Category Archives: Mosaic Lessons

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………….

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.

 

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Getting stuck in

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Sue’s Sunflower

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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

 

 

 

Review of 2017

As 2017 is drawing to a close this seems an ideal time for my annual review.

My First Mosaic

It has been a busy, challenging and enjoyable mosaic year for me. A significant highlight being I reached the 10 year anniversary of mosaic making – which all started with that small coaster made in Julia’s outdoor  studio. I will be celebrating this along with setting out my ideas for my 11th year in 2018.

So highlights for 2017 include:

A visit to Stoke on Trent to have an “Adhesive and Grout Training Day” by  BAL British Adhesvives Ltd. We also teamed this with visiting our friends Sara and Lisa in nearby Penkhull. As they are members of Doomsday Morris this tied in neatly with my Green Man mosaic making phase.

 

BEAT Ealing Art Trail was a great event for me with over 260 visitors. I loved being involved in this event and will certainly be taking part next year.

 

As well as giving a lot of one day Beginners Mosaic Lessons‘, I have had several commissions – 2 of them birthday presents for ‘Mother-in-Laws’. I have also ventured into making  ‘glass-on’glass’ pieces which I have really enjoyed and would like to develop more next year. Here is a selection of favourite 2017 pieces.

 

So I think I can now put my ‘nippers’ and ‘tesserae’ down and take a well earned break and start on the Christmas activities. Thank you for your support and encouragement during the year. I will see you all again early in 2018.

Enjoy the festivities.

Rufus Reindeer

 

 

 

Mosaic Lessons

I will spend this weekend giving Mosaic Lessons, mainly to people that showed an interest at the BEAT Ealing Art Trail. I run lessons on an ad-hoc, request led basis and like to have 3/4 people for the standard lesson. However, I am able to work with larger groups if someone wants a tailor made workshop.

The standard lesson is very much a beginners, basic guide to Mosaic Making.  I am not a great one for theory being very much a hands-on, practical person. So we tend to get stuck in straight away with the nuts and bolts of cutting,placing etc.

It is always quite hard to recommend what people should make as their first piece and, to be honest, I still haven’t found the magic answer to that. I generally find that people do tend to be rather over ambitious in their enthusiasm and ideas for a first piece. A friend that came for a beginners lesson bought a picture of Van Gough’s Sunflowers and asked if they would be able to make that in their first lesson – I said “I’ll be really disappointed if you can as I couldn’t and I’ve been doing this for 10 years!” Needless to say, they did make a sunflower but a very, very simplistic version.

I also like to make it clear that a mosaic is it’s own art form and the end result is not going to look like a watercolour painting or a photograph, it is it’s own interpretation. I hope the above does not sound negative but I like to give people a realistic expectation of what they should be able to achieve. The mosaic art form is quite different to what people expect.

I aim for a fun, informative day. I give out lots of information, tips and ideas. It is quite a full on day with a lot to get through.  As the lessons are based at my home studio it means I have lots of examples of my work to show as well as all the different styles, tiles and embellishments that I use. People go home at the end of the day quite tired, having learnt a new skill and clutching their prized new piece of home made art.

If you are interested in having a lesson, send me an email and I can send you an Information Sheet with more details.

I am really looking forward to welcoming my ‘students’ this weekend for a great lesson and hopefully some of them may get hooked and end up with a website and Blog of their own, just as I have!

Quote from previous attendee:  

“If you are looking for a Basic Mosaic Course for Beginners, Rosanna is your person….she will lead you, very professionally, through everything you need to know to make your first mosaic…… it is a very “full on” day, but at the end of it, you will come away with your own magical personal mosaic” – Linda Edrich

 

BEAT – A Successful Event

I really enjoyed taking part in the BEAT Ealing Art Trail over the past 2 weekends.

I had 250 visitors, made quite a few sales, took several orders for commissions and had a lot of people showing an interest in a mosaic beginners lesson.

All the people that visited seemed really interested and impressed with my mosaics art, especially the range and style of work. My newest venture – glass on glass – was very popular so I will certainly be making more of those.

A huge THANK YOU goes to the BEAT Committee for putting it all together and all the volunteers and helpers who got the brochures and publicity out, regular updates on social media and all the other one million and one things needed to put on an event of this scale.

I am already saying ‘when’ I do it next year rather than ‘if’.

 

BEAT – Less than a MONTH to go.

The BEAT Ealing Art Trail event is picking up momentum and is less than a month away. Yikes!

BEAT – Borough of Ealing Art Trail, is taking place over 2 weekends in September.  I am delighted to be taking part this year and have all sorts of great ideas and specials to offer visitors that come to see me at VENUE 45.

The brochure is now available and I am distributing them far and wide, especially in the Pitshanger area.  Its a lovely pocket size full colour brochure that shows all the artists with an individual profile, information on 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 and it would be nice to promote the event in other boroughs as well.

There is also a great website that has all the above info for visitors and lots of helpful advice and tips for us artists. Hints and Tips on exhibiting and how to make the most of Social Media have been particularly useful to me.

Along with showing my work I will have mosaics and cards for sale.

I will also raffle a mosaic at £1 per ticket and all the monies raised from this will be going to the Log Cabin Charity, where I made several mosaics on a voluntary basis.

As it is my fist BEAT I want to make it as interesting for visitors as possible as well as enjoying the experience myself. If you have any great ideas, or you have exhibited before and can offer me any tips do let me know. In the meantime I am busy, busy, busy making mosaics and planning and plotting on how to display everything.

 

 

 

October Update

October is a great month. Although chilly early morning and evening, the days are usually lovely and bright with a hazy autumnal sunshine. I have seen some spectacular sun rises as I do my early morning walks. The trees are turning beautiful colours and its lovely to be out walking in the crisp air kicking leaves. Its also a great excuse for me to start making lovely autumn casseroles to come home to tuck into after a days activities.

This has been a busy month for me mosaic wise, having started it off with an excellent and inspiring BAMM AGM and Conference.  Following on from the workshop I did with Jane Visick, I have been experimenting a lot with glass-on-glass mosaics. This is the one I started at the course with Jane and finished at home. p1060334Although I know it is a very basic version of what Jane was trying to teach us, it has given me a good start and has enabled me to grasp the basics of cutting and shaping the glass. It seems to be a very, very messy process and no matter how neat you try to be, you get tiny shards of glass everywhere so I am forever tidying up after myself. The ‘rule’ of never going into my studio barefoot is even more relevant with glass bits hiding everywhere.  I really enjoy making these glass pieces, I love the long ‘slashes’ of glass and the dramatic effect they create.  I will now need to perfect cutting the smaller pieces and shapes to make up the pictures.

Whilst at the BAMM Conference I got some great news – the new  Tower House Gallery in Northumberland  has taken 6 pieces of my work to display.

Triptych on Slate

Triptych on Slate

I am absolutely delighted as it is a lovely gallery and the quality of work on display is very high indeed. I will be proud to have my work hanging alongside the other artists.  I aim to make them a range of  glass-on-glass pieces and I will also be making another new range of tile and glass mosaic on slate, similar to this triptych.

So its going to be a busy autumn for me with 2 new ranges waiting to be made. We also aim to do the last leg of the Capital Ring  next week, which will just about be within a year of starting it!

 

 

 

A Weekend of Art

It was a full on weekend of art. It all started when my friend Janet came over. Janet and I met in 1976 when we both worked at a telex agency in Little Britain – yes there is such a place just behind St. Pauls. Janet and I share a love of all things craft, cooking and curry.

On the Friday we went to Handmade at Kew.  A four-day contemporary craft event giving visitors the opportunity to meet and buy art from over 200 extraordinary designer-makers including: ceramics, jewellery, fashion and textiles, glass, paper, furniture, metalwork, sculpture and interior accessories. The standard and quality of craftsmanship was outstanding. We spoke to several exhibitors and I have to say, I am tempted to submit my work for consideration next year. It would be quite an expensive outlay but great to be part of such a prestigious event.

British Assoc. Mosaic Makers

On Saturday I went to the BAMM AGM and Forum. As always, the range of speakers was fantastic and although it is only my 2nd year as a member, I felt very at home and quite honoured to be part of this amazing mosaic family.

Rosanna-Henderson

Wendy and Julie

 

Unfortunately I had to leave early as I had been invited to appear on the Christmas edition of Crafty Beggars in the House and they were filming that day.  Although I had to miss 2 BAMM speakers, I couldn’t resist the chance of being back with the Crafty Beggars team. It was lovely to see everyone and apart from the delightful Julie and Wendy, the Crew were the same and I met some of the Crafters that I knew from the previous shows. We ate mince pies, drank Prosecco and shared some truly dreadful Christmas jokes and stories.

P1040824Normally at Crafty Beggars I would have been demonstrating but as I was at the Conference I decided in true Blue Peter style to ‘take something I had made earlier’. So there I was at 7.30am going into Waterloo on the London Underground for the BAMM Conference with Rufus Reindeer. Despite a lot of stares, not one person on the train said anything – talk about the elephant / reindeer in the room! It was the same going on the overground  to film later on. However, at BAMM he received lots of compliments and pats on the head!

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Here’s one I made earlier in glass

Sunday was just as hectic. I was back at BAMM (minus Rufus) to do a Glass Mosaic Workshop with Jane Visick.  It was an excellent day and Jane is a great teacher. She taught us the intricacies of cutting glass into detailed, specific shapes and how to build up a picture.  I have used glass in my mosaics before but now I feel much more confident in using it to much better effect. We also picked up lots of tips and good ideas throughout the day – including ‘when did you last ‘turn’ your wheeled cutters’,  and the best glue to use for glass-on-glass.

By the end of the weekend I was ‘art-ed’ out, exhausted but very happy with everything I had done, plus I had learnt a new skill. The only possible way to relax was with a glass of wine watching Strictly.