Category Archives: Rosanna Mosaic Artist

The Bird and Flower Commission

Commissions are sometimes like buses – nothing for a while then 2 arrive at once!

The 2 new arrivals are both very different to what I normally do and to each other so I was very excited about the new challenges.

My friend Sarah, who lives locally and follows me on Facebook, called to say she wanted to commission me for a very specific piece so we arranged for her to come round to discuss the details. She arrived with a beautiful piece of material from her new curtains.  As always I had a lot of questions: size, matt or shiny, framed or not, indoor/outside, budget etc. Once we sorted out the detail we could then move onto the exciting part – selecting the tiles.

Sarah wanted me to re-create the picture from her curtains – a humming bird among flowers. This was a big challenge for me as I don’t often do pictures – I am usually an abstract girl, interpreting something rather than copying it. Also as we were reproducing the picture we needed a perfect colour match.

I got some lovely Mexican tiles which are rich in colour and texture and are very nice to cut and shape. I also decided to use glass to get the length in the bird tail and flower leaves. The background would be matt ceramic tiles which would bring out the vibrancy of the Mexican tiles and glass.

I traced the bird from the material, scaled it up and got to work on that first as it was the main part of the picture. I then worked on the flowers, buds and stems. As always the background went in last.

 

I am really pleased with the completed piece and so is Sarah. The mosaic is hanging up and looks great on a white brick wall, complimenting (and matching) the curtains. It was a very different style and colour palette to what I would normally do but I really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone to make the piece and I learnt a lot along the way.

p.s. we both agreed to change the beak – it wasn’t me using artistic licence!

Sarah bought the material from John Lewis, it is called Menagerie by Blendworth Furnishing Ltd,

The curtains were made by Sarah’s friend  Zandra Russell who runs her own business www.zandrarussell.co.uk

 

 

 

BEAT 2018 – A Successful Event

I really enjoyed taking part again in the BEAT Ealing Art Trail 2018.

As it was my second BEAT and there were 100 new artists this year, I really didn’t expect to have many people come along to my venue. However, I had 260 visitors – 10 more than last year! I made a lot of a sales, took 2 small, 1 large  commissions and had 30 people wanting more information on the beginners mosaic lessons that I run. So all in all a great success.

Again, everyone who visited was really interested in my work and as I had a demonstration piece on display, I could show them the various stages involved in mosaic making. It was especially nice to have return visitors from last year who brought their friends and were keen to see what new work I had developed during the year.

New Fishy Theme

New Fishy Theme

After the event I had one day to wrap and deliver my sales. I then went away for a well deserved rest. However, on returning yesturday I walked in to a house which still resembled a Gallery, bare rooms without any furniture, brochures scattered everywhere and bunting to be put away. As there are so many empty wall hooks it may be time to decorate!

We have a committee meeting on Monday so after having a de-brief on the event, I am sure we will start talking about BEAT 2019!

Thank you to everyone who came to see me and supported the event. Well done to all the artists who took part and congratulations to my fellow committee members in achieving another great BEAT Ealing Art trail 2018.

BEAT Ealing Art Trail 2018 – This Weekend

After months of planning, making, grouting and polishing mosaics, updating Blogs and Facebook Posts, delivering brochures, replenishing business cards, reminding friends and anyone I meet – BEAT has arrived and it is NOW!

BEAT Ealing Art Trail is taking place this and next weekend. I will be exhibiting each Friday 4pm – 8pm and each Saturday and Sunday from 11am – 6pm and I am Venue 84 in the brochure. You can download a pocketsize A5 brochure from the website www.ealingbeat.org.uk or if you live local, collect one from the many places in the Borough of Ealing.

Do try and come along if you can and also share this Blog and spread the word to others. There are a whole range of us local Ealing artists exhibiting our varied work from painting, drawing, ceramics, stained glass, sculptures, photography. We are in various venues including our homes, studios, churches, cafes, coffee shops.

Glass on Glass – on display at BEAT

We have spent all year preparing for this and we are ready to share our work with you so DO COME ALONG.

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!

 

 

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………….

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.

 

 

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.

 

P1070214

Getting stuck in

P1070190

Sue’s Sunflower

P1070206

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