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.
- What style will it be – picture, abstract, contemporary, traditional
- Effect: matt, glass, shiny, full bling effect or a combination of all
- Inside or outdoors
- Frame or not
- If outdoors will it hang or screw to the wall/trellis, be set into brickwork
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.
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.
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!
The BEAT Ealing Art Trail event is picking up momentum and is less than a month away. Yikes!
BEAT – Borough of Ealing Art Trail, is taking place over 2 weekends in September. I am delighted to be taking part this year and have all sorts of great ideas and specials to offer visitors that come to see me at VENUE 45.
The brochure is now available and I am distributing them far and wide, especially in the Pitshanger area. Its a lovely pocket size full colour brochure that shows all the artists with an individual profile, information on 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 and it would be nice to promote the event in other boroughs as well.
There is also a great website that has all the above info for visitors and lots of helpful advice and tips for us artists. Hints and Tips on exhibiting and how to make the most of Social Media have been particularly useful to me.
Along with showing my work I will have mosaics and cards for sale.
I will also raffle a mosaic at £1 per ticket and all the monies raised from this will be going to the Log Cabin Charity, where I made several mosaics on a voluntary basis.
As it is my fist BEAT I want to make it as interesting for visitors as possible as well as enjoying the experience myself. If you have any great ideas, or you have exhibited before and can offer me any tips do let me know. In the meantime I am busy, busy, busy making mosaics and planning and plotting on how to display everything.
Posted in Commissions, Exhibitions, Galleries and Events, Mosaic Art, Mosaic Development, Mosaic Lessons, My Mosaic Journey, Outdoor Mosaics, Rosanna Mosaic Artist, Rosanna's Mosaics
Tagged BEAT, Borough of Ealing, Ealing Art Trail, Mosaic Exhibition, Mosaic Lesson
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the MARPLE MOSAIC – 2 years old. I thought I would show you the original blog I published about the piece. Since then we have remained in regular contact with Hilary and Pauline with Skype calls and visits. I have developed a talk on the mosaic entitled ‘From Inspiration to Installation‘ and I have had an article about the mosaic published in the BAMM magazine ‘Grout‘. The Marple Mosaic continues to receive visitors and praise.
It all started back in February 2015 when I got an email from Hilary and Pauline asking if I would be interested in being commissioned to make a large outdoor mosaic to go into an inset in their walled, courtyard garden. We then talked on the phone and got on so well that I instantly agreed even though we were not sure what the piece was going to be. Over the next couple of weeks ideas and sketches were discussed and emailed and we very quickly agreed on a piece that we all liked. I could then go shopping for supplies!
Once I started work we began to Skype so they could see the progress, although I tried to only show snippets rather than the overall piece, to keep them guessing! I have kept a pictorial diary of the whole process for them. We have become firm friends during the process and found we are all straight talkers, have similar interests and enjoy a good laugh.
Once it was ready, Alan and I were happy to deliver it and take the opportunity to have a few days in Buxton en route which coincided with our wedding anniversary (Alan honestly said he didn’t mind). On arrival we had a grand unveiling with a bottle of champagne to ‘toast’ the new addition! The WOW factor was incredible and obviously very rewarding for me as I really enjoyed making the mosaic and was delighted they were so happy with it.
Hilary and Pauline had the mosaic installed the next day and we had a trip over to see it in situ and get some photos before we came back to London. I love making commissions and although they can be a bit stressful and worrying, it is all worthwhile when you get the reward of seeing the reaction and praise that shows how happy Hilary and Pauline are with their piece of mosaic art.
The first quarter of 2017 has been fairly quiet on the commission front so I decided to take the opportunity to catch up on ‘admin and organising’ so I would be all set up for the busy season – which is starting already.
BEAT. I sent in my application form and have been accepted to take part in BEAT this year (Borough of Ealing Art Trail). Last year was the first but unfortunately I couldn’t take part as I was doing the Maggies Centre Cancer Walk. The art trail event is over 2 weekends in September. I will have a range of indoor and outdoor mosaics to view and for sale. I will also be happy to answer any questions people may have and I will be taking bookings from anyone who may want a beginners lesson. Watch this space for more info.
STUDIO. I decided to have a bit of a change around in my studio. It is quite a small space so I have always had to be creative in its usage. I have a bench the full width which is great when I am working on one piece, but does get a bit crowded if I have more or I have stacked up pieces ready for grouting. I have now put the bench away and have a oblong table in the room. It gives me much more space for working on and I am able to have several pieces on the go at once, with their relevant tiles, cutters etc. It means I have to squash round a bit to get the tiles down from the shelves, get my backing boards, glues etc. but so far it seems to be working.
FACEBOOK. I have had a mosaic Facebook page since my nephew set me up almost 4 years ago. Although I have a steady following, there were so many areas of FB that I found really confusing and I also wanted to use it more efficiently – time to call in the experts. I booked a couple of hours training with the very informative, knowledgeable and patient Shelley from Ealing Mums In Business.
Within 10 minutes of her arriving Shelley identified a whole section of potential clients that I wasn’t targeting. She really helped me understand Facebook in a way that made me see how I could be using it more efficient and effectively. Since her training, I have signed up to some local groups and my ‘Likes’ have already increased significantly. I have also had a lot of interest in lessons and commissions. Do have a look at my Facebook Page, its an ‘Open Site’ so anyone can view it. Do give it a ‘Like’ if you want to see more regular pictures and info.
I now feel set up and re-furbished, ready to go forward with a busy and exciting mosaic year.
Outdoor mosaics can really enhance a garden, courtyard or patio area however large or small. They are hard wearing and durable and can usually stand extremes in temperature. They add a different dimension to the space and fun. Mosaics are still the ‘undiscovered art form’ for a lot of people so if someone does have a mosaic indoors or outside, it is usually quite a talking point.
I have made a large range of outdoor mosaic art. I love talking to the client and finding out what they want from their outdoor space and what feel they would like to create – a sense of fun, calmness, a real show stopper? These lizards are made on large flat stones and can easily sit in a bed or on the patio. This one is called ‘Hopper’ and lives by my sisters pond. Several of Hopper’s brothers and sisters have gone abroad and live in France, Spain and Brazil. I have also done ducks, flowers, butterflies for beds.
A large outdoor piece I made a few years ago was this dolphin on a large slab of York stone. It was a commission for a local friend as a wedding present for his wife, and secretly placed in their newly landscaped garden – no pressure then. Luckily she liked it, whew! Mosaic stepping stones are very popular and again, I have made quite a range. You can really have fun with them and they can be quirky or traditional, its totally your choice.
Sunshine Step Stone
Ammonite cast in concrete
To make a real impact you could have a piece of mosaic art hanging up outside against the brickwork, fence or set in to a wall. Quentin (my first commission) and the French Cross are both on a converted Benedictine Monastery in France. The Sun/Moon panel is in the O’Grady Court residential home and was a present from me to them. The glass-on-glass piece would look stunning in a conservatory with the light shining through to show it off to its full sparkly glory.
Glass on Glass
The Marple Mosaic
Of course, my biggest outdoor piece is The Marple Mosaic, which I am really proud of. It was commission by a couple who found my website. They really liked my style of work and felt we had shared values. The piece is very geometric (which is not my usual style) and is my biggest piece and challenge yet. The clients absolutely love it and we have since become good friends.
If you think a mosaic could enhance your outside space, please give me a call to discuss the possibilities. No obligation, I am always happy to chat ‘mosiacs’. You can also visit my Outdoor Gallery to get more ideas.
I created my first Blog in July 2014 when this website went live. I have tried to post on a fairly regular basis every 2 – 3 weeks. I usually write about my latest commissions, exhibitions and events and anything else I think might be of interest. I always get lots of comments (mostly via email rather than direct to the Blog) and because my posts automatically go straight through to Facebook I get a lot of interest from there and that often attracts new Blog followers (vice versa).
Please let me know which Blogs you like the best – is it my ‘journey and inspiration’ or about new commissions and my charitable mosaic work. It could be information on events, exhibitions and galleries I am involved in.
Is there anything specific you would like me to Blog about – it could be more info on techniques, top tips etc. Maybe you would like a ‘series’ on something? Do let me know as you are the guys that read it and I am always keen to increase my followers.
My First Mosaic
This is my last Blog of 2016 so I would like to thank you all for supporting me during 2016 and wish you a very happy, healthy and fun Christmas. Enjoy all the festivities in whatever shape and form they may take and I look forward to seeing you all in 2017.
People often ask if they can buy my work and the answer is a resounding YES PLEASE! I do have various outlets and you can always buy direct from me, and of course I do take commissions.
When I first started to make mosaics all those years ago, I started off with coasters and trivets. They were ideal items to have in a shop – the sort of small, low price item people would buy as a gift or for themselves. As my work progressed, I moved onto garden pots and small wall hangings, again ideal for a shop so it was great to be in All Original, a local shop specialising in designer/maker items.
Range of mirrors
I them started making mirrors and door numbers and once they went into the shop I received lots of requests for commissions. Again, they made perfect gifts and were very personalised for the recipient. After 2 years I decided it was time to leave All Original as I ended up having to make to sell rather than make to develop and progress my skills as a mosaic artist.
9 years on from that first, tentative mosaic and I am still learning and hopefully progressing all the time. I have moved on to making much larger items for both indoor and outdoors. Wall hangings, pictures, glass-on-glass and now I am doing a lot of work on slate. I now work mostly to commission as each piece is very specific to the buyers requirements. I am in 2 Galleries in Northumberland and I would like to find a local Gallery as another outlet to display and sell my work. If you know of anywhere or anyone that you think may appreciate my style of work, please get in touch via my Contact Page.
Triptych on Slate
Greek Fishing Boat
Glass on Glass
Off Kilter Marple
Sea Scene Triptych
We now have the 9th stage of the Capital Ring under our walking boots. Starting at our most local point, we started to climb towards north west London. I suppose that the clue was in the description: Horsenden HILL, Sudbury HILL and finally Harrow-on-the………HILL. Yes, it was one of the highest legs of the walk, also the furthest point, 10 miles from Charing Cross. A great section though and from now on we are into unknown territory. We are half way now and hope to finish within a year.
Posted in Commissions, Galleries and Events, Mosaic Art, Mosaic Development, My Mosaic Journey, North East Art Collective, Rosanna Mosaic Artist, Rosanna's Mosaics
Tagged All Original Shop, North East Art Collective, The Capital Ring, Tryptics mosaics
July and August are such strange months, the roads are deserted but tube trains, museums and London parks are full to bursting with families and tourists enjoying the summer holidays. The mosaic world takes a holiday as well and I have managed to get away myself as it has been very quiet on the mosaic front. I have also taken the chance to have a sort out and tidy my studios ready for the autumn rush – she says hopefully!
I made this butterfly during summer for my sister’s newly born great niece. I had made her big sister a pink elephant when she was born 3 years ago so it seemed fair that another mosaic was in order. I have used quite a few ‘glitter’ tiles so it should really sparkle on her bedroom wall.
Log Cabin Spring Tree
Following on from the fantastic response and reception we got from O’Grady Court on the OPEN Ealing mosaic project, I have volunteered to make them a mosaic to go onto another wall in their lovely rooftop garden. The last voluntary project I did was at the Log Cabin, a children’s charity, so I am more than happy to make a piece for the residents at this lovely sheltered housing organisation. I have had the initial meeting with them and we talked through ideas, where it would be placed etc. After lots of discussion we came up with the final choice of mosaic so it is now up to me to get sketching and decide on the size, colours etc. Hopefully I shall have some progress pictures for you soon.
I have just received a new commission for 2 stepping stones. I have made several stepping stones in the past, notably my sundials and the ammonite. They are great fun to do and lend themselves well to the mosaic medium. As they are so durable and robust they are ideal for a garden, flowerbed or patio. This client has asked if I am able to do 2 horoscope star signs – I think that is a brilliant idea and I am a bit disappointed I hadn’t thought of that idea before myself! Obviously I said ‘yes’ so I am now looking at sizes, colours, designs etc.
Sunshine Step Stone
Log Cabin Sparkly Step
Ammonite cast in concrete
So after the lull of summer comes the storm of new projects – I am looking forward to getting back to work and mosaicing again.
LONDON ACTIVITY: So many of my Blogging Followers have been asking me how I am getting on with the CAPITAL RING walk so here is progress to date: We have now completed 7 stages of the Capital Ring and have crossed the river to north London. Combining stages 4 & 5 took us from Crystal Palace to Wimbledon Park via Streatham, Tooting and Wandsworth Commons. Stage 6 was probably one of our favourite routes starting at Wimbledon Park with its massive boating lake and overlooking the City skyline, passing the famous windmill on Wimbledon Common, lovely walking over Putney Heath which took us up into Richmond Park. Now we felt we were on ‘home territory’ but as we went through Richmond Park we crossed through lovely parts that we didn’t know existed. When we walked down past Pembroke Lodge, through Petersham Meadows and to completion at the river by Richmond Bridge, it was great to be able to hop on a bus to get home. Stage 7 was definately our local patch and the walk took us on a familiar route that we have cycled or walked many, many times. The end of the route was literally ’round the corner’ to home!
We are sure that the Capital Ring route used to come past the bottom of our road so I am wondering if anyone out there has a copy of the Capital Ring book pre the re-print in 2014. If you have, please do get in touch and let me know the old route.
Posted in Commissions, Mosaic Art, Mosaic Development, Outdoor Mosaics, Rosanna Mosaic Artist, Rosanna's Mosaics
Tagged commission, Log Cabin, Mosaic Art, Mosaic Commission, Mosaic Stepping Stones, O'Grady Court, Outdoor Mosaics