Category Archives: Mosaic Development

My Mailing List

I have created a Mail Chimp Mailing List.

Opening New Doors of Communication.

The reason for this Mailing List is that so many people ask me when I am going to do the next Beginner’s Mosaic Lesson, or what date is BEAT this year, or how do I commission a piece of work. It seemed to make sense to create a Mailing List so that I can easily keep people up to date with what is going on, quickly and briefly as and when I have something I want to get out there en masse.

I will admit that I have struggled a bit with Mail Chimp but I think I am getting there. The best way to prove it works is to create and start using it, which is what I intend to do as soon as you sign up!

I promise I won’t bombard you with emails and you can always unsubscribe at any point.

If you would like to be added to my Mailing List please complete the Contact Form below. Rufus and I look forward to welcoming you.

Rosanna and Rufus

Mosaic Surgery / Q&A Session

 

Last week I held a Mosaic Surgery / Q&A Session for 2 hours on Monday morning. I promoted the event through my Facebook Page and also 5 other Facebook Groups I belong to.  My aim was for people to send a question via my FB page or they could Message me.  It seems that people are a bit ‘shy’ to post their questions on FBook but I had a lot of Messages with a whole range of queries and requests for advice.

Rather than list them all, I have amalgamated a few and show my responses below.

THE TRADITIONAL ART OF MOSAIC MAKING is one of the most ancient art forms used by the ancient Greeks, the Romans and several other cultures throughout the centuries. Like any great art, there has been ‘phases’ and periods’ throughout history from the traditional Roman style, the geometric Greek patterns, Byzantine and Gaudi to name a few. Mosaic art is still relevant today and again, takes many forms. The end result is totally unique and very different to any other art form.

VERSATILITY: Mosaics are incredibly versatile. They can be used in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Extremely durable and hardwearing they last for ages. They can be decorative, practical, tiny, huge, delicate and robust, 2D or 3D. Traditional, contemporary, pictorial, abstract – they can be anything your imagination can think of.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: The first mosaic I ever made was a small coaster and it took me all afternoon. I still have it, my lucky mosaic that comes with me on exhibitions and demonstrations.

Whenever I give a Beginner’s Mosaic Lessons I usually ask people to send me an idea of what they would like to mosaic. To be honest, most people over estimate what they will be able to achieve in a first lesson. One person bought along a picture of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Another saw my ‘Robin’ mosaic and asked if they would be able to make that in an afternoon – I said ‘I hope not, it’s took me ages to make and I found it very challenging’!! So keep it simple, a coaster, trivet or small picture is a good starting point. You can then progress to pots, mirrors and door numbers.

INDOOR or OUTDOOR? Mosaics are great for indoor or outdoor spaces and look lovely in a garden setting. I have a lovely sun/moon on my shed. Make sure you decide in advance where it is going to go as you may need to use different materials and adhesives for outside display. Mosaic pots overflowing with herbs look delightful and just imagine a lizard creeping through your rockery, or a sunshine stepping stone.

MATERIALS:
Different mosaic artists prefer using different types of materials – large bathroom tiles, crockery and china etc. I personally prefer small ‘mosaic tiles’ that are called ‘tesserae’. They are usually 2cm square and are either made of glass which come in a huge range of vibrant colours, or ceramic in beautiful muted shades like sage greens, mustard, soft pinks.

If you have any questions – please do contact me and I will try and answer.

 

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.

 

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

2018 Picture Highlights

As is usual around this time I show my picture highlights for the first half of the year. Here they are for 2018.

MOSAIC LESSONS THIS YEAR

AND LOOKING FORWARD TO………….

My Mosaic Studio

The room I use as my mosaic studio has gone through several reincarnations since we bought this house all those years  ago.

The demolition starts!

When we moved here in 1990, although the house was in good order structurally, it did need a lot of DIY and had to be decorated throughout. The ‘small room’ had Superman wallpaper which was infused with Vicks Vapour Rub! For a long time is was a storage space for all the packing boxes, hoover, ironing board etc. – the usual ‘dumping ground’.

When I went self employed in 2004 it became my home office.  Filing cupboards came in and a long workbench, lots of room to spread out my personnel reports, training courses etc. As I got involved in mosaics in 2007 I had a small shelf where I kept the odd few bits of tiles and glue that I had. Well (and I think you know where I am going with this)…….mosaic materials started to grow and mosaics in progress shared the bench with personnel reports. As I cut back on my professional work the mosaic commissions increased.

Lots of shelving

Time to re-decorate and install some serious storage space. One of the problems is that I need to see everything I have so Alan (my lovely hubby and ‘Mosaic Roadie’) put in open shelves so I was able to store all my mosaic tiles and paraphernalia within view and have easy access. Changes continued over the years with the addition of a re-allocated bookcase and kitchen display unit and of course, mosaic supplies continued to grow.

Following my recent glass-on-glass course I realised it was time for yet another refurbishment so I could have a bit more room for my large sheets of glass.  So Alan stripped the room back to the shell, our friend CJ did a great repair and painting job. We then had a few visits to IKEA.

 

 

The result is a lovely newly decorated, opened up studio. 2 work areas (one for glass, one for traditional mosaic) and I even have a small desk for my computer! It is still a small room but it is amazing how you can fully utilise the space with a bit of creative thinking. I am absolutely delighted with the results and appreciate how lucky I am to have a dedicated work area.

I think I have the perfectly designed studio now and cannot see how it can possibly be improved however………….I am always one to keep my options open!!

A celebratory drink then back to mosaic work.

 

 

Mosaic Lessons for Beginners.

Although we are only a quarter way through 2018 I have already given mosaic lessons to 10 beginners.

I run a one day Beginners’ Mosaic Lesson, not on a regular basis but ad-hoc as and when people request them.  Once someone is interested and a suitable date confirmed, then I will see if other people would like to join. I have built up a small waiting list and I also go onto the local Facebook Groups.

Phil with his allotment number

I stated giving lessons a few years ago when people said they liked my mosaics and would I show them how to get started.  I have done a lot of training in my past professional life so am not daunted by  running lessons. Over the years the format has been tweaked and changed and at last I can say I am confident I have the correct format.

In doing a one day lesson there have been a few problem areas that I have struggled to get right. Firstly, some people are a bit over ambitious – they go on the internet (which is a wonderful thing but……) see all the lovely mosaic art and assume they will be able to achieve those results in a day.  Some can but others can’t – the more complex a piece is, the more cutting required – and that is the hard/fiddly bit. Until they start on their piece it is difficult for me to judge how easy they are going to find it, by which time they may already have in mind a very complex design.

Gilly & Claire

Secondly, I used to have a huge range of ‘base’ materials for people to select from, all different shapes and sizes. I did this because I wanted people to see the range of items that can be mosaiced. However, this often gave the problem of too much choice – where do I start, indoor or outdoor, decorative or functional? And this was before they even thought of a design. Also, people like to go big and then found they ran out of time. Ideally the aim is to go home with a completed mosaic.

Thirdly, in order for the mosaic to be complete, it needs to be grouted. To make a mosaic, give it time to dry, settle and then to grout and clean it is a big ask in one day. Should people come back another time, should it be a 2 day course, should I demonstrate grouting and they do it later at home? All my lessons always ran over time. People were wanting to stay to finish, which was not a problem but…… as it was every lesson there was obviously a common factor involved – it must be me!!

Sue and sister Fiona

My friend Sue recently had a beginner lesson with her sister Fiona and I asked her for some honest feedback. The comments she made have been constructive and invaluable. The key point that stood out was that I needed to “manage expectations”.  Whilst I don’t want to rain on people’s creative parade, I did realise that I needed to keep a tighter rein on things, after all, I am the one who is aware of poential issues.

Maureen, Christine, Vali and Paula

As is often the case, once you realise the problems, it is quite easy to find solution. I now issue all people with the same base, it can go indoors or outdoors and eliminates all that mind-boggling choice so early in the day. People can still be as complex or basic as they want on their design. I have also made several samples so they get ideas, see different style and techniques and therefore have an idea of what they may expect to achieve in the time available. I know that if someone is really struggling to complete their piece in time, I can always help out at the last minute as I know the piece isn’t too big to get finished.

This model seems to be working well and the recent sets of lessons finished well within time with all pieces grouted and completed. Happy new mosaic makers and a happy, relaxed teacher!

If you would like to come on a lesson drop me an email and I can send you an Information Sheet with all the details. I usually have 4 per session but can cater for larger groups as requested.

 

“I had a really enjoyable day being creative and with wonderful support from Rosanna.”  Gilly Lodge

“I had a great afternoon creating with Rosanna and am still enjoying the tangible results of my work! Rosanna guided us expertly in selecting materials and with techniques and tips to get the best out of our chosen designs. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”   Phil Duncan

“Thanks so much for a very enjoyable and packed day yesterday. We are both thrilled with our mosaics – mine has buffed up nicely and I keep looking at it and touching it!”  Sue Elliott

 

Glass Mosaic Course

A couple of weeks ago I went to Devon for a 2 day glass mosaic course with the brilliantly talented Sue Smith of Sue Smith Glass.

Glass on Glass Tree

I had dabbled a little bit with glass-on-glass mosaics last year and featured a few of them at the BEAT Open Studios event. The response from visitors was very encouraging so I decided to use money made from my BEAT sales to invest in a glass mosaic course. I had seen Sue’s work on-line and was following her on Facebook so she was the natural choice of teacher to help me learn a new medium and to extend my mosaic glass skills.

A 2 day course turned into a very pleasant  4 day break staying in the lovely Fishermans Cot pub in Tiverton.

There were 3 of us on the course which meant we got lots of personal attention and tuition from Sue. The first day we learnt about the glass and the tools, cutting basic shapes to make a small piece. On day 2, once we were all more confident with the glass, cutters and glue gun, we were let loose to raid the material boxes and we all took the opportunity to make a larger mosaic.

 

P1070214

Getting stuck in

P1070190

Sue’s Sunflower

P1070206

Sue’s Rose

Sue is a brilliant teacher – she explained all about the materials and demonstrated the  tools with great patience until we were all happy with the techniques and different styles and forms. She showed us how to cut odd shapes that then created perfect flowers and how to put a design together. Sue was very generous with her time and materials, letting us use a whole range of beautiful glass and mirror as well as glass beads and enhancements.

A lot of her work was on show so we all took inspiration from her beautiful mosaics. Below are some of her pieces – do visit her website to see more: www.suesmithglass.co.uk

 

The lesson took place in the local community hall which was a great venue – very spacious, warm with easy parking. There was a fully equiped kitchen so we were able to store things in the fridge and use the microwave for lunch, fresh coffee was on the go all day along with biscuits and snacks. We were able to spread out, with tools and glass scattered all around us, we were all very enthusiastic and our creative energy seemed to have no limits.

Now that I am back home and trying to put things I learnt into practice, I keep wanting to ask and check things with Sue……sometimes I have had to email her to ask a question and she has been more than supportive, giving full explanations and providing links to suppliers. I am finding it very different to my usual mosaic making and I think that will be a title for a later Blog! In the meantime, here we are (l to r: Susan, me, teacher Sue, Maria) proudly showing off our new glass masterpieces.

P1070215

 

 

 

A Mosaic Celebration

My First Mosaic

We start 2018 with a celebration of 2017 when I reached my 10 year mosaic making anniversary. It all started on 29th July 2007 when we went down to Bexhill-on-Sea to visit our friend Steve and meet his new lady friend, Julia. Although I didn’t think I liked mosaics and was very reluctant, Julia encouraged / cajoled / persuaded me to make a small mosaic piece. No cutting involved, it took me all afternoon but I LOVED IT and was immediately hooked. The rest, as they say, is history.

To celebrate and commemorate my 10 year anniversary the very talented film maker Angela Kay of Little Whale Media has made a video showing my mosaic story. I am delighted with the film and will be promoting and sharing it this year so please have a look, let me know what you think and share it with your friends and contacts.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.


 

If after watching you feel inspired and it has heightened your interest in mosaics, then keep reading my Blogs which will show my activities and adventures during this year. I will start off with a new style of mosaic making that I have recently  been introduced to – coming soon……….