be taking part again this year. I will be at   VENUE 84.

The brochure is being distributed far and wide, and we are also keen to get it out and about in other London Boroughs.  Its a lovely pocket size A6 full colour brochure that shows all the artists with an individual profile, information and opening times, maps and anything else you may need to know about the event. If you want a brochure or if you can take a batch to your work place, school, community group, sports team etc. just give me a shout. The more we get out the better. We have 100 new artists displaying their artwork this year so there will be something for everyone.

2018 Show Piece

There is also a great website that has all the above info for visitors and lots of helpful advice and tips for us artists including how we can all make the best use of Social Media to promote ourselves. www.ealingbeat.org.uk

Along with showing my work I will have mosaics and cards for sale.

2017 Demo Piece

I will also be working on a demonstration piece – a large mirror mosaic with an underwater theme. Last year I was working on my Tree of Life which proved very popular. It gives a good insight into materials and technique for mosaicing.

I will also be taking names for people that would like a “One Day Introduction Mosaic Lesson.” Last year 20 people signed up and learnt the basics.

Introduction Mosaic Lessons

As this is my 2nd BEAT I want to make it as interesting as possible for new and returning visitors, as well as enjoying the experience myself. Exhibiting for 2 weekends is exhausting but great fun and I have learnt a few tips to help me enjoy the experience even more this time around.

So back to my studio now to continue making mosaics and planning and plotting on how to display everything.  See you in 2 weeks!

 

 

Mosaic Anniversary

My First Mosaic

Today is my mosaic anniversary.  Eleven years ago I met Julia for the first time who introduced me to mosaics. The story is well documented but I still smile when on leaving she said to my hubbie Alan “You won’t believe what she has got into” and I said “No, I ‘ve made one mosaic but I don’t think I’ll be doing anymore”  Talk about famous last words!!!

Since then I have made hundreds of mosaics – it would be interesting to know exactly how many but it is impossible to count them all. I have exhibited at a National Trust property 3 times, had several commissions, been part of Richmond Open Studios twice and this year is my second time in BEAT Ealing Art Trail. I have given lessons and talks on mosaics as well as working on a 2 year community project.  I am in 2 galleries, a professional member of BAMM (British Association for Modern Mosaics) and I have also appeared on TV. So much for my blasé comment to Julia!

Log Cabin Community Project

I often wonder what I would have done had I not got into mosaics. There is no doubt that I spend a lot of time not only making them, but also thinking about them, planning, designing, updating my website and Facebook. Wondering what new areas they can take me to……..an RHS Garden Show would be a dream come true – I’m just putting it out there!

But for me the most important thing was that eventually I found my artistic medium. So, have a look at my short video to follow my journey so far.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE

Review of 2017

As 2017 is drawing to a close this seems an ideal time for my annual review.

My First Mosaic

It has been a busy, challenging and enjoyable mosaic year for me. A significant highlight being I reached the 10 year anniversary of mosaic making – which all started with that small coaster made in Julia’s outdoor  studio. I will be celebrating this along with setting out my ideas for my 11th year in 2018.

So highlights for 2017 include:

A visit to Stoke on Trent to have an “Adhesive and Grout Training Day” by  BAL British Adhesvives Ltd. We also teamed this with visiting our friends Sara and Lisa in nearby Penkhull. As they are members of Doomsday Morris this tied in neatly with my Green Man mosaic making phase.

 

BEAT Ealing Art Trail was a great event for me with over 260 visitors. I loved being involved in this event and will certainly be taking part next year.

 

As well as giving a lot of one day Beginners Mosaic Lessons‘, I have had several commissions – 2 of them birthday presents for ‘Mother-in-Laws’. I have also ventured into making  ‘glass-on’glass’ pieces which I have really enjoyed and would like to develop more next year. Here is a selection of favourite 2017 pieces.

 

So I think I can now put my ‘nippers’ and ‘tesserae’ down and take a well earned break and start on the Christmas activities. Thank you for your support and encouragement during the year. I will see you all again early in 2018.

Enjoy the festivities.

Rufus Reindeer

 

 

 

Kingfisher Commission

I recently got a phone call from my sister’s sister-in-law. She wanted to commission me to make a piece for her daughter-in-law’s mother’s special birthday (phew).

The initial phone call was quite straight forward “Can I commission you to make a mosaic” – “yes of course, what would you like” – “something for Pam’s birthday, she likes bright colours”.  It was at that stage that I suggested we have another call later on so we could discuss various things that needed to be considered and agreed.

Getting the idea for the commission from a client is usually quite simple as the person either knows exactly what they want or they have some idea (a Bird….. maybe a Parakeet…… definitely a Kingfisher).  However, there are always lots of other factors to take into account e.g.

  • Budget
  • What style will it be – picture, abstract, contemporary, traditional
  • Colours
  • Effect: matt, glass, shiny, full bling effect or a combination of all
  • Size
  • Inside or outdoors
  • Frame or not
  • If outdoors will it hang or screw to the wall/trellis, be set into brickwork
  • Timescale

All the above are key to establish in order for me to use the correct type of backing board and glues. Once I know the answers to all of the above I can give a price.

Now we can start on the piece. Although a lot of my work is ‘freestyle,’ for a commission I will sketch it out roughly (as I have very basic drawing skills).  The client sometimes wants to see the sketch and will make changes, suggestions or may totally change their mind (grrr!). Once we discussed ideas for her design, Jean did let me have a totally free reign – which, to be honest I prefer then I can tweak or change as I go along and the piece takes shape.

Once the piece was made I delivered it in person and Jean saw her commission for the first time.  Happily there was a good ‘wow’ factor and I know she was pleased with the piece.

I have since heard that Pam was delighted as well so another successful commission.

 

 

 

BEAT – A Successful Event

I really enjoyed taking part in the BEAT Ealing Art Trail over the past 2 weekends.

I had 250 visitors, made quite a few sales, took several orders for commissions and had a lot of people showing an interest in a mosaic beginners lesson.

All the people that visited seemed really interested and impressed with my mosaics art, especially the range and style of work. My newest venture – glass on glass – was very popular so I will certainly be making more of those.

A huge THANK YOU goes to the BEAT Committee for putting it all together and all the volunteers and helpers who got the brochures and publicity out, regular updates on social media and all the other one million and one things needed to put on an event of this scale.

I am already saying ‘when’ I do it next year rather than ‘if’.

 

North East Art Collective Goes LIVE

For the past 2 years I have been displaying my mosaic art in the North East Art Collective in Newcastle.

They first opened the doors to their unique gallery in 2010 and now display the work of over 150 of the North Easts most amazing talents. Tardis like, they have 11 display rooms which showcase art in all mediums.

Ships and Poppies

Hidden in the heart of Eldon Garden, a shopping centre in Newcastle upon Tyne, they offer a ‘not on the high street’ presence. They  are the essence of Art, Culture and Luxury, but unlike most they don’t pick artists for their names and monetary values but select them based on their talent. Standards are high and quality is even higher.

Over the last few months all the artists have been receiving regular emails from Managing Director John and Front of House Manager Gabby, requesting pictures of all our work, sizes, descriptions, artists profile etc. This is because they were working tirelessly on getting the new website up and ready for the launch which took place on Friday 25th August.

Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing

Do have a look at their website – it is a fantastic site, very user friendly and easy to navigate. You can search by artist, price range, medium, style of work. But most importantly, people are now able to buy our artwork on-line! This opens up our potential marketplace literally world wide. Who knows where my mosaics might end up!