Category Archives: Mosaic Inspiration

Fused Glass – Part 2

So it was with great excitement and anticipation that I set off again for the Piccadilly Line to Stoke Newington to collect my fused glass pieces I had made the previous week at my beginners’ lesson at Rainbow Glass Studios. This time we made it a family activity as Alan and I arranged to meet our nephew Tom who lives near there. We headed to the lovely Clissold Park again and had coffee and cake with Tom in the café before heading off down the High Street to the studio.

Eleanor (my brilliant teacher) handed over all my ‘treasures’ and was happy to answer the  long list of questions I had thought of since my lesson.  Tom came into the studio with me. He is the creative nephew in the family and does fantastic animation and illustrative drawings (you can find him on Instagram – Tom Henneberry). He was fascinated by all the lovely glass, cutting equipment and kilns. While I ‘oooh’d and aahhh’d’ over my pieces Tom and Eleanor were chatting and realised they were neighbours!

 

We then went for a nice lunch in the garden at The Clarence pub before buying our supper at the butchers. We then parted company with Tom and set off home so I could play with all my lovely spoils.

 

I can see great potential for using all sorts of fused glass shapes in my mosaics in future. I have a feeling it may become expensive!!!

 

 

 

Fused Glass – Part 1.

On Saturday I did a one day beginners’ Fused Glass course with Rainbow Glass Studios in Stoke Newington, north London. Wanting to make sure I got there in plenty of time I set off at crack of dawn to get the Piccadily Line to the other side of London. My reward was breakfast in the Clissold House Cafe in beautiful Clissold Park.

My tutor  Eleanor Watson gave me a warm welcome and told me that due to unforeseen circumstances I was the only student that day so I got a private 1-2-1  lesson!

Eleanor started with a thorough explanation of tools and equipment, different types of glass and then moved on to the  actual scary bit – cutting. As the position to your workbench is very important I was given a box to stand on so I could reach!!

Eleanor repeatedly demonstrated cutting and then it was my turn. Of course it is a totally different technique to cutting mosaic tiles so I had to forget mosaic and learn to understand how glass works. The hardest part for me was holding the cutter correctly. Once I got it, off I went – not at all scared of the beautiful sheets of glass I was slicing into.

mosaic with pre made fish, bubbles and boat.

After lunch we got stuck into making actual (sort of) recognisable pieces.  The reason I want to learn fused glass is to be able to make small shapes to go into my mosaics e.g. fish, boats etc. I have used bought pre-made pieces before to good effect so felt it was time to expand with my own designs.

With Eleanor’s help, guidance and encouragement I realised the potential of all sorts of pieces that I can make which opens up a whole new style and range of mosaics to me. We experimented with small fish, bubbles, leaves and then I tried larger pieces that can go into trees and lastly some sea/wave strips that can form the base of my seascape mosaics. There are so many different things to learn and I tried to utilise as many as possible, while all the time scribbling notes.

Eleanor is a brilliant teacher and I had a great day creating. She is professional, informative, patient and extremely generous with her knowledge, experience and materials.

At the end of the day we loaded a mixed ability and selection of goodies into the huge kiln you can see in the picture of myself with Eleanor. They will be ‘fired’ over a 24 hour period.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my day and would highly recommend a course with Eleanor at Rainbow Glass Studios.  I came away with a feeling of exhaustion, satisfaction and a whole new vocabulary: Bullseye, running pliers, tack-fuse. I have to wait to go back and collect my treasures so all that was left was a slow walk through Clissold Park again before getting on the Picadilly Line to go home to the other side of London.

Coming soon:  Fused Glass – Park 2.

 

 

Quarterly Update

I can’t believe we are at the end of March.  I love this time of year, the garden is waking up, the sun is shining and the days are getting longer and lighter. These past 3 months have been busier than usual for me, here is my update.

NEW YEAR – NEW GALLERY

I was delighted when The Links Art Gallery in Whitley Bay invited me to display my mosaic art in their lovely gallery/café. This is a very popular spot for walkers, art lovers and tourists, right by the beach and is always packed with people. I have decided that all my work with them will have a ‘sea’ theme. 

COMMISSIONS

Like buses, 3 commissions came along at once! The fish are now happily swimming along in Rita and Derek’s kitchen in Norwich. The Daddy and Baby fish are replicas of Mummy (middle) fish which is made of ceramic. It was quite hard to match mosaic to ceramic  but I am really pleased with the colour match and the result.

 

Sunflower

Ann asked me to make this outdoor sunflower which she wanted to give as a present for her friend Lesley to hang in her newly restored garden in Cheltenham. As it was for outside I used Mexican and Irridescent tiles with slithers of red glass and mirror, which will give it a lovely shine when the light catches it.

Tony and Wendy asked me to make a Nuthatch for a friend’s birthday. I decided to give them a choice of style. The first bird is made of glass with a ceramic tile background and the other had a ceramic tile bird with a glass background – same mosaic totally different result. Can’t show you the pictures until the client has received it so I’ll post later on.

MOSAIC LESSONS

Following a large response at the BEAT Ealing Art Trail last year, I have been giving a lot of Beginners’ Mosaic Lessons – since then I have delivered to 24 people! I like to work with small groups of 3/4 so they get a lot of 1-2-1 attention. Everyone has taken away a lovely first mosaic, all totally different.  I now offer a Follow Up Session for people that would like to make another piece but either don’t have the space at home or don’t want to make a big financial outlay for materials and tiles.  If you know anyone who may like a Beginners’ Mosaic Lesson please CONTACT ME and I can send you an Information Sheet.

So, clocks have changed and the days will be longer now so it must be time to get out into the garden to do some digging and get some inspiration for my next batch of work.

I always like to hear from you so if you enjoy this Blog, my pictures or want to ask a question do LEAVE ME A REPLY below.

 

Pictorial Review of 2018

HELLO all my BLOG FOLLOWERS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. I hope it is Happy, Healthy, Productive, Creative and Fun.

I always start the new year by looking back on my favourite images from the past year so here goes……

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

 

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……….

 

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.

 

 

 

10 YEAR CELEBRATION

This month I have been making mosaics for 10 years.

Little Whale logo stacked 400x400I felt this was a good reason for a special celebration so I enlisted the help of my good friend and very talented film maker, Angela Kay of Little Whale Media. Her brief was to make a video that captures my passion for mosaics, with an insight into the skill and intricacies involved in mosaic making. I also wanted her to show my 10 year mosaic journey whilst capturing my personality. A big ask!

Angela rose to the challenge and has produced this short video. I am delighted with the result and certainly feel she has met the brief and more!  What do you think?

Here is the video – An Artist’s Story

 

What people have said about the video:

“I have just seen the video ! A fantastic piece of filmmaking it brought tears to my eyes.Never did I think that I would be the person who sent you on this journey I am really proud of what you have achieved over the last 10 years”. Brilliant!!!!”  Julia Downer

“Absolutely brilliant ~ both sides of the camera!”  JB

“I think that the video is beautifully made.  It so easily captures the professional aspect of your work……All the shot locations in and outdoor enhance the passion you have for your work……You should be so pleased with this video, a great piece of film to have but also I hope a tool for future good things as you continue on your mosaic journey.”  ND

“Well, you are both incredibly talented! What a beautiful, informative film. I can’t believe how much I have learned and how complete the information is in such a succinct format. …….Simply brilliant! …… You both deserve to go viral!”  HS

 

The Marple Mosaic – Happy Birthday

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!P1040916

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.

P1040930sOnce 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.

P1050254