I know I go one about this a lot, but beautifying our surroundings (homes, public places, workplaces) is a big motivation for me in my art. Well, the world just got more beautiful. My lovely mosaic workshop students are doing a fantastic job of becoming mosaic addicts and creating beauty. They are at various levels of completion as all chose to jump straight into mixed media, experimental, go-with-the-flow and slightly more complex end of the mosaic spectrum – and boy have they got it! They really have. I watched all three of them, at different stages, stop thinking too hard and just start flowing with the materials and you can almost tell from looking at their pieces when they “got it”.
Its very exciting for me as a teacher to know that my approach of not just teaching “mosaic tiling by numbers” but teaching the heart of this art has really paid off. The love of the materials.The attention to the flow and the eye. The importance of paying attention to inner instinct that guides your creative hand. The willingness to try wacky combinations or ideas, just because you can. Sure, its taking them slightly longer, but one of the reasons for that is that they have all been ok with unsticking what just didn’t feel right. My next mosaic course starts on April 13th. Click here for more info.
See the difference in Jane’s sail when she listened to her instinct, unpicked and re-did.
Now here’s a top tip that has improved my approach to mosaic making no end. I know that in my mosaic career I have really struggled with needing to unpick work that I had laboured over, seeing it as a failure of sorts. At times I have not listened to that instinct and my art has been the less for it. When I did the lovely Sonia King’s Advanced Mosaic course last summer, my ears pricked up when she talked about having to unstick big areas of her work. Something clicked in me and I guess I stopped putting myself down as not quite good enough, the subtle premise being “If it’s good enough for Sonia, its good enough for me!”. Unpicking is an essential part of mosaic making. I am tempted to write that on a post-it and put it on my wall!
The other thing I stopped sweating over was not being too sure about how I am going to make my mosaic. You know, that bit before you start, when you have a design, some idea about tesserae (tiles) and….now what? Sonia said “don’t begrudge the time you spend playing around with your materials”. It was another one of those “click” moments and since then I have enjoyed this stage so much. It’s full of discovery, play and excitement of what emerges as you go with the other side of your brain. Thank you to the lovely Sonia who is an awesome mosaic artist and lovely teacher. Find her here.
Here’s me at play with the rooster commission – nothing is stuck, still just experimenting. I have discovered that rather than do his body all in black (as originally intended), a mix of these lovely brown / black undulating tiles (discovered by one of my students!) and the black is so cool. The glass fusions and eye / beak are just glorious aren’t they? They are made by the very talented mosaic artist Martin Cheek and he can make them to order to fit your piece. You can even go on one of his courses and learn to do it yourself!
If you didn’t read my last post, do scroll down to learn about how you can give to my sponsored run in aid of Sri Lankan street children. I have just come back from my training run (did it in 1 minute less time!) and my legs are achy achy achy! But, I did see the first leaves budding on a hedgerow which – spring is coming, yipeeeee!