1. What started it all for you? Tell me your beginning story.
I had always admired the art of mosaics, but it wasn’t until a friend gifted me a small tealight holder with a mosaic glass shade when I decided to try creating one myself. I searched for a class and found one at the then Hand Workshop (now Visual Arts Center) taught by the wonderful Jenni Kirby. I fell in love with the art form and Jenni’s enthusiasm during the first class. It was a six-week class, and I made several small pieces. I enjoyed it so much I immediately took another six-week class! That was 20 years ago. A few years later when I was becoming buried in mosaic supplies at home, I found a studio at Art Works and happily became a part of a thriving art community where I have made lifelong friendships. Since then, I have been creating a wide variety of mosaics, from jewelry to furniture and installations, as well as passing on Jenni’s–and now my–enthusiasm for mosaics to students.
2. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?
I first decide on the end result. What will its purpose be? It may have a functional use or be purely decorative. If it’s something I’d like to sell, then I take into consideration what others may want, such as a mirror or table. Once I have that in mind, I decide on materials, which often help with the creative process. Sometimes one piece of glass or broken pottery can inspire an entire piece by the color or shape. Then I piece materials together deciding on the color and texture combinations I like and get to work! I usually create while listening to music, podcasts, or audio books.
3. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?
Two years ago, I moved my studio from Art Works to close to home so I could spend more time there. It’s in a beautiful waterfront setting in an office park on Southlake Boulevard in North Chesterfield. Nature has always been a strong influence in both the subject matter and color selections of my mosaic art and being able to see the lake and wildlife outside my windows helps with that inspiration. My studio is my happy place. I’m also inspired by humor, and love to incorporate funny faces or messages within my mosaics. I often say my goal is for my art to make people smile.
4. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?
My art often doesn’t have a subject, but I tend to lean toward certain color combinations. Lately it’s been a lot of beachy turquoise blues and my favorite, oranges and earth tones. As far as subjects, I enjoy creating mosaic mandalas–they are used for meditation and creating them can have a therapeutic effect. I’ve also started a series of mosaic portraits of those species that are becoming endangered to raise awareness of the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, that is a growing list.
5. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a few mosaic commissions at the moment. One is a guitar made with stained glass and lettered beads spelling out favorite song lyrics; the second is a funky faux fireplace insert made with all sorts of broken pottery and found pieces; and the third is a bathroom mirror made with teal and turquoise stained glass. In between the larger pieces I’ve been spending my time creating rings, necklaces, and bracelets made with colorful dichroic glass.
6. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?
I love the quote by Picasso, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” I like to research the best way to create something, and then I may mix it up a bit to add more interest or humor…basically to make it mine. After all, isn’t that what self-expression through art is all about?