When I first started this blog back in December 2008 mosaics were my number one crafty passion. Over the last year though the onset of arthritis has meant I have had to lay down my tile nippers temporarily in favour of crafts that are more gentle on the wrists. Not that I’m complaining, I love sewing and crochet and have been so enjoying learning how to work with fabrics and yarn. But I do miss mosaics a lot, I’ve never cleared away my jars of colourful tiles…
I've not stopped collecting broken china to incorporate into future mosaics…
Nor accepting donations from friends and family of accidentally smashed crockery and glass...
So you’re wondering how come I am a published mosaicist no? Well when I first got into mosaics and was trawling t’internet for inspiration and guidance I found a very talented community of mosaic artists on flickr. I joined the flickr Mosaic Challenge group to try and help me to stretch my skills a bit. Every month new challenges are announced and members create mosaics to a certain theme by a deadline, then vote for their favourite. One challenge was to create a mosaic that would be 6x6 inches with the theme of “swirls”. Here’s what I came up with…
The wonderfully super-talented Lin Schorr (I am bowing down low here just mentioning her on my blog!) came up with the idea of everyone donating their swirly mosaics to be part of a large mosaic mural which could be donated to a hospital in the US. The response was quite amazing and Lin took delivery of individual mosaics from artists all over the world which she then set about piecing together to form two massive mosaic murals.
Want to see them?
(photos courtesy of Lin Schorr)
My mosaic, "pearly swirl", is part of Swirlendipity II (top row, third from left!) All that intricate mosaic work that surrounds the individual pieces was done by Lin…
(photo courtesy of Lin Schorr)
Isn’t it beautiful?
The two mosaics now adorn the walls of Providence Park Hospital in Michigan in the US, along with two further collaborative mosaics. I am so proud to have been part of this I can't even tell you, not least because I have to spend so much bloomin' time in hospital myself, I know a mosaic or two on the walls would definitely brighten up my visits!
But the excitement doesn’t stop there. Brit Hammer's new book 'Breakout' features all these collaborative mosaic projects, and on page 131 the focus picture is…
*faint* MY mosaic. Well ok, my mosaic kind of centre and lots of other much better mosaics surrounding it, but still MY mosaic! In a book! Published!
This is sooo motivating for me. I suffer from such a lack of confidence about so much of the work I produce, so this is really an incredible boost. But most of all it really makes me want to take some tentative steps back into mosaics again. If anyone reading this is interested in trying mosaics I would highly recommend it as a satisfying and beautiful hobby, plus it’s really messy and involves playing with tools and glue, what could be better? Here’s some useful links for inspiration and advice:
To see more of Lin’s work:
To find inspiration on Flickr:
To buy Brit Hammer’s book:
Live in the UK and want to learn? I can highly recommend Martin Cheek’s courses in beautiful coastal Kent:
Read about my experience
And also Nathalie Vin’s London workshops which I thoroughly enjoyed:
All you really need to get started is an old plate or two to smash up, a pair of tile nippers for shaping your pieces (they start at about a fiver in B&Q), some kind of sturdy wooden substrate, some strong PVA glue and a pot of grout. Oh and some plasters, you’ll definitely need those.