Welcome to 2017 and my first Blog of the year. I hope this year is HAPPY, HEALTHY, SUCCESSFUL and FUN for you all. Here are my pictorial highlights from 2016 – in no specific order. Let me know your favourite picture.
Tag Archives: My Mosaic Story
With art, as with most things, it is very easy to keep within your comfort zone. Do what you know works, what is safe, the easy option. However, when I discovered mosaics 8 years ago, one of the key things that got me really interested was the huge variety and different styles of mosaic that were out there. As such an ancient art form, mosaic has taken on a huge variety of guises as it has passed down through the centuries. Various cultures that have developed techniques and styles have added their influences and style to pass on to future generations of mosaic artists. I love the huge scope and potential this wonderful art form offers. The only limitation is the imagination.
Although I do sometimes play it safe, I try to experiment with different styles, techniques and materials especially if I have the time to spend on a new main piece. This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while: glass on glass.
I have made it over a period of time in my weekly sessions with Kitty. As always, Kitty was on hand to offer her help and expertise. She guided me in mastering the art of silicone glue (very sticky, very smelly). She also helped with the ‘flow’ of the piece and suggested different types of glass tiles which I feel really enhance the piece. I was keen on doing something very vivid with blues and greens and we managed to find some lovely pieces of glass some see through, some shiny. I am delighted with the result and the piece is now sitting on my hall window with the sunshine streaming through it. I need to find a permanent home for it but for now, it’s lovely catching it every time I go up and down the stairs. I have had a lot of compliments on it so am keen to make some more pieces, in other colour palettes.
What next – any suggestions? Watch this space.
100 Years of Vogue at the V&A. A wonderful exhibition charting the centenary of this iconic magazine. A real journey through social history. Although most people regard it as a fashion mag, it actually covered the economic, political, cultural and social climate of the day in each edition.
Part 3 of the CAPITAL RING – Grove Park to Crystal Palace. A fantastic walk taking in the Downham Woodlan Walk, Beckenham Park Place, crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line and ending up at Crystal Palace with the dinosaurs. This was the longest section of the Capital Ring circuit and it was the perfect day to do it, sunshine all the way.
You may have noticed it has been a bit quiet on the Blog front recently. That is because I have been away on a Cross Country ski-ing holiday in Austria. We had a fantastic time and I am pleased to report that all my limbs are in tact and where they should be – which has not been the case on the past 2 ski holidays! (email me for gory details!!).
Its lovely being away from it all in the mountains with the clear air, silence, stunning views, snow and sunshine. The scenery is breathtaking and I certainly get inspired in that environment. I hope to be able to translate some of my photos into mosaics over the next few months. The first time I went cross country to Norway I was inspired to make this piece, entitled ‘Norwegian Moonlight’.
I will have lots of exciting news to report over the next few months but I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask you, my Blog Followers, what you like to hear about in my Blogs. Since starting the Blog in 2014 I have mostly written about events, commissions and my mosaic journey. I have a lovely loyal following which seems to increase every month – so thank you everyone.
What was it that attracted you to my Blog?
Which of my Blogs do you like best – stories, pictures, inspiration, events, commissions?
Is there anything I don’t mention that you would like to hear about?
How can I make sure I keep your interest and you find my Blogs informative, fun, readable?
Do let me know, after all, you are the ones I am writing for so please help me to keep you reading.
I’ve always known I’m artistic but had never found my medium. I can’t draw, paint or sew, I certainly can’t play a musical instrument or sing (well, not in public at any rate). Having a hectic job and a busy social lifestyle I was content to let my arty side manifest itself in my cooking and gardening. I love colour and had an office full of coloured pens, inks, pots of acyrilic paints – but what to do with them? I was content to look at them and add to the collection now and again. I did like ‘colouring in’ but there has never been any colouring potential for grown ups apart from ‘painting by numbers’ Hmmm, I certainly missed a gap in the market there didn’t I!!
That is why I will always be eternally grateful to Julia who introduced me to mosaics and BINGO, I’d found my medium.
I am now in my 8th year of mosaic making and having got a good grasp of the basics, I am ready to develop to the next level. However, being a very practical person, I am not very good at making a mosaic ‘just because I want to’. I tend to need a reason – e.g. its a commission, its going into the shop/gallery. That is partly why I have done exhibitions – not because I think my work is so marvelous the world and his wife ought to see it (although it is nice if people do like and appreciate my work), but because it gives me an outlet and reason for making pieces. It is necessary to have an outlet as there is a limit to how many mosaics you can have round the house and garden!
However, if I want to progress my work, I have to experiment and try new methods and techniques. So my artistic resolution for 2016 is to make a new piece ‘because I want to’, ‘because I want to learn a new technique/style’, ‘because I have a lovely tile I want to use’, ‘because I want to try a colourscheme’ or ‘just because’ without having an end home for the piece. I am hoping that once made, it will find a home for itself anyway.
This has been the case with Baboushka as I liked the idea of the silhouette with flowing hair. Where she will end up, goodness knows. My next venture will be glass on glass because I want to learn how that works.
Wish me luck with my resolution. As I often (jokingly) say ‘I am going to work really hard at being spontaneous’!
January and February are usually film fest time for me. So far: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl. To come: The Revenant, The Room, The Hateful Eight.
Best wishes and a huge ‘Thank You‘ to all my ‘Blog Followers‘ for 2016. I hope the year is healthy, happy, fun and successful for us all.
2015 was another very successful year for me both mosaic-wise and personally. Here are some of the mosaic highlights:
Uploaded my work onto the BAMM website (British Association for Modern Mosaics) having joined at their AGM the previous October.
Approached to make a large outdoor commission from a client who found me on BAMM website – a week after I uploaded my work What timing!
Got my work accepted in the prestigious ‘North East Art Collective Gallery‘ in Newcastle. 12 rooms of art, 150 artists – I am in great company.
Invited to join ‘Wonder Street‘ an invite-only platform where designers and artists showcase and sell their work.
Richmond Open Studios – exhibited in Harris & Hoole Coffee Shop in St. Margarets after meeting the lovely Steph.
Had some Coaching with Monica of Live a Life You Love and re-assessed where I want to go with my mosaics – definatley up a few notches
Left All Original after 2 years 3 months – the last piece I sold in the shop went to Greece
Harris & Hoole invited me to continue displaying my work – a fantastic platform for me in a lovely part of Twickenham
Was approached to make a ‘French Cross’ commission for a piece that will be going to live in France. The client saw a mosaic commissioned by their neighbours a few years ago
Finished and delivered The Marple Mosaic
Got my special birthday shed that will be used as a studio
Been making mosaics for 8 years
Met Lesley and displayed my work in her new South Street Gallery in Isleworth, West London
The Marple Collection Exhibition at South Street Gallery
Christmas event at Harris & Hoole
With Kitty and her ‘team’ help make 15 mosaic butterflies for Meadow House Hospice in Ealing
450 Facebook Followers
So here is my favourite picture of the year – The Marple Mosaic.
Several reasons: my biggest commission to date, my first geometric mosaic which turned out really well, a fantastic story, made great friendships with the clients Hilary and Pauline, moved me up to the next level of mosaic making.
My Sun and Moon because I really love this mosaic and see it every day on my shed. Rufus Reindeer because I didn’t want a ‘cartoon’ animal and think I have the right level with him.
A VERY HAPPY, HEALTHY AND FUN NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL.
THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING MY BLOG AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ALL AGAIN IN 2016 WITH MY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS YEAR.
Following the recent ‘mosaic mishap‘ in my studio, it seemed like a good excuse for a sort out and tidy up so I have spent the past few days re-organising my studio.
My mosaic studio has gone through many phases. When we first moved into this house 25 years ago it was the spare room and a good place to do the ironing and store the boxes until we had unpacked everything. We then turned it into our ‘play’ room and shared it for our respective hobbies. Unfortunately, both Alan and I are too structured and organised and have our own set ways of doing things so a joint space was never going to work.
I then went self employed so the room became my home office. When I started mosaicing as a hobby I had a small mosaic shelf in the ‘office’ and harmony was restored. As mosaics took over, so did the mosaic shelves! Eventually I ‘retired’ from professional work and that was when mosaics became my main pastime. The room is now a dedicated studio although there is an small area for my laptop and admin.
Being a painfully organised person, I like to keep the studio really neat and tidy. It won’t surprise anyone who knows me to hear that my tiles are all colour co-ordinated, with different shelves for different types of tile; glass, ceramic, smalti. I also have another area for all my glass beads, enhancement pieces, fused glass, mirror tiles etc.
I do appreciate how lucky I am to have a dedicated mosaic space. It means I can work on a piece as and when, for as little and long as I want to. I can then just walk away without having to do a major clear up.
REQUEST: In the New Year I will be doing a Q&A Blog so any mosaic questions you may have, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can reply via a Blog.
COMING SOON: Review of 2015
Mishaps happen in all walks of life: personal, professional, domestic and artistic. The common link is that they often happen at the worse time usually when you are rushing about. Also, they cause disproportionate mayhem based on the actual mishap.
During my brief time as a Mosaic Artist I have had my fair share of mosaic miseries and mishaps. A common one is choosing the wrong colour grout – which will totally change the end result, look and feel of a mosaic. Once grouted, there is not really much you can do except to learn by your mistake. Another common mishap is cuts and gashes (squeamish people, look away now). I always use my hands to grout and don’t wear gloves therefore I often cut my fingers on the odd sharp, sticky out bit – which I then know has to be filed down to make smooth. If the grout turns pink – then it is time to stop and reach for the sticking plasters!!
Earlier in the week I was wide awake very early so thought I would get in some mosaic time. Creeping around the house so as not to disturb and wake Alan, I went into my studio and got working on the poppy mosaic for Remembrance weekend. For the centerpiece I needed some of my bright, black shiny beads – top shelf of the cupboard.
I climbed silently but precariously onto the stool and as I was reaching up I lent on the middle shelf to get some leverage. Bad idea – the shelf bracket was loose and the shelf slipped, causing a dozen of my large glass jars, all containing glass beads, marbles etc. to fall smashing to the ground! I literally saw them crashing down in slow motion and as they hit the floor and smashed I saw them scatter and dance all over the studio. By now, Alan was awake!
No actual harm was done except most of my jars were broken and it took me all morning to gather up the slithers of broken glass and catch all the beads, marbles, etc. I am sure I will be finding them for months to come in all sorts of nook and crannies.
REQUEST: Let me know one of your mishaps – the stranger the better!
COMING SOON: Review of 2015
When people ask me what I am currently working on, I always have to think about my reply. The truth is, I am usually working on 2 or 3 mosaics at any one time.
I always tend to have a large complex piece on the go (usually a commission), then another medium size mosaic that I may be making to go into one of the galleries. I often have a ‘fun’ piece also sitting on my work bench which is my ‘light relief’ mosaic. I love mosaicing so much that even if I haven’t got a reason to be making a piece, I will be playing mosaics anyway!
At the moment I am negotiating a commission with a client so am ‘between mosaics’ if you like, so this gives me time to play with my fun piece. It is a large slab of stone, 2 foot high traingular shape. I am calling it my ‘Totem Pole’ and it will sit in the middle of a flower bed in my back garden. I want it to be very vibrant and eye catching, so I intend to use a lot of glass in it as well as the mosaic tesserae. I have started at the top with a ‘sun’ and rays flowing down. Not sure what the next section will be but I will keep you posted. I know it will take a long time but there is no rush and that’s what is nice about having a fun piece, I may just spend the odd half hour on it as and when.
So it is quite quiet in mosaic terms for me but I have to admit it is nice to have a rest after all the excitement of the Marple Collection Exhibition. Once the commission is finalised it will be back to full steam ahead and will be snipping away.
REQUEST & COMING SOON:
I would like to do a Q & A Blog
If you have any mosaic questions you would like to ask or any technique or aspect you are interested in knowing more about – please drop me a ‘Comment’ below or send me an email and I will answer in a Blog.
I recently published my Mosaic CV so thought it would be a good idea to show my key mosaic pieces.
This is the first piece I made with Julia, a small coaster. No cutting involved but it still took me all afternoon!
This ‘Herd of Zebra’ was made from the template I got from the mosaic shop in Bath. It’s the mosaic that got me hooked on this art form. I am still impressed that I was able to make such a complex early piece.
Once I started going to Kitty’s weekly workshop, with her help and guidance, my work really started to develop and I tried lots of new styles and different ideas.
This was the first time I tried to interpret a photo into a mosaic. It was also my first mosaic showing a real life picture. I still find it hard to interpret scenes into mosaics but I think I am getting there.
‘Hollyhocks’ was my first mosaic using large bathroom tiles. I usually use small mosaic tiles so it was a totally different technique which produced a different style of mosaic. It was raffled for £1 per ticket and raised £1,250 for the Log Cabin children’s charity.
I worked on a voluntary project with the Log Cabin producing 11 large, outdoor mosaics. As well as butterflies, dragonflies and a smily sunshine face, I decided it would be great to finish with a spring and an autumn tree. I had never made anything on this scale before and this is still one of my favourite pictures. I am really proud of the work I did with them and pleased with the mosaics that I made for them.
‘The Marple Mosaic‘ is my largest commission to data . This was a big challenge for me as I don’t usually do ‘geometric’ pieces. However, I really enjoyed the discipline of working with the sharp angles and defined spaces. I am delighted with the finished piece, as are my clients Hillary and Pauline.
These are not ‘key’ as such, but I like them.
REQUEST: Which is your favourite and why?
COMING SOON: A date for your diary.