Category Archives: Outdoor Mosaics

Quarterly Update

I can’t believe we are at the end of March.  I love this time of year, the garden is waking up, the sun is shining and the days are getting longer and lighter. These past 3 months have been busier than usual for me, here is my update.

NEW YEAR – NEW GALLERY

I was delighted when The Links Art Gallery in Whitley Bay invited me to display my mosaic art in their lovely gallery/café. This is a very popular spot for walkers, art lovers and tourists, right by the beach and is always packed with people. I have decided that all my work with them will have a ‘sea’ theme. 

COMMISSIONS

Like buses, 3 commissions came along at once! The fish are now happily swimming along in Rita and Derek’s kitchen in Norwich. The Daddy and Baby fish are replicas of Mummy (middle) fish which is made of ceramic. It was quite hard to match mosaic to ceramic  but I am really pleased with the colour match and the result.

 

Sunflower

Ann asked me to make this outdoor sunflower which she wanted to give as a present for her friend Lesley to hang in her newly restored garden in Cheltenham. As it was for outside I used Mexican and Irridescent tiles with slithers of red glass and mirror, which will give it a lovely shine when the light catches it.

Tony and Wendy asked me to make a Nuthatch for a friend’s birthday. I decided to give them a choice of style. The first bird is made of glass with a ceramic tile background and the other had a ceramic tile bird with a glass background – same mosaic totally different result. Can’t show you the pictures until the client has received it so I’ll post later on.

MOSAIC LESSONS

Following a large response at the BEAT Ealing Art Trail last year, I have been giving a lot of Beginners’ Mosaic Lessons – since then I have delivered to 24 people! I like to work with small groups of 3/4 so they get a lot of 1-2-1 attention. Everyone has taken away a lovely first mosaic, all totally different.  I now offer a Follow Up Session for people that would like to make another piece but either don’t have the space at home or don’t want to make a big financial outlay for materials and tiles.  If you know anyone who may like a Beginners’ Mosaic Lesson please CONTACT ME and I can send you an Information Sheet.

So, clocks have changed and the days will be longer now so it must be time to get out into the garden to do some digging and get some inspiration for my next batch of work.

I always like to hear from you so if you enjoy this Blog, my pictures or want to ask a question do LEAVE ME A REPLY below.

 

The Grape and Ivy Table Top

 

Original Insert

It is always nice to have a commission. As well as giving me a new project, it usually challenges and stretches me as an artist. So it was a great start to the year when my friends Val and Bruno commissioned me to make them an insert top for their outdoor table.

I’ve known Val since we both joined UIP in 1987 and we have been firm friends ever since enjoying meals, activities, City breaks and ski-ing holidays together with our hubbies. Val and Bruno have always followed my mosaic progress with great interest and they bought one of my earlier mosaics at my first exhibition.

My Sketch

As it was for outside I used Hardie Bakker Board for my base which Alan cut for me, exactly the same shape as the current insert, rather than a clean circle, so that is would fit perfectly . I then drew a rough sketch of the piece, following the original design but enhancing the grapes and leaves in quantity, size, shape and colour.

I started with the bunches of  grapes using round glass discs. I then made the leaves with glass tesserae and Mexican tiles, which are lovely to cut and shape. Once they were all in place I joined them all together with the ‘vines’ which I used making long strips of brown glass. This meant I could cut really thin pieces to make ‘tendrils’. I then moved on to the background which, as always, takes ages. In fact it took longer to do than all of the elements of the picture put together.

When the background was finally finished (whew) I asked Val if she would like to see a picture of it. At this stage if there was something she was not happy with, I could amend it but once it is grouted that is it – set in stone, or rather cement! I was delighted when Val said she would trust my judgement and wait until it was finished. I much prefer this then client can have the WOW factor as they see the completed piece for the first time (hopefully).

Val and Bruno are delighted with the completed mosaics, and so am I. Although I am normally very critical of my work this is definitely a favourite. The picture, style and colours are all so very ME and I really loved making the piece for them.

Grape and Ivy Table Top

I am looking forward to seeing the piece in situ in their table and I hope they will enjoy lots of evenings sitting around it, with a nice glass of something white and chilled!

What the Client said: “We love our new table top, definitely better than the original. We are so looking forward to putting it in situ and the red wine is ready to be uncorked.
Thank you Rosanna, it exceeds expectations as always.”
Bruno and Val

 

 

Pictorial Review of 2018

HELLO all my BLOG FOLLOWERS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. I hope it is Happy, Healthy, Productive, Creative and Fun.

I always start the new year by looking back on my favourite images from the past year so here goes……

The Triptych Commission

At BEAT 2017 I got talking with a visitor who was very interested in discussing an outside mosaic project with me. She described the area  where she wanted it to go and we spent a long time playing around with various ideas and options.  Potential commissions are always very exciting at this stage as you can dream up all sorts of weird and wonderful things and they may or may not happen so the sky’s the limit.

2017 BEAT Profile piece

I had a picture in my mind of where the mosaic would go but as I didn’t hear anything over the next few months it was pushed to the back of my mind as other things took over.  However, in May this year I got a call “you won’t remember me…..” but of course I did. We arranged for me to go round and meet Sibel (who was also a BEAT artist) and we did a site visit – well it was nothing like I imagined, in fact it was an altogether much better location in her beautiful large garden surrounded by trees.

Sibel was very clear that she wanted a triptych as she had seen my ‘profile piece’ from BEAT and wanted something similar but on a much, much larger scale.  We agreed on all the details that morning and shook hands on the deal – something I still do – once a business women, always a business women.

I decided to make the piece on Hardie Bakker Board (also known as cement board) as is it perfect for outside and sturdy enough for the size of the mosaic.  I did a basic sketch which Sibel approved and then one of my favourite parts – shopping for the materials.

When I make a triptych I work horizontally so I always need all three pieces in situ. Now normally this is not a problem when I work on my studio but as it was our best summer since 1976 I wanted to be working outside in the sunshine as much as possible. So poor old Mosaic Roadie Alan had to carry this massive 3 part piece in and out of the house on a daily basis – obviously the more I mosaiced, the heavier it got!

I sent Sibel progress photos on a regular basis and she also had visiting rights.  The first parts I made were the tree and the boat and I was keen that Sibel was happy with those two focal points. We also had more site visits so that Alan could check how he was going to install the completed mosaic.

Almost there

It did end up taking me longer than I expected – partly because I ran out of sky tiles which was the last part I did. This entailed an emergency dash to West Norwood to see James at Mosaic Workshop – luckily he had what I wanted in stock. Once the mosaicing was complete it was onto grouting. Ironically grouting is such a messy job I usually do it outside but by now it was October and very cold. So in and out I went with the triptych again while it was grouted and cleaned – that part took 10 hours so you can get an idea why this was such a long project!

Sibel had been insistent that I had the mosaic on display for BEAT 2018 which was incredibly kind of her – it certainly was a statement piece at BEAT and people couldn’t ignore it. How will I match that next year!

So the final and crucial part was the installation.  Off we went with mosaic, electric drill and spirit level. It’s hard enough hanging a heavy piece anyway, let alone keeping it straight. This triptych gave us a treble challenge especially as it was going onto a brick wall that was quite uneven. So after a bit of chipping away,  and making sure it was straight, Alan screwed it to the wall.  I then returned the next day to fill the screw holes with mosaic and then grout them. A final clean and polish with my trusty duster and we are done!  Whew, Client delighted, Mosaic Artist relieved, pleased and proud, Mosaic Roadie delighted to have his dining room table back.

Sibel’s Triptych

What the Client Said: “I first came across Rosanna’s Mosaics in September 2017 on the Borough of Ealing Art Trail (BEAT). A small triptych depicting a sail boat bathed in brilliant sunshine and bobbing up and down on a cobalt blue sea was particularly memorable. It reminded me of my childhood holidays on the Adriatic. So, when I moved house in 2017 and was faced with an expanse of brick wall to fill, it occurred to me that a mosaic by Rosanna would liven up the space very nicely. A year later, Rosanna’s large triptych adorns my garden beautifully.
I liked the way Rosanna involved me in the project from inception to completion. We discussed all the stages of the project together. In the summer of 2018, I made several visits to her studio to help choose tile colours and approve designs. Rosanna was full of ideas and suggestions and sent me photos of work in progress on a regular basis. The triptych was installed in the autumn of 2018 and now brings a smile to my face every time I step onto my patio – even on a grey day!” Sibel Roller-Walach

EALING ART TRAIL – In 2 Weeks Time

BEATING the drum

The BEAT Ealing Art Trail event is picking up momentum and is taking place in 2 weeks time.

BEAT – Borough of Ealing Art Trail, is taking place over 2 weekends in September 7th, 8th, 9th and 14th, 15th, 16th.  I am delighted to be taking part again this year. I will be at   VENUE 84.

The brochure is being distributed far and wide, and we are also keen to get it out and about in other London Boroughs.  Its a lovely pocket size A6 full colour brochure that shows all the artists with an individual profile, information and 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. We have 100 new artists displaying their artwork this year so there will be something for everyone.

2018 Show Piece

There is also a great website that has all the above info for visitors and lots of helpful advice and tips for us artists including how we can all make the best use of Social Media to promote ourselves. www.ealingbeat.org.uk

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

2017 Demo Piece

I will also be working on a demonstration piece – a large mirror mosaic with an underwater theme. Last year I was working on my Tree of Life which proved very popular. It gives a good insight into materials and technique for mosaicing.

I will also be taking names for people that would like a “One Day Introduction Mosaic Lesson.” Last year 20 people signed up and learnt the basics.

Introduction Mosaic Lessons

As this is my 2nd BEAT I want to make it as interesting as possible for new and returning visitors, as well as enjoying the experience myself. Exhibiting for 2 weekends is exhausting but great fun and I have learnt a few tips to help me enjoy the experience even more this time around.

So back to my studio now to continue making mosaics and planning and plotting on how to display everything.  See you in 2 weeks!

 

 

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………….

Kingfisher Commission

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.

  • Budget
  • What style will it be – picture, abstract, contemporary, traditional
  • Colours
  • Effect: matt, glass, shiny, full bling effect or a combination of all
  • Size
  • Inside or outdoors
  • Frame or not
  • If outdoors will it hang or screw to the wall/trellis, be set into brickwork
  • Timescale

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

The Marple Mosaic – Happy Birthday

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!P1040916

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.

P1040930sOnce 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.

P1050254

The Green Man and Penkhull

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