Category Archives: Mosaic Inspiration

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.

The Story Behind the OPEN Ealing / O’Grady Court Mosaic

When Maud from OPEN Ealing asked me if I would like to run a Mosaic Workshop for the local children during their half term art programme, I was delighted. I love working on community projects and I couldn’t resist the idea of introducing children  to the wonderful art form of mosaic

OPEN Ealing is an arts centre that is the focus for creative excellence,inclusion and aspiration. Their aim is to introduce a refreshing cultural space and exciting arts programmes to the community by bringing artists, performers, art groups and residents together, promoting creativity and creating new opportunities.

The remit was that during the week children would carry out various art projects ‘Following in the Footsteps of’ a famous artist. To be honest, one of my favourite artists is Rembrandt who’s dark and m0ody self portraits do not lend themselves to a children’s bright mosaic project! No worries, I would decide on the mosaic first and then work in an artist.

It was agreed that rather than make individual pieces, we would make one large mosaic which we would donate to a local organisation. Maud identified O’Grady Court, a sheltered housing complex, who were delighted with our offer of a mosaic for their beautiful rooftop garden.

Log Cabin Tree

Log Cabin AutumnTree

My biggest challenge was not knowing how many children would turn up, their ages and artistic ability. I didn’t want anything  too simplistic that would not catch their imagination but I was also aware that if the piece was too large I would be doing a lot of mosaicing at home that night! Also, how do a group work on one piece while putting their personalised stamp on it.  Eventually I took inspiration from the trees I made for the Log Cabin, lots of different sections with varied styles within the overall piece.

Luckily for me my nephew Steven, a maths teacher, was coming to stay for the weekend so as soon as he arrived he was given a cold beer and told to ‘design’ a tree made up of squares, rectangles and other mathematical shapes – all alien to a ‘creative’ like me!

the mosaicOn the day 10 children arrived and were immediately attracted to the beautiful glass tiles, shiny ceramic beads and glittery adornments. Working in pairs, they selected the sections they wanted to work on and then, armed with their handfuls of ‘coloured treasure’, started to design their section before placing and sticking them in the main piece. They were totally engrossed and were determined that the mosaic would be finished within the session, so all of them were working flat out. Each section is very individual – some of the children were incredibly neat, others were colour focused, many had an abstract slant. The end result is a fantastic ‘mix n match’ of different styles, all very distinctive but they all work in harmony as a whole.

I hope you will agree that our ‘Picasso Influenced Cubist Tree‘ is a great success.

 

The OPEN Ealing O’Grady Court Mosaic

 

P1060112

Rosanna and Maud prepare to unveil.

Residents from a sheltered accommodation complex in West Ealing were presented with a very special mosaic for their garden from some of the young people who helped make it.

During OPEN Ealing’s May 2016 half term workshops, youngsters aged 8 to 14 followed in the steps of famous painters such as Klee, Klimt, Kandinsky and Van Gogh, using varied artistic treatments.

Led by local mosaic artist Rosanna Henderson, the children collaborated to create a cubist tree. When Rosanna suggested they made a large piece of art to be donated to a ‘good home’, the young people quickly agreed and the communal rooftop garden at O’Grady Court was the natural choice – being in the centre of West Ealing and providing sheltered and supported accommodation for retired people over the age of 55.

P1060113

The Completed Piece.

Birgit Huhn, Manager of O’Grady Court, on Melbourne Avenue, has been extremely supportive of the project from the outset and she and some enthusiastic residents came to OPEN Ealing during the workshop session to see the piece being created.

O’Grady Court and OPEN Ealing are practically neighbours and this project has reignited their collaboration and stimulated the residents into taking art classes themselves in the future. Perhaps they will return the favour and do a piece for a local school? Mandie Wilde of OPEN Ealing commented, “the piece created in a 2 hour session and finished by Rosanna to make it suitable for garden ornamentation, is amazing. Not only have the workshop participants grasped the technique of mosaic and the famous practitioners, they have added their own touches making it very personal. The standard is amazing and we are delighted that OPEN Ealing can facilitate workshops like this and encourage raw talent.”

P1060116

Mosaic Artist Rosanna Henderson with some of the children that made the mosaic.

OPEN Ealing wishes to particularly thank the children for their dedication in producing such a beautiful work of art, Rosanna for her skilful lead on the workshop and finishing touch on the piece, our volunteers Ruth Holmstock and Stephanie Sundle for their precious help during the workshop, Birgit Huhn and Catalyst’s O’Grady Court management and maintenance teams for their support of the project, and finally the residents for their enthusiasm.


This article appeared in the Ealing Today Newsletter this week. Thanks to OPEN Ealing and AnneMarie from Ealing Today for writing the article and initiating and supporting the project.

NEXT BLOG: The story behind the mosaic.

Glass on Glass

P1050885With art, as with most things, it is very easy to keep within your comfort zone. Do what you know works, what is safe, the easy option.  However, when I discovered mosaics 8 years ago, one of the key things that got me really interested was the huge variety and different styles of mosaic that were out there. As such an ancient art form, mosaic has taken on a huge variety of guises as it has passed down through the centuries. Various cultures that have developed techniques and styles have added their influences and style to pass on to future generations of mosaic artists. I love the huge scope and potential this wonderful art form offers. The only limitation is the imagination.

Although I do sometimes play it safe, I try to experiment with different styles, techniques and materials especially if I have the time to spend on a new main piece. This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while: glass on glass.

P1050895

I have made it over a period of time in my weekly sessions with Kitty. As always, Kitty was on hand to offer her help and expertise. She guided me in mastering the art of silicone glue (very sticky, very smelly). She also helped with the ‘flow’ of the piece and suggested different types of glass tiles which I feel really enhance the piece. I was keen on doing something very vivid with blues and greens and we managed to find some lovely pieces of glass some see through, some shiny. I am delighted with the result and the piece is now sitting on my hall window with the sunshine streaming through it. I need to find a permanent home for it but for now, it’s lovely catching it every time I go up and down the stairs. I have had a lot of compliments on it so am keen to make some more pieces, in other colour palettes. 

What next – any suggestions? Watch this space.

LONDON ACTIVITIES

100 Years of Vogue at the V&A. A wonderful exhibition charting the centenary of this iconic magazine.  A real journey through social history. Although most people regard it as a fashion mag, it actually covered the economic, political, cultural and social climate of the day in each edition.

The Capital Ring

The Capital Ring

Part 3 of the CAPITAL RING – Grove Park to Crystal Palace. A fantastic walk taking in the Downham Woodlan Walk, Beckenham Park Place, crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line and ending up at Crystal Palace with the dinosaurs. This was the longest section of the Capital Ring circuit and it was the perfect day to do it, sunshine all the way.

 

March Update

Off Kilter Marple

Off Kilter Marple

Goodness I can hardly believe that it is now officially ‘spring’ and we are quickly heading towards the end of March.  It must be time for a quick update.

My aim for this year is to get into some more Galleries as I like to think this is where my work should be heading with some larger, stunning pieces of mosaic art. Next week I  have been invited to visit a Gallery with a view to them taking some of my pieces to display. I shall keep you posted but in the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Crafty Beggars in the House, series one, is currently being shown so if you have cbithmissed any episodes you can catch up by going to the Community Channel website and going to ‘On Demand’.  I shall be in series 2 which will be shown sometime in April. I will let you know dates when I know.

The lovely presenters Julie Peasgood and Wendy Turner Webster  have recently asked me what my top mosaics tips are. It was good to take time away from actual mosacing to consider the things I think are important and relevant that  I would say to someone who is thinking of having a go at mosaics. With the technical magic of their web designer Mark Saltmarsh, my Top Tips are now on their website. Do go and have a look and let me know what you think: www.craftybeggarsTV.com. I am now considering doing a little series of Top Tips to put on the Blog,  covering other aspects of mosacing – what areas would you like to hear tips about? Do email and let me know: rosannasmosaics@gmail.com

I am delighted to say that I have had an article published in the ‘Grout Magazine’ about my Marple Mosaic commission. Grout is the newsletter for BAMM – British Association for Modern Mosaics, which is sent to all their members.

Butterfly Makers

Butterfly Makers

And finally, you will remember that Kitty organised and led a group of us to make 15 mosaic butterflies for Meadow House Hospice.  I am delighted to report that they now adorn the bedroom doors at the hospice. They look fantastic and everyone is really pleased with them.

Have a great Easter everyone and see you all in April.