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Fri, Jun 21, 2024

Angela's Mosaic Story


How did you start getting into mosaicing?


I retired from full-time work maybe 12 years ago now, and I had a lot of time on my hands and needed a creative outlet. I tried a number of things, but nothing really appealed. Then, a friend of mine who had spent time at a mosaic studio asked if I'd like to try it out. To be honest, I wasn't keen. It didn't appeal to me. I thought it was just cutting stuff and sticking it on. That was it.


Anyway, I went with her and was really intrigued by the process and the quality of the works that some people, who had obviously been going there for some time, were producing. I had a very interesting conversation with a guy who was sitting opposite me when he wasn't laser-focused on what he was doing. He was a surgeon, and he said he loved the escape from everything and the total focus needed to create something he was happy with.


I just thought, what could be so interesting that would take your focus like that? But the more time I spent with mosaicing, the more I realised that many skills were involved and it got me. So, that's how I became involved.


It's cool to hear that a surgeon’s escape is mosaicing.


I get that now. I didn't then. It's not just cutting something and sticking it on or getting a hammer and smashing things up. You've got to think about colour, shape, and whether the image flows. A lot of things that I've finished, I'm not happy with. I look at it and all I see is what didn't work. But I file that away for next time. There's a lot to consider.


The first piece you ever created, do you remember it? What was it like? Where did you get the inspiration from or were you just trying to throw it all together and make it work?


Okay, well, the first piece is actually hanging around the corner there and it's a very good piece. I was quite surprised, but I did that under direction within the studio. It took a long, long time and I had advice about getting texture into the picture. I think I've always had a reasonable sense of colour, so I knew how I wanted to put that together. That was the first piece, and that led to everything else.


I was quite happy to give something a go, like buy an old bird bath and do it up, working on different surfaces. But that first piece, I tried just about every technique that teacher could show me. Like hand-cut glass. I wasn't very good at it, but she showed me how to do that, how to fire things in the kiln to incorporate them into your work. It was good and a very worthwhile process going through that step.


Do you have a piece that stands out to you?


I do. My favourite piece is actually at my daughter's house. She has both my favourite pieces. One's a budgie that I made probably about a year ago now. It's the first piece that I incorporated ceramic into. Usually, I work with glass, but I worked with ceramic. I'd never cut ceramic tiles before, so it was a whole new process, new tools, new techniques, and I learned a lot creating that.




I was very happy with the end product. I thought it looked really beautiful, and she loved it.

The other one is a Venetian scene, and the water in that scene worked really well. It had reflections of the gondolas, and it just all came together. So I was happy, very happy with that piece as well.



Venetian Mosaic Scene


How has your process changed and evolved over the years?


I've become far more confident with cutting the glass. I was terrified I was going to slice my finger off when I first started. But I still get cuts. It's just part of the process. I think it's evolved because I've become far more aware of getting texture into an image. It just adds a whole new dimension, particularly with the way the light plays across the texture.


So even if you're looking at a piece of work side-on and you can't actually see what the image is, you just get these beautiful textures and lights which I think make it more interesting. So, yes, my hand-cutting skills have really come along. It's just practice. Lots of failures, but you get there. And there's nothing wasted.


I keep every scrap of glass because that little shape, at some stage, will pop in and be the perfect completed image. So, yeah, I just think confidence and just looking at something and seeing its potential, like the tabletop over there. You know, it was a weekend sort of purchase and it's created something beautiful.


Did you always consider yourself a crafty individual?


Not really. I mean, I can't sew. I can't paint. I like drawing. I was a primary school teacher in my past life, and I always worked with prep. So, I needed to be creative, you know, with storytelling and just drawing up a quick image to illustrate something.


I can do that. I guess, in a way, I've always had a bit of a creative streak, but I've never really had the time to fully utilise it.


Where do you find your inspiration?


I find that I'm inspired by nature and light. Even though I use a lot of colour, I like natural colours and products, and I've started to use them more. I'm using shells and wood and incorporating different things within my pieces.


I think lots of different things inspire me. I don't think there's anything in particular. I'll look at something and think that's got potential. Oh, I like that. I like the way the fish are swimming in that picture—I might see if I can capture that and put it in a piece of work for myself. So, yes, nothing in particular, but I like natural things. I like sunlight and just trying to capture those sorts of things.


Is there anything about being on Philip Island that inspires the elements in your work?


I don't produce any works in Melbourne, but it's just, I don't know, it's just the island vibe, I guess.


It's relaxing, it's quiet, and there's lots of different scenery within a very short walking distance or short drive, but I just find it calming and conducive to sort of pottering around and creating things.





What is the most satisfying thing to you about mosaicing?


Probably the most satisfying thing is once you've spent a lot of time creating a piece, you can look at it and think, well, I'm really happy with that aspect of this work, but this is an area where I can improve or perhaps try something different next time. If you're not happy with the way something works, it's a stepping stone towards your next piece. You think, what can you do next?


And having created something that gives me pleasure to look at, or that I can give to somebody and they're happy to receive it, is incredibly rewarding.


Would you recommend mosaicing to others, and why?


I'd certainly recommend mosaicing to anybody who has time on their hands and is looking for a creative outlet. Just try it. Seriously, I was pretty hesitant at first. But see if it works for you. It's not for everybody because you do need time and patience. You can't make something in five minutes; you sort of plod along at it. So, even if you don't have a large amount of time to dedicate to it, if you can allot some time as a downtime activity, it's worthwhile and you've got something nice at the end of it.


What are your thoughts on The Mosaic Store?


I have purchased things from The Mosaic Store. I bought some beautiful squares of coloured iridescent glass and some of their embellishments, like little ceramic discs and small glass tiles. They were fantastic to deal with, with good communication.


One of the products I ordered they didn't have in stock, but they got back to me straight away. They posted it well-packaged and ready to go after a short period of time. So, yes, it's good because they have lots of really interesting things.





Mixed Textured Porcelain Shards


Yellow Wavy Textured Porcelain Shards


Red Swirl Textured Porcelain Shards


Saguaro Green Swirl Textured Porcelain Shards