Category Archives: Mosaic Inspiration

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: 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:

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.








Artistic Development

Studio-1_180I’ve always known I’m artistic but had never found my medium. I can’t draw, paint or sew, I certainly can’t play a musical instrument or sing (well, not in public at any rate).  Having a hectic job and a busy social lifestyle I was content to let my arty side manifest itself in my cooking and gardening. I love colour and had an office full of coloured pens, inks, pots of acyrilic paints – but what to do with them?  I was content to look at them and add to the collection now and again. I did like ‘colouring in’  but there has never been any colouring potential for grown ups apart from ‘painting by numbers’ Hmmm, I certainly missed a gap in the market there didn’t I!!

That is why I will always be eternally grateful to Julia who introduced me to mosaics and BINGO, I’d found my medium.


I am now in my 8th year of mosaic making and having got a good grasp of the basics, I am ready to develop to the next level. However, being a very practical person, I am not very good at making a mosaic ‘just because I want to’. I tend to need a reason – e.g. its a commission, its going into the shop/gallery.  That is partly why I have done exhibitions – not because I think my work is so marvelous the world and his wife ought to see it (although it is nice if people do like and appreciate my work), but because it gives me an outlet and reason for making pieces.  It is necessary to have an outlet as there is a limit to how many mosaics you can have round the house and garden!

However, if I want to progress my work, I have to experiment and try new methods and techniques. So my artistic resolution for 2016 is to make a new piece ‘because I want to’, ‘because I want to learn a new technique/style’, ‘because I have a lovely tile I want to use’, ‘because I want to try a colourscheme’ or just because’ without having an end home for the piece. I am hoping that once made, it will find a home for itself anyway.

P1050666This has been the case with Baboushka as I liked the idea of the silhouette with flowing hair. Where she will end up, goodness knows. My next venture will be glass on glass because I want to learn how that works.

Wish me luck with my resolution.  As I often (jokingly) say ‘I am going to work really hard at being spontaneous’!


London Activities: 

January and February are usually film fest time for me.  So far: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl.  To come: The Revenant, The Room, The Hateful Eight.



This is my first completed mosaic of 2016.


Last year I had in my mind that I wanted to mosaic a female silhouette with long flowing hair – very 60s and psychedelic.  When I was at South Bank Mosaics last October for the BAMM Conference, I saw a beautiful mosaic on the wall that had a silhouette with birds flying from it that made the main mosaic. I asked David Toothill (Artistic Director of South Bank Mosaics and Chair of BAMM) if I could use the silhouette image in my own mosaic, and he kindly agreed.

She was going to be made in very muted colours using ceramic flat tiles. As I worked on her at Kitty’s weekly sessions, she became affectionately known as Abigail (from Abigail’s Party).  As usual,  I couldn’t resist using more colour than I originally planned and the flashes of gold and bronze were added.  I then went to see Donovan in concert and promptly renamed her Jennifer Juniper.  However, oldies like me will remember the lyrics to that song  ‘lilacs in her hair… of golden flax’  she was such a gentle soul that didn’t fit the ‘wild child’ that the mosaic was turning into. Once the piercing black eyes and the red lip slash were added, she became much more menacing – the type of women that would play a nasty trick on her husband ‘she wants to test her husband, she knew exactly what to do’  (from Lyrics by Kate Bush) so I then realised that she was a perfect BABOUSHKA!

I may still make a Jennifer Juniper. Sadly, I am now also thinking I may need to make another one and call her ‘Jean Genie’ in tribute to the great man, as that is one of my all time favourite songs.


A great start to the year with an exhibition by the brilliant and mind-bending  MC Escher at The Dulwich Picture Gallery. 

Lumiere London this weekend – the UK’s largest light festival with spectacular art works, interactive installations and 3D projections.


Highlights from 2015

Best wishes and a huge ‘Thank You‘  to all my ‘Blog Followers‘ for 2016.  I hope the year is healthy, happy, fun and successful for us all.

2015 was another very successful year for me both mosaic-wise and personally.  Here are some of the mosaic highlights:


British Assoc. Mosaic Makers

British Assoc. Mosaic Makers

Uploaded my work onto the BAMM website (British Association for Modern Mosaics) having joined at their AGM the previous October.

Approached to make a large outdoor commission from a client who found me on BAMM website  – a week after I uploaded my work  What timing!

Got my work accepted in the prestigious ‘North East Art Collective Gallery‘ in Newcastle. 12 rooms of art, 150 artists – I am in great company.

Invited to join ‘Wonder Street‘ an invite-only platform where designers and artists showcase and sell their work.


Ivy Mirror

Ivy Mirror

Richmond Open Studios – exhibited in Harris & Hoole Coffee Shop in St. Margarets after meeting the lovely Steph.

Had some Coaching with Monica of Live a Life You Love and re-assessed where I want to go with my mosaics – definatley up a few notches

Left All Original after 2 years 3 months – the last piece I sold in the shop went to Greece

Harris & Hoole invited me to continue displaying my work – a fantastic platform for me in a lovely part of Twickenham


French Cross

French Cross

Was approached to make a ‘French Cross’ commission for a piece that will be going to live in France. The client saw a mosaic commissioned by their neighbours a few years ago

Finished and delivered The Marple Mosaic

Got my special birthday shed that will be used as a studio

Been making mosaics for 8 years

Met Lesley and displayed my work in her new South Street Gallery in Isleworth, West London

The Marple Collection Exhibition at South Street Gallery

My Meadow House Butterfly

My Meadow House Butterfly

Christmas event at Harris & Hoole

With Kitty and her ‘team’ help make 15 mosaic butterflies for Meadow House Hospice in Ealing

450 Facebook Followers


Picture of the Year 2015

So here is my favourite picture of the year – The Marple Mosaic.

The Marple Mosaic

The Marple Mosaic

Several reasons: my biggest commission to date, my first geometric mosaic which turned out really well, a fantastic story, made great friendships with the clients Hilary and Pauline, moved me up to the next level of mosaic making.

Runner ups:

My Sun and Moon because I really love this mosaic and see it every day on my shed. Rufus Reindeer because I didn’t want a ‘cartoon’ animal and think I have the right level with him.




Picture Highlights 2015

As 2015 draws to a close and I look back, it has been an incredibly busy mosaic year.  My aim this time last year was to get my work into a Gallery – I got into 3! I have had some great events and some significant commissions.  Here are some picture highlights from 2015.

Let me know your favourite and at the end of the year I shall let you know which one is MY PICTURE OF THE YEAR.


The Butterfly Blog

P1050616Here is the butterfly I made as part of the Meadow House mosaic butterfly project.

Meadow House, based in Ealing, is a specialist palliative care service funded by the NHS.  Meadow House work hard to ensure a welcoming and nurturing environment for patients and their visitors. It offers 3 levels of service:  planned/review of care, symptom control and assessment and end of life care. There are 15 single rooms all with en suite facilities. There is a conservatory which is fully equipped to allow patient beds to be accommodated there if the patient would like to spend time out of their room.

P1050617My chum Anne and I have been going to a mosaic workshop with Kitty Hartnell along with several other people for a few years. We are all keen mosaic makers and the sessions with Kitty help us all improve our mosaic skills, encourage and inspire each other and have a good chat and catch up whilst working on our mosaics.

P1050622When Vicky Pearson (a volunteer at Meadow House) went to visit Anne, she saw the large mosaic butterfly that Anne had made. She commented that it would be lovely to have some butterflies as ‘room plaques’ for the 15 rooms at Meadow House.  Anne discussed this with Kitty and the idea was born to get the group to make the mosaic butterflies as room plaques as a voluntary project.

P1050621Vicky  and Nicky  Cockayne (Ward Manager) were delighted with this idea and gave a list of all the butterflies (including some moths) to Kitty, who then set about cutting them out of plywood and drawing them up ready for us all to mosaic. It was agreed that we would make the 15 butterflies outside of our normal mosaic sessions so 16 of us met as and when we could on various dates over a 6 week period. Some people made a whole butterfly, others mixed and matched. They key aim was to get them all mosaiced, grouted, painted and ready to hand over to Meadow House before Christmas. It was a great team effort and we all enjoyed it very much.

P1050624On Wednesday 3rd December the butterflies were ready to fly away to Meadow House.  Nicky and Vicky arrived at Kitty’s to be greeted by the several of the mosaic team, a celebratory glass of fizz and a table full of beautiful, vibrant mosaic butterflies.

Nicky said the butterflies exceeded all her expectations and she was delighted with the results, which will definitely make the rooms at Meadow House more homely for the patients and their visitors.

A big thank you must go to Anne and Vicky who had the ‘chrysalis’ of the idea. Also thanks to the mosaic gang who gave their time so generously – it was often quite challenging for a creative group who are used to doing their own thing, to have to make the butterflies authentic and symmetrical – which Kitty insisted upon! However, the biggest thanks goes to Kitty who so keenly agreed to the idea, provided all the materials, cut and drew the shapes and steered and encouraged us all making sure we used vibrant, colourful materials therefore enabling the project to ‘hatch’ into these 15 beautiful mosaics butterflies.



COMING SOON:  a look back to the highlights of 2015.

Mosaic Poppies

P1050595For this Remembrance weekend I have made 3 poppy mosaics. They will be in the South Street Gallery as Lesley is having a special weekend event.

Here is a reminder of the fantastic poppy art installation that graced the Tower of London last year.  A stunning, moving display that will stay in the mind forever.

LONDON ACTIVITIES:  We have started to walk ‘The Capital Ring‘ which is a 78 mile route around London, divided into 15 sections. Walking through open spaces, nature reserves and woodlands, it passes numerous historic sights and places of interest.

Section 1: Woolwich to Falconwood. Starting by the river at Woolwich going towards the Thames Barrier, branching off into Maryon & Maryon Wilson Parks, past Charlton House, over Woolwich Common and Eltham Common before ascending Oxleas Meadows for spectacular views over London and a well deserved cuppa before catching the train home. A beautiful day and a great start to this walking adventure.

Mosaic Shed Art

P1050573I spend so much time making mosaics as commissions, for galleries or exhibitions that I very rarely make a piece for myself. However, when I got my birthday garden shed, I knew I would be making a mosaic to go onto it. Initially I was going to make a ‘welcome’ sign with the shed name but as I couldn’t decide on the final name, that piece remains on hold.

As I was planting the new garden beds around the shed I suddenly spotted the perfect place for a mosaic,  a long triangular inset just above the door. I knew instantly the style of mosaic I wanted and could picture it in my mind. The problem was transposing that complicated idea into such an odd shape, keeping my original concept of the image but making it suitable as a mosaic.

P1050572Alan was in charge of cutting the exact size board, it would be wedged into the inset so no room for any error whatsoever – no pressure then! We used Wedi Tilebacker Board (the lightweight cousin of Hardie Bakker Board) which is a very flexible compound that can be cut with a Stanley knife but is meant to be robust enough to go outdoors and is weatherproof.  It is the first time I have used it so we shall see, best to experiment on myself rather than a clients commission!

Once I got going I really enjoyed making the piece. It was done in two sections initially and then we used wooden kebab sticks inside to join the pieces together, plus lots of glue and then gaffer tape. The whole structure was very precarious but I needed to mosaic continuous lines and not have an obvious join.P1050571

Here is the finished piece in situ – I am delighted with it and am looking forward to having the winter sun shine on it as there is a lot of ‘sparkle’ potential.

REQUEST: Let me know what you think – could ‘shed art’ catch on?

COMING SOON: Mosaic Mishaps!

My Mosaic Story – Kitty’s Workshop


Metal sculpture by Kitty Hartnell

So having got interested in making mosaics I started to buy supplies and materials and made various mosaics from projects suggested in books. However, I really wanted to join a group of other mosaic makers in order to learn more, get ideas, swop tips and techniques and be part of a group. I tried to see if there were any groups locally but most were ‘art groups’ that didn’t really fit the bill.


Mosaic Poppies by Kitty Hartnell

Now isn’t funny how, when you want something, it often materialises. Purely by chance, I went to a charity craft evening run by Kitty Hartnell, a metal and mosaic maker. After chatting for a while Kitty told me she runs a weekly workshop, for people of all levels interested in making mosaics, and invited me along to a session.

Since becoming a regular at Kitty’s weekly mosaic workshops, I know my technique, style and confidence have improved greatly. Kitty does not give lessons as such – we are all at different stages and make what we want. However, she provides constant advice and guidance and will teach a skill or technique as requested. She is brilliant on colour and texture and always seems to find that ‘special’ tile that really makes the mosaic come alive.

St. Marys Lighthouse

the ‘fence’ !

I am not artistically trained so Kitty – in her gentle, understated way – has really helped my work to progress – I have learnt so much about scale, formation, structure, colour and materials. She has really helped me with my artistic ‘eye’ especially on perspective, scale and structure. The first time I made a mosaic based on a photo, I spent 3 hours putting in a ‘fence’ and 10 minutes de-glueing it, so at the end of the session I had an empty board! The following week Kitty helped me with the perspective and now people always comment on how good that fence is and how it makes the piece so realistic.


Mosaic by Kitty Hartnell

Kitty won’t accept the phrase ‘that will do’. So even when I make mosaics at home I can hear her words in my ear, sometimes annoyingly, so if a piece is wrong, I can’t ignore it – it won’t do!

Have a look at her website to see the beautiful mosaic and metalwork pieces that Kitty makes.