Category Archives: Mosaic Workshop

Adhesives and Grouts

Getting the right tools for the trade is essential for all artists and craftspeople. You should always buy the best materials that you can afford as the quality shines through in the final artwork.

When people see a completed mosaic, hopefully they see a beautiful design, skilled artistry, lots of patience, love and care built into the piece. However, the ‘back room boys’ are also very important – the adhesives and the grouts. In fact they are literally the cement that binds the piece and if you use poor quality materials, no matter how good the mosaic is, the end result will be poor and may not stand up to the test of time.

Fellow BAMM member and mosaic artist Jane Bracey arranged for a small group of us to go on a training day with BAL – Building Adhesives Ltd. Based in Stoke on Trent, they are the market leaders for tiling, delivering innovative products and service solutions for over 50 years. Although their main trade is to tilers and floorers, the mosaic world also form a key part of their business so they were delighted to offer us a day of training in the use of their products.

11 of us arrived to be welcomed by David Rowley who has been with the company for 27 years and was to be our trainer for the day. After a short presentation on their history and  key products we were dispatched to Research and Development. Here we were shown how they put together the various components that make up the adhesives and grouts and innovative ideas for future products. This whole area was fascinating and it was great talking to real scientists. Did you know that they can use rubber, sand or glass in adhesives?  There are a whole range of varying strengths, flexibility and durability to take into account when selecting your adhesives.

We then went to visit Quality Control where it was explained to us how they are able to identify an exact batch of product from a tiny sample using advanced techniques. So although their products are of the highest quality, if there were any problems, they would be able to break down all the component parts in order to resolve the problem.

An excellent buffet lunch – with a huge range of cream cakes – was followed by an afternoon of practical, hands-on demonstrations from David. He said it was quite a novelty training us as obviously their key clients are tilers, floorers, etc. By running this course BAL was able to appreciate the obstacles and challenges us mosaic artists have to overcome and how they may be able to specifically adapt various products to meet  our unique needs. There are a lot of us out there so we do form a huge potential market for them.

As David has been in the business for so long he knew all aspects and was an expert in anything tile related – including grouting. When he wanted to demonstrate various grout techniques I just happened to have my Green Man mosaic which David used as the ‘one I prepared earlier‘. So my Green Man has now been professionally grouted by the Grout Guru.

After a factory tour and collecting our Goodie Bags (which included enough grouts and adhesives to mosaic a football pitch) we all made our way home. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and we all learnt so much. David was happy to answer our numerous questions and queries, some of which even challenged him but he always came up with a solution. Additionally, it was lovely to meet so many other BAMM colleagues. We have all been in touch since and visited each others’ websites and Facebook pages. All our work is so different and seeing their beautiful range of mosaic work emphasised to me yet again how many different styles of mosaics there are and how there is room for us all in this exciting art world.

 

Quaterley Review

The first quarter of 2017 has been fairly quiet on the commission front so I decided to take the opportunity to catch up on ‘admin and organising’ so I would be all set up for the busy season – which is starting already.

BEAT. I sent in my application form and have been accepted to take part in BEAT this year (Borough of Ealing Art Trail). Last year was the first but unfortunately I couldn’t take part as I was doing the Maggies Centre Cancer Walk. The art trail event is over 2 weekends in September. I will have a range of indoor and outdoor mosaics to view and for sale. I will also be happy to answer any questions people may have and I will be taking bookings from anyone who may want a beginners lesson. Watch this space for more info.

STUDIO. I decided to have a bit of a change around in my studio. It is quite a small space so I have always had to be creative in its usage. I have a bench the full width which is great when I am working on one piece, but does get a bit crowded if I have more or I have stacked up pieces ready for grouting. I have now put the bench away and have a oblong table in the room. It gives me much more space for working on and I am able to have several pieces on the go at once, with their relevant tiles, cutters etc. It means I have to squash round a bit to get the tiles down from the shelves, get my backing boards, glues etc. but so far it seems to be working.

FACEBOOK. I have had a mosaic Facebook page since my nephew set me up almost 4 years ago. Although I have a steady following, there were so many areas of FB that I found really confusing and I also wanted to use it more efficiently – time to call in the experts. I booked a couple of hours training with the very informative, knowledgeable and patient Shelley from Ealing Mums In Business.

Within 10 minutes of her arriving  Shelley identified a whole section of potential clients that I wasn’t targeting. She really helped me understand Facebook in a way that made me see how I could be using it more efficient and effectively. Since her training, I have signed up to some local groups and my ‘Likes’ have already increased significantly. I have also had a lot of interest in lessons and commissions. Do have a look at my Facebook Page, its an ‘Open Site’ so anyone can view it. Do give it a ‘Like’ if you want to see more regular pictures and info.

 I now feel set up and re-furbished, ready to go forward with a busy and exciting mosaic year.

Current Projects

When people ask me what I am working on at the moment I usually have to say “actually, I am working on three pieces” as it is very rare for me to only have one ‘work in progress’ on my studio bench.

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p1060499I am not sure why this is, I think it has something to do with liking the variety and diversity the different pieces offer me.  I am usually working on one main, complex piece which will be challenging for me. It could be a complicated picture that requires a lot of intricate cutting and shaping, or it may be a new technique I am trying to master. I then have a ‘fun’ piece that I switch to when I want a bit of a rest and to ‘play’. Finally I will have something using a totally different technique e,g, glass-on-glass which means I am using a totally different medium. I could be working on all the pieces in a single session or I may just pop into the studio for 10 minutes while waiting for supper to cook.

p1060504This ‘scatter-gun’ approach works very well for me. Its not that I am procrastinating as friends will vouch, I am a very focused person and you usually have to drag me away from my mosaics. I think it is rather more the case that I love doing mosaics so much that even when I have spent a long time on a complicated piece, I still want to mosaic but just have a change  of scene.

p1060331If I am working on a very large commission or I am up against a tight deadline, then I would probably work on that mosaic on a seperate work area, spending a dedicated amount of time each day on the piece. However, I would still sneakily turn my chair round to my main work bench in the evening for a little play about!

These pieces have all been on the go recently and most are now ready to go.

  • Auntie Irene’s Butterfly which is to go outside and catch the light, so lots of sparkle and bling
  •  a peacock on a re-cycled kitchen cupboard shelf without a background – so a different style of mosaic.
  •  my second beach picture – I don’t often do ‘scenes’ but this gives me a change to practice my drawing
  • a few glass-on-glass pieces because once you pour out the special (expensive) glass glue, you want to make sure you use up every last drop!

 

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.

 

 

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

 

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Mosaic Lessons

P1050392This year I intend to continue offering Mosaic Lessons to people who are interested in learning the basic, first stages of mosaic making.

I offer one day lessons on an ad-hoc, request led basis. These are usually for small groups of up to 4 people or on a one-to-one basis. They are held in my West London studio and I provide all the materials needed.

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People know that I am a ‘hands-on’ type of person and that is how I run my lessons.  I don’t spend much time on the theory and history of mosaic as you can read up on all of that in various books and the internet. I like you to get your sleeves rolled up and your hands dirty straight away. The aim is to make a small piece that hopefully can be completed and taken home that day. The sessions are informative, relaxed and fun and will give people a flavour of the very early stages of mosaic making.

Lesson 4I usually find that people are a bit over optimistic about their ‘first piece’ and they come along with all sorts of stunning, complex  images from the internet. One person even asked if she could make an interpretation of Van Goughs ‘Sunflowers’ in her beginners class. I thought ‘I hope not’ otherwise I will have major competition in the mosaic field!! But joking apart, I do try to meet expectations once people realise that mosaic is its own art form. If you bring a water colour painting to mosaic, the completed piece will look like a mosaic, not a watercolour painting.

Whatever type of session you need, I can usually accommodate it.

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Sometimes people have an idea of the piece they want to make and they may even have some special tiles they would like to use. In that case, I am happy to work with them to achieve that piece. Other times, people know the basics (they may have even had a previous lesson with me) but just need a bit of help maybe starting or finishing a piece. Again, I am happy to spend an odd hour here and there and would charge on an hourly basis. I have some people who just like to come for the odd half a day now and again and mosaic and chat, again, happy to accommodate.

P1030519So, if you think you would like to have a go at making your first mosaic, or if you think you would like to try and find your creative side, consider booking a mosaic lesson with me.  They also make great gifts and you could have a joint session with a friend.

P1040820Here is  a quote from Linda who made this lovely Beach Scene mosaic.

“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

Give me a call or drop me an email on rosannasmosaics@gmail.com  if you would like more info on my Mosaic Lessons.

 

 

 

 

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

 

My Mosaic Studio

P1050604Following the recent ‘mosaic mishap‘ in my studio, it seemed like a good excuse for a sort out and tidy up so I have spent the past few days re-organising my studio.

My mosaic studio has gone through many phases.  When we first moved into this house 25 years ago it was the spare room and a good place to do the ironing and store the boxes until we had unpacked everything. We then turned it into our ‘play’ room and shared it for our respective hobbies.  Unfortunately, both Alan and I are too structured and organised and have our own set ways of doing things so a joint space was never going to work.

Studio-1_180I then went self employed so the room became my home office. When I started mosaicing as a hobby I had a small mosaic shelf in the ‘office’ and harmony was restored. As mosaics took over, so did the mosaic shelves! Eventually I ‘retired’ from professional work and that was when mosaics became my main pastime. The room is now a dedicated studio although there is an small area for my laptop and admin.

My Studio

Being a painfully organised person, I like to keep the studio really neat and tidy. It won’t surprise anyone who knows me to hear that my tiles are all colour co-ordinated, with different shelves for different types of tile; glass, ceramic, smalti.  I also have another area for all my glass beads, enhancement pieces, fused glass, mirror tiles etc.

I do appreciate how lucky I am to have a dedicated mosaic space. It means I can work on a piece as and when, for as little and long as I want to. I can then just walk away without having to do a major clear up.

 REQUEST: In the New Year I will be doing a Q&A Blog so any mosaic questions you may have, drop me an email at rosannasmosaics@gmail.com and I can reply via a Blog.

COMING SOON: Review of 2015

Name The Shed Competition

P1050061Regular readers will know that Alan bought me a shed for my birthday and my aim is to use it for gardening and mosaicing. Already I seem to be spending a lot of my time in it.  As well as the above it has also been used for evening drinks and breakfasts catching the early morning sunshine! I am currently working on a new commission and it is providing the ideal space for spreading out all my tiles and equipment.

Calling it a ‘shed’ does not seem to do it justice, it needs a proper name. Lots of people have made suggestions and I said in the previous Blog we would have a competition. So here we go:

Listed below are the suggestions:

Mosaic Mansion

Rosanna’s Retreat

RHS Ealing (Rosanna Henderson’s Shed – Ealing)

Hendo’s Hideaway

The Log Cabin (see previous Blog)

The Mole Hole (Mosaic / Leisure)

The Studio Shed

The Garden Room

The Grout House

The Creative Cabin

The Craft Cabin

The Room of Requirements (as in Harry Potter)

The Cutting Room

REQUEST: To vote for your favourite, either ‘Leave a Reply below or email me

COMING SOON: ……..and the name of the Shed is ****