Category Archives: Rosanna Mosaic Artist

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

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

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.