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………….
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.
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.
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.
The room I use as my mosaic studio has gone through several reincarnations since we bought this house all those years ago.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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……….
As 2017 is drawing to a close this seems an ideal time for my annual review.
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.
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.
I will spend this weekend giving Mosaic Lessons, mainly to people that showed an interest at the BEAT Ealing Art Trail. I run lessons on an ad-hoc, request led basis and like to have 3/4 people for the standard lesson. However, I am able to work with larger groups if someone wants a tailor made workshop.
The standard lesson is very much a beginners, basic guide to Mosaic Making. I am not a great one for theory being very much a hands-on, practical person. So we tend to get stuck in straight away with the nuts and bolts of cutting,placing etc.
It is always quite hard to recommend what people should make as their first piece and, to be honest, I still haven’t found the magic answer to that. I generally find that people do tend to be rather over ambitious in their enthusiasm and ideas for a first piece. A friend that came for a beginners lesson bought a picture of Van Gough’s Sunflowers and asked if they would be able to make that in their first lesson – I said “I’ll be really disappointed if you can as I couldn’t and I’ve been doing this for 10 years!” Needless to say, they did make a sunflower but a very, very simplistic version.
I also like to make it clear that a mosaic is it’s own art form and the end result is not going to look like a watercolour painting or a photograph, it is it’s own interpretation. I hope the above does not sound negative but I like to give people a realistic expectation of what they should be able to achieve. The mosaic art form is quite different to what people expect.
I aim for a fun, informative day. I give out lots of information, tips and ideas. It is quite a full on day with a lot to get through. As the lessons are based at my home studio it means I have lots of examples of my work to show as well as all the different styles, tiles and embellishments that I use. People go home at the end of the day quite tired, having learnt a new skill and clutching their prized new piece of home made art.
If you are interested in having a lesson, send me an email and I can send you an Information Sheet with more details.
I am really looking forward to welcoming my ‘students’ this weekend for a great lesson and hopefully some of them may get hooked and end up with a website and Blog of their own, just as I have!
Quote from previous attendee:
“If you are looking for a Basic Mosaic Course for Beginners, Rosanna is your person….she will lead you, very professionally, through everything you need to know to make your first mosaic…… it is a very “full on” day, but at the end of it, you will come away with your own magical personal mosaic” – Linda Edrich
I really enjoyed taking part in the BEAT Ealing Art Trail over the past 2 weekends.
I had 250 visitors, made quite a few sales, took several orders for commissions and had a lot of people showing an interest in a mosaic beginners lesson.
All the people that visited seemed really interested and impressed with my mosaics art, especially the range and style of work. My newest venture – glass on glass – was very popular so I will certainly be making more of those.
A huge THANK YOU goes to the BEAT Committee for putting it all together and all the volunteers and helpers who got the brochures and publicity out, regular updates on social media and all the other one million and one things needed to put on an event of this scale.
I am already saying ‘when’ I do it next year rather than ‘if’.