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………….
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………….
I recently got a phone call from my sister’s sister-in-law. She wanted to commission me to make a piece for her daughter-in-law’s mother’s special birthday (phew).
The initial phone call was quite straight forward “Can I commission you to make a mosaic” – “yes of course, what would you like” – “something for Pam’s birthday, she likes bright colours”. It was at that stage that I suggested we have another call later on so we could discuss various things that needed to be considered and agreed.
Getting the idea for the commission from a client is usually quite simple as the person either knows exactly what they want or they have some idea (a Bird….. maybe a Parakeet…… definitely a Kingfisher). However, there are always lots of other factors to take into account e.g.
All the above are key to establish in order for me to use the correct type of backing board and glues. Once I know the answers to all of the above I can give a price.
Now we can start on the piece. Although a lot of my work is ‘freestyle,’ for a commission I will sketch it out roughly (as I have very basic drawing skills). The client sometimes wants to see the sketch and will make changes, suggestions or may totally change their mind (grrr!). Once we discussed ideas for her design, Jean did let me have a totally free reign – which, to be honest I prefer then I can tweak or change as I go along and the piece takes shape.
Once the piece was made I delivered it in person and Jean saw her commission for the first time. Happily there was a good ‘wow’ factor and I know she was pleased with the piece.
I have since heard that Pam was delighted as well so another successful commission.
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.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the MARPLE MOSAIC – 2 years old. I thought I would show you the original blog I published about the piece. Since then we have remained in regular contact with Hilary and Pauline with Skype calls and visits. I have developed a talk on the mosaic entitled ‘From Inspiration to Installation‘ and I have had an article about the mosaic published in the BAMM magazine ‘Grout‘. The Marple Mosaic continues to receive visitors and praise.
It all started back in February 2015 when I got an email from Hilary and Pauline asking if I would be interested in being commissioned to make a large outdoor mosaic to go into an inset in their walled, courtyard garden. We then talked on the phone and got on so well that I instantly agreed even though we were not sure what the piece was going to be. Over the next couple of weeks ideas and sketches were discussed and emailed and we very quickly agreed on a piece that we all liked. I could then go shopping for supplies!
Once I started work we began to Skype so they could see the progress, although I tried to only show snippets rather than the overall piece, to keep them guessing! I have kept a pictorial diary of the whole process for them. We have become firm friends during the process and found we are all straight talkers, have similar interests and enjoy a good laugh.
Once it was ready, Alan and I were happy to deliver it and take the opportunity to have a few days in Buxton en route which coincided with our wedding anniversary (Alan honestly said he didn’t mind). On arrival we had a grand unveiling with a bottle of champagne to ‘toast’ the new addition! The WOW factor was incredible and obviously very rewarding for me as I really enjoyed making the mosaic and was delighted they were so happy with it.
Hilary and Pauline had the mosaic installed the next day and we had a trip over to see it in situ and get some photos before we came back to London. I love making commissions and although they can be a bit stressful and worrying, it is all worthwhile when you get the reward of seeing the reaction and praise that shows how happy Hilary and Pauline are with their piece of mosaic art.
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
Outdoor mosaics can really enhance a garden, courtyard or patio area however large or small. They are hard wearing and durable and can usually stand extremes in temperature. They add a different dimension to the space and fun. Mosaics are still the ‘undiscovered art form’ for a lot of people so if someone does have a mosaic indoors or outside, it is usually quite a talking point.
I have made a large range of outdoor mosaic art. I love talking to the client and finding out what they want from their outdoor space and what feel they would like to create – a sense of fun, calmness, a real show stopper? These lizards are made on large flat stones and can easily sit in a bed or on the patio. This one is called ‘Hopper’ and lives by my sisters pond. Several of Hopper’s brothers and sisters have gone abroad and live in France, Spain and Brazil. I have also done ducks, flowers, butterflies for beds.
A large outdoor piece I made a few years ago was this dolphin on a large slab of York stone. It was a commission for a local friend as a wedding present for his wife, and secretly placed in their newly landscaped garden – no pressure then. Luckily she liked it, whew! Mosaic stepping stones are very popular and again, I have made quite a range. You can really have fun with them and they can be quirky or traditional, its totally your choice.
To make a real impact you could have a piece of mosaic art hanging up outside against the brickwork, fence or set in to a wall. Quentin (my first commission) and the French Cross are both on a converted Benedictine Monastery in France. The Sun/Moon panel is in the O’Grady Court residential home and was a present from me to them. The glass-on-glass piece would look stunning in a conservatory with the light shining through to show it off to its full sparkly glory.
Of course, my biggest outdoor piece is The Marple Mosaic, which I am really proud of. It was commission by a couple who found my website. They really liked my style of work and felt we had shared values. The piece is very geometric (which is not my usual style) and is my biggest piece and challenge yet. The clients absolutely love it and we have since become good friends.
If you think a mosaic could enhance your outside space, please give me a call to discuss the possibilities. No obligation, I am always happy to chat ‘mosiacs’. You can also visit my Outdoor Gallery to get more ideas.
Regular 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.
I 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.
I 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 the 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.
So 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.
July and August are such strange months, the roads are deserted but tube trains, museums and London parks are full to bursting with families and tourists enjoying the summer holidays. The mosaic world takes a holiday as well and I have managed to get away myself as it has been very quiet on the mosaic front. I have also taken the chance to have a sort out and tidy my studios ready for the autumn rush – she says hopefully!
I made this butterfly during summer for my sister’s newly born great niece. I had made her big sister a pink elephant when she was born 3 years ago so it seemed fair that another mosaic was in order. I have used quite a few ‘glitter’ tiles so it should really sparkle on her bedroom wall.
Following on from the fantastic response and reception we got from O’Grady Court on the OPEN Ealing mosaic project, I have volunteered to make them a mosaic to go onto another wall in their lovely rooftop garden. The last voluntary project I did was at the Log Cabin, a children’s charity, so I am more than happy to make a piece for the residents at this lovely sheltered housing organisation. I have had the initial meeting with them and we talked through ideas, where it would be placed etc. After lots of discussion we came up with the final choice of mosaic so it is now up to me to get sketching and decide on the size, colours etc. Hopefully I shall have some progress pictures for you soon.
I have just received a new commission for 2 stepping stones. I have made several stepping stones in the past, notably my sundials and the ammonite. They are great fun to do and lend themselves well to the mosaic medium. As they are so durable and robust they are ideal for a garden, flowerbed or patio. This client has asked if I am able to do 2 horoscope star signs – I think that is a brilliant idea and I am a bit disappointed I hadn’t thought of that idea before myself! Obviously I said ‘yes’ so I am now looking at sizes, colours, designs etc.
So after the lull of summer comes the storm of new projects – I am looking forward to getting back to work and mosaicing again.
LONDON ACTIVITY: So many of my Blogging Followers have been asking me how I am getting on with the CAPITAL RING walk so here is progress to date: We have now completed 7 stages of the Capital Ring and have crossed the river to north London. Combining stages 4 & 5 took us from Crystal Palace to Wimbledon Park via Streatham, Tooting and Wandsworth Commons. Stage 6 was probably one of our favourite routes starting at Wimbledon Park with its massive boating lake and overlooking the City skyline, passing the famous windmill on Wimbledon Common, lovely walking over Putney Heath which took us up into Richmond Park. Now we felt we were on ‘home territory’ but as we went through Richmond Park we crossed through lovely parts that we didn’t know existed. When we walked down past Pembroke Lodge, through Petersham Meadows and to completion at the river by Richmond Bridge, it was great to be able to hop on a bus to get home. Stage 7 was definately our local patch and the walk took us on a familiar route that we have cycled or walked many, many times. The end of the route was literally ’round the corner’ to home!
We are sure that the Capital Ring route used to come past the bottom of our road so I am wondering if anyone out there has a copy of the Capital Ring book pre the re-print in 2014. If you have, please do get in touch and let me know the old route.
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.
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!
On 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.
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.
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.”
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.