Category Archives: Mosaic Inspiration

Starting Up A Small Business

My long term Business Adviser and friend Glenda Shawley of The Training Pack has recently had her first book published.

“Founded After 40” – How to start a business when you haven’t got time to waste – is a rich source of information, advice and help which leads you through the challenges of setting up a locally based business one step at a time. It highlights the pitfalls to avoid, decisions that need to be made and actions to be taken.

I met Glenda many years ago at my first networking event (I was shaking on arrival) and had just started my own free-lance business. She provided me with lots of invaluable help on setting up, marketing and PR. She has been just as supportive when I changed from ‘business’ to ‘creative’ and set up Rosanna’s Mosaics.

To get some ‘on the ground insights’ for her book, Glenda interviewed several small businesses that she had helped, including myself. It was fascinating to see myself quoted and it made me take time out to reflect if those comments from a while back are still relevant today.

PRICING:  Giving a price, whether for a piece of business advice, a service or a piece of art is always hard, this is what’s in the book:

“Pricing is still a big issue for mosaicist Rosanna Henderson, as it is for many artists. She recognised that there is a price cap on what people are prepared to spend at craft fairs and that made it really difficult to make money.  Now that she works mainly by commission she has a better formula for working out her prices but it’s still difficult to charge for all the time involved’.

I still think this stands today and it opens up the whole topic of ‘why is artwork so expensive’ which I will tackle in a future Blog.  The other area were I am quoted concerns my core aims and values – definately worth its own Blog.

So, you know what is coming up in future Blogs, if you want to me concentrate on any other specific topics, please let me know.

Glenda’s book is available now,  do visit her website.

However do you price an outdoor piece like this – 4 foot long and 2 foot wide?

 

 

 

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

The Green Man and Penkhull

I have always loved the image of The Green Man. It is probably the strong connection to outdoors, woodlands, leaves and of course the lovely vivid colours of greens (my favourite), browns, tans and oranges. I also live in an area which has a traditional May Day celebration led by a Jack-in-the-Green. So it was inevitable that at some stage I would want to mosaic a Green Man.

I looked up various images  in books and the internet to get an idea of the different styles and the proportion of greenery to actual man. As always, I started off with an idea and then went completely off kilter. I put in the eyes first then the red mouth. As  I put the ‘green fronds’ and built up the face it seemed to turn into a Green Women! Then I got stuck – the problem was there was no getting away from the fact that I needed to add a lot of leaves,  and I have never done leaves before. As always, Kitty was on hand to help and offer advice. She suggested the lovely bronze tiles which gives it a special sheen and she also showed me how to cut leaves. After 16 hours of mosaicing, he was ready to grout. To be continued on next the Blog…………

We have been staying a few days at Stoke on Trent. We have some friends in the area and I was also booked in for some mosaic training at BAL (Building Adhesives Ltd.)

Our friends Sarah, Lisa, Paul and Bruce live in Penkhull which is a delightful small garden village a stones throw from Stoke. Penkhull was created on the same co-partnership principles as Brentham Garden Suburb.  Originally started in 1910 by Stoke- on-Trent Tennants Ltd. the plan was to have 250 – 300 houses but due to the intervention of the first world war and the subsequent prohibitive costs of building meant that only 95 house were completed with another 22 added much later in 1939.

It is the most delightful place and sitting in Sarah’s garden, overlooking the rooflines of the other house felt like we were ‘home from home’. Lisa’s lovely cottage house reminded us of our first  Brentham  home in Fowlers Walk. She has the added advantage of being able to walk from her garden into her allotment which overlooks the whole estate. As Penkhull sits on a hill the vistas and views are stunning. It is a charming place and we have (unofficially) twinned Penkhull with Brentham.

All of them are part of Doomsday Morris, a traditional English village morris dancing side. They have danced and played at events and celebrations all over the country and have also performed abroad. It was therefore appropriate for them to have an interest in my Green Man and they had been following the progress of him on Facebook. I decided he also needed a trip away so he came to Penkull. Luckily he got their full approval and was considered an authentic Green Man!

The last day of the trip was my training course which I will report about in the next Blog and you can also see the completed Green Man.

If you are interested in having Doomsday Morris play and dance at your event or perform a traditional ‘Wassail’ blessing they would love to talk to you. Contact them through the above Facebook link or their WEBSITE

Becoming an Artist – a lightbulb moment.

Triptych on Slate

Triptych on Slate

When I had been doing mosaics for a relatively short time, I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to take part in various exhibitions. To be honest, this was probably down to my pushy personality rather than my skill in mosaic making. I am a ‘doer’ and am good at spotting and grabbing an opportunity, so when the NT Osterley sent out a invite asking artists to apply to exhibit – I filled out the form!

At these early exhibition lots of loyal friends and family came along, as well as a good number of the public. I remember my friend Sue came along, she is a writer and a very creative person. She asked me where I got my inspiration from – I was quite embarrassed by the question and fobbed her off with the response ‘Oh, I don’t know really’.

Babooshka

Babooshka

I was later discussing this with the person running the exhibition and he asked me why I had such trouble answering. When I thought about it properly I realised that I was embarrassed that people thought I was an artist and had ‘artistic inspiration’ – as I didn’t feel I was an artist, I felt a bit of a fraud and  had blagged my way into holding exhibitions when there were thousands / millions of much more talented people out there – proper artists. I wondered when I was going to get found out!!

South Street Exhibition

South Street Exhibition

He said to me “Rosanna, you are an artist, look at what you have produced. Everyone else sees you as an artist and now you need to accept it yourself and start acting like an artist”. That was a huge light-bulb moment for me and from that day, I took his comments on board and I became that mosaic artist.

So now when people ask me what I do I have no qualms in saying ‘I am a mosaic artist’ – it may sound a bit grandiose but I don’t have a problem with that at all. I know there are millions of creative people out there better than me, a few not as good. Some people like my work, some don’t. But that is a choice and a personal preference, it does not detract from the fact that I am an artist.

Rosannas Mosaics London

As importantly, I then went home and really looked into what does give me my inspiration as, to my surprise, these mosaics don’t just appear out of thin air. Once I opened my mind to the question loads of answers came flooding in. So Sue, to answer your question, I am now very clear where my inspiration comes from and that will be addressed in another Blog later on – and ‘thank you’ for giving me that ‘mental  nudge’ which led to a huge shift.

Pictorial Review of 2016

Welcome to 2017 and my first Blog of the year. I hope this year is HAPPY, HEALTHY, SUCCESSFUL and FUN for you all.  Here are my pictorial highlights from 2016 – in no specific order. Let me know your favourite picture.

Festive Wishes

Rosanna

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.

Rosanna's Mosaics Logo

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

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.

Rosanna xxx

 

O’Grady Court Sun/Moon Mosaic

P1060116Regular readers will know that earlier in the summer I did a voluntary project in the half term holiday with OPEN Ealing  and the local children. We collectively made a mosaic tree and then donated it to O’Grady Court sheltered housing in Ealing.  It was a great community project to be involved in and O’Grady Court invited us all over for an unveiling session providing a delicious buffet brunch.

the mosaicI was so impressed when I met Birgit and Gasper and they told me all about O’Grady Court and the facilities. They obviously loved the mosaic tree so I offered to make them another mosaic as a present. I returned a few weeks later and discussed options and eventually we came up with the idea of one of my sun/moon mosaics. I wanted to give them a piece that was nice and bright and would sit in their lovely outdoor garden.

P1060138I had made one sun/moon before for my garden shed but this one was going to be much larger and brighter. I started by drawing in the face and the first things I mosaiced were the eyes. I am really pleased with them because they are the most realistic pair I have done so far. I then did the nose and slash of a mouth. Then p1060262the fun part starts, putting in all that lovely colour and bling. For this I used a lot of coloured stained glass so I that I could have really large, bright coloured sections. I then “filled in” the gaps with iridescent tiles, glass beads, metalic tiles and anything else that I thought would add to the piece and make an impact.

p1060371So having completed and delivered the mosaic, I went along on Friday for the unveiling. As well as Birgit, Gasper and all the residents, Maud from Open Ealing came along and proceedings were introduced by the regional Manager. After a lot of compliments were made and photos were taken, I talked about the inspiration for the piece and how I went about making it. It was a beautiful, bright morning and the mosaic glittered and sparkled in the sunlight – exactly as I had hoped it would. We then went inside for a lovely buffet and I had my first mince pie. I was presented with a beautiful bouquet of stunning autumn flowers – my perfect colours.  I really enjoyed making the piece for all the residents at O’Grady Court and I know from their reaction and kind words that they really like and appreciate their sun/moon that will look down on them for many years to come.

 

The ‘Eyes’ Have It.

I am very aware that my mosaic style tends towards the abstract and interpretive rather than figurative or realism. I am not very good at drawing so this is probably reflected through in to the subject matter of my mosaics. I have mosaic friends who do amazing mosaics that could easily pass as paintings. I, on the other hand, feel I am more of an expressionist, going by my instincts and gut feeling rather than any formal rules and structures. I often let the mosaic take its own course, maybe by using an unusual tile or a piece of glass that I love and letting it build from there. Or it may be a colour or a curve that I want to convey and then I let the flow of the piece take over.  Therefore I tend to shy away from mosaics of buildings or people, as you would expect them to look recognisable, like the real thing and I don’t have that skill……… yet.

P1050571However, when I made the sun/moon mosaic, I knew it needed a face so I had  to give it a go. With this mosaic the main focus was the radiating rays and the face was  the ‘link’. I am quite pleased with the result even though it does have ‘piggy eyes’ ! So far it is one of my favourite pieces.

Babooshka

Baboushka

I had the idea that I wanted to make a silhouette with long, flowing 1960s style psychedelic hair. I copied the face from a larger mosaic at South Bank Mosaics that they  kindly gave me permission to do. So Baboushka was born.

I then wanted to make a similar piece but without the ‘wildness’ of Baboushka. Someone much more mellow and placid. I started by putting in the eyes then the nose and finally the mouth and was delighted with the results. She looked exactly as she should, peaceful, tranquil, almost transcendental – Jennifer Juniper just as described in the Donovan song. But, when I filled in the rest of the face she took on a rather angry, disgruntled look and has ended up totally different to what I expected. I am not sure why, maybe the angle of the pieces I had laid gave her ‘frown marks’.

Jennifer Juniper

Jennifer Juniper

I am now making another sun/moon, again it needs a face. This time I didn’t over think the process but went with my instincts. I am really pleased with this eye – I think it looks very realistic and I am hoping I can make another so I have a matching pair – otherwise I shall have to change the image to a cyclops!!P1060138

So hopefully I am learning all the time and getting better at interpreting the image I want to get across.