Category Archives: My Mosaic Journey

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

EALING ART TRAIL – 2018

beat

The Borough of Ealing Art Trail (BEAT) takes place this year on the following dates:

Friday 7th, Saturday 8th, Sunday 9th and Friday 14th, Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th of September.

BEATING the drum 2017

I have been a bit more involved this year as (for my sins) I volunteered to join the BEAT Committee so we have actually been planning and arranging things since January. I was so impressed last year (my first BEAT) with the organisation of the whole event that I offered to help by doing the odd job – of course, I should have known I would not get away so lightly.  Kitty ‘encouraged me’ to join the committee so how could I say no – would I dare say no!!

We have a great Team that are all focused and gets on with the numerous tasks that need doing. The format has worked well in past years and of course, each year it is tweaked and enhanced to make an even  bigger and better art trail.  This year we have lots more artists and venues so hopefully even more visitors. You can visit the artist’s page on the website and see a list of the artists taking place along with their profiles, personal statements and photographs.

Promotional Mosaic BEAT 2017

I had a great BEAT last year with over 160 visitors over 4 days. By the 2nd weekend people were coming to see me as they had met others on the trail who recommended my venue. This year I plan to be open for all 6 days (gulp) so I hope people will re-visit me and I get some new visitors as well.  No doubt my loyal friends will also pop by and some of them even help me on the day which allows me to nip off for the odd cuppa, comfort break. I am really looking forward to it.

The venue brochure will be available from mid July so do let me know how many copies you want. Hmmm, come to think of it, brochure distribution is my job so please double that number.

 

 

 

My Mosaic Studio

The room I use as my mosaic studio has gone through several reincarnations since we bought this house all those years  ago.

The demolition starts!

When we moved here in 1990, although the house was in good order structurally, it did need a lot of DIY and had to be decorated throughout. The ‘small room’ had Superman wallpaper which was infused with Vicks Vapour Rub! For a long time is was a storage space for all the packing boxes, hoover, ironing board etc. – the usual ‘dumping ground’.

When I went self employed in 2004 it became my home office.  Filing cupboards came in and a long workbench, lots of room to spread out my personnel reports, training courses etc. As I got involved in mosaics in 2007 I had a small shelf where I kept the odd few bits of tiles and glue that I had. Well (and I think you know where I am going with this)…….mosaic materials started to grow and mosaics in progress shared the bench with personnel reports. As I cut back on my professional work the mosaic commissions increased.

Lots of shelving

Time to re-decorate and install some serious storage space. One of the problems is that I need to see everything I have so Alan (my lovely hubby and ‘Mosaic Roadie’) put in open shelves so I was able to store all my mosaic tiles and paraphernalia within view and have easy access. Changes continued over the years with the addition of a re-allocated bookcase and kitchen display unit and of course, mosaic supplies continued to grow.

Following my recent glass-on-glass course I realised it was time for yet another refurbishment so I could have a bit more room for my large sheets of glass.  So Alan stripped the room back to the shell, our friend CJ did a great repair and painting job. We then had a few visits to IKEA.

 

 

The result is a lovely newly decorated, opened up studio. 2 work areas (one for glass, one for traditional mosaic) and I even have a small desk for my computer! It is still a small room but it is amazing how you can fully utilise the space with a bit of creative thinking. I am absolutely delighted with the results and appreciate how lucky I am to have a dedicated work area.

I think I have the perfectly designed studio now and cannot see how it can possibly be improved however………….I am always one to keep my options open!!

A celebratory drink then back to mosaic work.

 

 

A Mosaic Celebration

My First Mosaic

We start 2018 with a celebration of 2017 when I reached my 10 year mosaic making anniversary. It all started on 29th July 2007 when we went down to Bexhill-on-Sea to visit our friend Steve and meet his new lady friend, Julia. Although I didn’t think I liked mosaics and was very reluctant, Julia encouraged / cajoled / persuaded me to make a small mosaic piece. No cutting involved, it took me all afternoon but I LOVED IT and was immediately hooked. The rest, as they say, is history.

To celebrate and commemorate my 10 year anniversary the very talented film maker Angela Kay of Little Whale Media has made a video showing my mosaic story. I am delighted with the film and will be promoting and sharing it this year so please have a look, let me know what you think and share it with your friends and contacts.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.


 

If after watching you feel inspired and it has heightened your interest in mosaics, then keep reading my Blogs which will show my activities and adventures during this year. I will start off with a new style of mosaic making that I have recently  been introduced to – coming soon……….

 

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

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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

 

Mosaic Supplies – Part 1, “Essentials”

Whenever you get a new interest or hobby, be it sporty, musical, physical, creative and you start getting involved, you find there is a whole world out there that exists  for that activity. It was the same for me when I discovered mosaics.

When I started to have an interest in mosaic I went to the local Hobbycraft store and bought a jar of mixed colour mosaic tiles. I didn’t have any cutters so just used them whole to make a mirror – a lot of mosaic newbies make a mirror as their first piece. However, it wasn’t until I was having a weekend at Bath and discovered the mosaic shop on Poultney Bridge that I realised there are specialist mosaic suppliers. As I entered the shop it was an Aladdin’s Cave of mosaic tiles, a riot of colour – I was hooked! I bought loads of tiles, plus cutters, plus glues and a book. They also sold ‘templates’ almost mosaic by numbers. I bought this template and all the tiles required and made my first serious piece. I still look at the piece now and am amazed by the complexity – I can see 3 hundred zebras leaping across the wilderness! Can you?

I tend to use the small mosaic tiles called tesserae. They come on sheets of plastic mesh or brown paper and are 2cm square. You can get glass ones which come in literally hundreds of gorgeous vivid colours, some sparkly some iridescent, or ceramic matt ones in lovely muted shades of greens, tans, browns etc.

Newly bought tiles

I always enjoy ‘going shopping’. I then have the lovely messy job of unsticking all the tiles before, washing and drying them. Although time consuming and some would say tedious, I love this preparation, it is like a ritual to prepare the materials and myself for the next mosaic. Once the tiles are clean and ready they get batched up and added to my current stock  -obviously colour co-ordinated.

Washed, dried, sorted –  ready to use

A main supplier for me is Mosaic Heaven based at Market Deeping, near Peterborough. Joe and Kate who run Mosaic Heaven are great people and I love visiting their warehouse. A lot of their business is via the internet but I like to go in person so I can feel and see the tiles – it usually means I buy more! They always have time for a chat and to show me their latest developments with their website

Kate & Joe at Mosaic Heaven

or changes to the warehouse. Kate usually encourages me to look at ‘new lines’ that have come in since my last visit.  I never say no and of course, I usually buy something that wasn’t on my shopping list (clever Kate!!). They were brilliant when I was doing the Log Cabin Community Mosaics and donated a lot of materials from the project. I have referred a lot of people to them and have always heard back how helpful they were.

 

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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.

P1030894

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!