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Tag Archives: Crafty Beggars in the House
It was a full on weekend of art. It all started when my friend Janet came over. Janet and I met in 1976 when we both worked at a telex agency in Little Britain – yes there is such a place just behind St. Pauls. Janet and I share a love of all things craft, cooking and curry.
On the Friday we went to Handmade at Kew. A four-day contemporary craft event giving visitors the opportunity to meet and buy art from over 200 extraordinary designer-makers including: ceramics, jewellery, fashion and textiles, glass, paper, furniture, metalwork, sculpture and interior accessories. The standard and quality of craftsmanship was outstanding. We spoke to several exhibitors and I have to say, I am tempted to submit my work for consideration next year. It would be quite an expensive outlay but great to be part of such a prestigious event.
On Saturday I went to the BAMM AGM and Forum. As always, the range of speakers was fantastic and although it is only my 2nd year as a member, I felt very at home and quite honoured to be part of this amazing mosaic family.
Unfortunately I had to leave early as I had been invited to appear on the Christmas edition of Crafty Beggars in the House and they were filming that day. Although I had to miss 2 BAMM speakers, I couldn’t resist the chance of being back with the Crafty Beggars team. It was lovely to see everyone and apart from the delightful Julie and Wendy, the Crew were the same and I met some of the Crafters that I knew from the previous shows. We ate mince pies, drank Prosecco and shared some truly dreadful Christmas jokes and stories.
Normally at Crafty Beggars I would have been demonstrating but as I was at the Conference I decided in true Blue Peter style to ‘take something I had made earlier’. So there I was at 7.30am going into Waterloo on the London Underground for the BAMM Conference with Rufus Reindeer. Despite a lot of stares, not one person on the train said anything – talk about the elephant / reindeer in the room! It was the same going on the overground to film later on. However, at BAMM he received lots of compliments and pats on the head!
Sunday was just as hectic. I was back at BAMM (minus Rufus) to do a Glass Mosaic Workshop with Jane Visick. It was an excellent day and Jane is a great teacher. She taught us the intricacies of cutting glass into detailed, specific shapes and how to build up a picture. I have used glass in my mosaics before but now I feel much more confident in using it to much better effect. We also picked up lots of tips and good ideas throughout the day – including ‘when did you last ‘turn’ your wheeled cutters’, and the best glue to use for glass-on-glass.
By the end of the weekend I was ‘art-ed’ out, exhausted but very happy with everything I had done, plus I had learnt a new skill. The only possible way to relax was with a glass of wine watching Strictly.
When I was filming my TV appearance on ‘Crafty Beggars in the House’ the lovely Julie and Wendy asked me for my Top Mosaic Tips. As I started to write them down I realised it would make a nice little series of articles.
So, here are my TOP TIPS on getting started if you are new to mosaic making. I hope you enjoy them and I an happy to answer any questions you may have.
TOP TIPS: To get you started on mosaic making
THE TRADITIONAL ART OF MOSAIC MAKING
MOSAIC ART is one of the most ancient art forms used by the ancient Greeks, the Romans and several other cultures throughout the centuries. Like any great art, there has been ‘phases’ and periods’ throughout history from the traditional Roman style, the geometric Greek patterns, Byzantine and Gaudi to name a few. Mosaic art is still relevant today and again, takes many forms. The end result is totally unique and very different to any other art form.
Mosaics are incredibly versatile. They can be used in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Extremely durable and hardwearing they last for ages. They can be decorative, practical, tiny, huge, delicate and robust, 2D or 3D. They are sometimes very heavy! Traditional, contemporary, pictorial, abstract – they can be anything your imagination can think of.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The first mosaic I ever made was a small coaster and it took me all afternoon. I still have it, my lucky mosaic that comes with me on exhibitions and demonstrations.
Whenever I give lessons I usually ask people to send me an idea of what they would like to mosaic. To be honest, most people over estimate what they will be able to achieve in a first lesson. One person bought along a picture of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Another saw my ‘Robin’ mosaic and asked if they would be able to make that in an afternoon – I said ‘I hope not, it’s took me ages to make and I found it very challenging’!! So keep it simple, a coaster, mirror or trivet is a good starting point. You can then progress to pots, door numbers and small hanging plaques.
There are all sorts of surfaces that you can mosaic on. Obviously wood but also slate, stone, mirror, tiles – in fact anything that is fairly flat and non-flexible. I often mosaic on terracotta roof tiles, they are flat, weatherproof and durable, plus I am recycling so it’s a win-win situation all round.
INDOOR or OUTDOOR?
Mosaics are great for indoor or outdoor spaces and look lovely in a garden setting. I have a lovely sun/moon on my shed. Make sure you decide in advance where it is going to go as you may need to use different materials and adhesives for outside display. Mosaic pots overflowing with herbs look delightful and just imagine a lizard creeping through your rockery, or a sunshine stepping stone.
So there are some tips to get you thinking and ready to start. Next time we will look at INSPIRATION and MATERIALS
This recently completed piece is called ‘Jennifer Juniper’. Inspired from the song written by Donovan (Jennifer Juniper sitting very still…….Jennifer Juniper hair of golden flax……Is she dreaming, yes I think so……..Is she pretty, yes ever so), she is a companion piece to Baboushka. She is 30cm and is made from tesserae, mirror tiles and slivers of glass plus there are quite a few embellishments to add a sparkle.
She was meant to be very ethereal and enigmatic. I started with the face features and was really pleased with her dreamy downward look. As I added the hair I realised she was taking on a ‘Klimt’ feel which wasn’t intentional but seemed to suit her. However, when I filled in and grouted her face she suddenly took on a rather cross appearance which has changed the overall effect. As I always say, it is the mosaic that dictates to me not the other way around, a hard thing for a control freak like myself to accept but I am slowly coming to terms with it and learning to go with the mosaic.
She is now complete, polished and shiny – ready for a new home or to go into a Gallery if anyone is interested.
Those lovely ladies at Crafty Beggars have been busy doing more filming and once again I was delighted to have been invited to take part.
Each month they feature a video on their website called ‘Make of the Month’. For May it is a ‘Decoupage Challenge.’ It was filmed at the South Street Gallery in Isleworth (where I had an exhibition last year) and involved 7 of us Crafty Beggars having a go at decoupage. It was filmed over a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, all great fun and helped along with generous helpings of Presecco and lots of encouragement from Julie and Wendy.
Although we all started off with the same base piece, we each had our own individual style and the end results are very varied as you will see. This is always the way with art and craft, everyone’s imagination is different and creates a unique piece. You can see the results by going to their website (www.craftybeggars.tv) or watching it on You Tube: http://www.craftybeggars.tv/content/make-month/
P.S. We went to see Donovan recently at Cadogan Hall. He was brilliant, looked exactly the same with long curly hair and spent the whole concert sitting crossed legged on a giant bean bag. Everyone was up dancing to his finale of Mellow Yellow.
I really enjoyed watching my guest appearance on the ‘Crafty Beggars in the House’ television show on the Community Channel during the week. I felt I came across quite well and gave a varied range of information to anyone who was interested in learning more about mosaics.
Having never done anything on the telly before I found the whole process quite fascinating. As always, I arrived much too early and was there before the crew! Nevertheless I was made to feel very welcome, was given a coffee and settled into the ‘Green Room.’ Over the next half hour the camermen and crew arrived as well as the other guests Charlotte Butcher and Karlos Pusey.
The main links were being filmed in one area so I had loads of time to set my things up in a separate room. The presenters Wendy Turner Webster and Julie Peasgood came in and explained what the format would be – general chat and they would prompt me with questions as we went along. I felt quite relaxed and at ease so I was happy to just get going and enjoy the experience. They also asked if there was anything specific I wanted to mention (the Log Cabin) and also which mosaic pieces I wanted to highlight. The camerman then came and did light and sound checks and made sure the key mosaics were in a good position to film. I was then ready for my close up – lights, camera and ACTION.
We filmed straight through and as far as I can tell from now having seen the programme, not much was edited. Once my section was done I had some photos taken with Wendy and Julie so they could go up on their website. I then packed my mosaics away and went into the other filming area to watch Wendy and Julie do some pieces to camera. It was fascinating to see the cameras, all the lights and the various monitors. After more tea and biscuits and a chat with the crew it was time for me to go and wait for my debut on the small screen.
It is now on You Tube as well so if you haven’t had a chance to see it, click here.
Have a look at their website where I appear under ‘Guests’ and I also share my mosaic ‘Top Tips’ www.craftybeggars.tv
So, enough excitement for a few weeks, it is time for me to get back and actually make some more mosaics. I haven’t anything specific in the pipeline at the moment so lets see what inspiration comes along over the next couple of days.
The second series of Crafty Beggars in the House starts on Tuesday 12th April. Yours truly is the first guest on the first episode and this is my first TV appearance – so great excitement all round.
It was great fun to film and the lovely producers and presenters; Julie Peasgood and Wendy Turner-Webster were very friendly and encouraging, making the process very easy and a relaxed experience as they kept asking questions and prompting me the whole time. My ten minutes of fame flew by and now I can’t remember what I said so I will be watching it from behind the sofa, through my fingers and hoping it turns out OK!
Do tune in – the first episode is being shown 5 days next week as follows:
Community Channel via the following TV platforms…
Goodness I can hardly believe that it is now officially ‘spring’ and we are quickly heading towards the end of March. It must be time for a quick update.
My aim for this year is to get into some more Galleries as I like to think this is where my work should be heading with some larger, stunning pieces of mosaic art. Next week I have been invited to visit a Gallery with a view to them taking some of my pieces to display. I shall keep you posted but in the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for me.
Crafty Beggars in the House, series one, is currently being shown so if you have missed any episodes you can catch up by going to the Community Channel website and going to ‘On Demand’. I shall be in series 2 which will be shown sometime in April. I will let you know dates when I know.
The lovely presenters Julie Peasgood and Wendy Turner Webster have recently asked me what my top mosaics tips are. It was good to take time away from actual mosacing to consider the things I think are important and relevant that I would say to someone who is thinking of having a go at mosaics. With the technical magic of their web designer Mark Saltmarsh, my Top Tips are now on their website. Do go and have a look and let me know what you think: www.craftybeggarsTV.com. I am now considering doing a little series of Top Tips to put on the Blog, covering other aspects of mosacing – what areas would you like to hear tips about? Do email and let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am delighted to say that I have had an article published in the ‘Grout Magazine’ about my Marple Mosaic commission. Grout is the newsletter for BAMM – British Association for Modern Mosaics, which is sent to all their members.
And finally, you will remember that Kitty organised and led a group of us to make 15 mosaic butterflies for Meadow House Hospice. I am delighted to report that they now adorn the bedroom doors at the hospice. They look fantastic and everyone is really pleased with them.
Have a great Easter everyone and see you all in April.
“Crafty Beggars In The House” is a new TV programme that celebrates all things crafty. A one hour magazine show, dedicated to the fabulous world of crafts and creativity, upcycling and recycling. Visit: http://www.craftybeggars.tv/
Series One has just started on The Community Channel and will run for a 5 week series. Each week presenters Julie Peasgood and Wendy Turner Webster invite 3 different craft experts into their house to showcase their work and chat through how they got into their chosen craft, what inspires them, where you can find their work etc. Its a really fun show and they cover such a wide range of skilled people including an Airbrush Artist, a Greeting Card Designer and an Art Poet.
So, to the best bit, I am going to be on Series Two which will be shown in April!!!! On the telly at last!
I have filmed my 10 minute slot and hopefully it will be ok and won’t end up on the cutting room floor!
Try and catch the programme available as follows:
Tuesday @ 8pm
Wednesday @ 10pm
Friday @ 7pm
Monday @ 2pm
Tune into Community Channel via the following TV platforms…
Watch this space for updates and broadcast dates.