By Cassie Doyon
On June 15, I taught an informal workshop on mosaic sculpture to NEMS members participating in the upcoming Field of Hearts-Art in the Orchard Exhibit, organized by Laurie Frazer and taking place in Northampton MA. The workshop took place in a classroom space near my studio in Lawrence MA. With my instruction, members worked on individual forms of heart shapes using a hot foam knife, foam adhesive and nails on styrofoam.
Each member created a hole in the bottom of their heart forms to insert and adhere a pvc pipe in order to properly mount their finished hearts to its metal base. Members fine tuned their styrofoam substrates with rasps, then wrapped them in fiberglass mesh. After the styrofoam was wrapped and secured, members applied a slurry of concrete to their forms, allowed the slurry to dry, then applied a thicker layer of concrete on top of the slurry. Another layer of fiberglass mesh was placed over the concrete and the process was repeated with another layer of slurry and thicker concrete. The workshop ran from 10 am till 5 pm. Some members were able to experience a Peruvian/Japanese fusion restaurant for lunch nearby. I shared my successful and not so successful experiences with mosaic sculpture and a fun time was had by all.
This Webinar occured on Tuesday, February 26. If you missed it, click on the link below to view the webinar in it’s entirety:
To VIEW WEBINAR, Click Here and you will be brought to YOUTUBE to view the webinar
Featured Speaker: Lou Ann Weeks, mosaic artists and cofounder of Skeew.biz, a mosaic supply company thatspecializes in mosaic backers, co-producer of Mosaic Technique Videos, and editor of I-CMosaics.com. How do you know which substrate (backer) is the right one for your project, and what is the right adhesive? There are so many to choose from, and in this webinar, Lou Ann will help you make the right decisions. You’ll learn what criteria to consider before you start mosaicking. She’ll bring it all together and answer your questions during a Q & A period at the end of the webinar.
On December 1, 2018, Cathleen Newsham, (a founding member of the New England Mosaic Society), led a private tour for 16 of our members and thier guests of the New York City subway mosaics. There are over 400 mosaics installed on subway platforms in the five boroughs of New York City, and this tour featured 10 of Cathleen’s favorite sites in the borough of Manhattan.
Newsham began her discovery of this immense underground museum eight years ago when a Manhattan family had a dream to create a fantasy Coney Island subway mosaic platform in thier bathroom. The family commissioned Cathleen to design, fabricate and install it, (complete with the family members in the seats of a roller coaster), which is when she began her research into the NYC subway mosaics. Click here to see the completed mosaic and learn her process.
During the design phase of the project, Cathleen began photographing and cataloging these amazing works, which are part of the largest collection of mosaics in North America. Since then, she has lead many artists, students and enthusiasts through the vast NYC transportation network to view these underappreciated works of art. As a professional mosaic artists, she explained to our group the process of how the mosaics are designed, fabricated and installed, and gave participants insight into the complex process of creating a smalti mosaic.
Newsham is offering this same tour again on
April 6th, 2019, called, Part I – Manhattan Subway Mosaics
To sign up for Part I, CLICK HERE
She has also added a Part II, Outer Boroughs and Off the Beaten Track on April 7th, 2019
To sign up for Part II, CLICK HERE
The Museum of Natural History subway stop features this aquarium mosaic as well as a variety of other animals and dinosaurs
Vik Muniz’s “Perfect Strangers” stunningly captures New Yorkers of all stripes awaiting the subway on the new Q line
Newsham joins Muniz’s cast of characters
“Shad Crossing”, Ming Fay’s nod to the immigrants of the lower East side’s main food source at the turn of the century
Each Quarter we will share member’s art, accomplishments and accolades. Here are some exciting things happening with our members!
Member Cynthia Fisher
I wanted to share my latest commission, an abstract mosaic for the First Parish Unitarian Church in Arlington, MA. The invitation to submit a proposal included this summary of what the committee was looking for:
The artwork will create a beautiful, contemplative focal point for the front of the sanctuary. We are looking for the work to convey a spiritual, inclusive, warm and life-affirming theme with a nod to nature and that is open to the personal interpretation of the viewer.
I was eager to comply and thrilled to win the commission as I have been eager to do a public art abstract for some time. The planning process was far more time consuming than my representational style of working. I struggled with the color sketch as when I work abstractly I don’t have a vision in mind when I start the process as I prefer to let the mosaic evolve with regard to use of color. The committee was understanding and I kept them apprised of my progress with photos along the way. One of the coolest aspects of the final mosaic is the inclusion of donations from the congregation, from a piece of the Berlin Wall to a key to a jewelry box from 40 years ago to an ear mold for a hearing aid. These contributions further the connection between the artwork and church members. I will be installing the 3 paneled mosaic at the end of November.
Member Roger Hill
I wanted to share my latest mosaic project with you because it is a tribute to a young man who passed away last year.
I got together with people at work who wanted to pay tribute to our friend, Nick, and his mom, Becky.
Together we raised money to buy a quality granite bench and I created this mosaic in memory of Nick.
I am very proud of this piece mostly because it is a tribute and also a fine gift of art for someone who has lost a child.
Just thought I’d let you know how impactful mosaic art can be as I am sure you already know.
I’d love to do more of these knowing that it can make a difference to a grieving parent who has lost a loved one.
Member Bette Ann Libby
Over 25 people of all ages participated in creating a mosaic mural 5’ x 4’ commissioned by JCOGS -Jewish Community of Greater Stowe, Vermont. Two years in the making, the mosaic finally came together over a two day workshop led by Waitsfield artist Bette Ann Libby. Composed of mirror strips, ceramic shards, and hand blown glass spheres, the image of a world of loving kindness “Olam Chesed”, will hang permanently in the foyer of the Jewish community center!!
Member Sally Dean
Sally Dean, who is the Education Coordinator at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, is designing a 24′ long mosaic to be installed in the sculpture garden at the Art Complex Museum. This project is a part of the Plymouth 2020 Celebration. The theme of the mural is herring run, or fish ladder. The herring runs were an important resource for the first Americans. Both Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Tribe used them for food, and the Wampanoag also taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops using herring.
The mosaic will be created vitreous glass, high fired tiles made in our studio and at local Pottery in Norwell, Italian smalti , and natural pebbles. The project, facilitated by Sally, will take place in the Alden studio at several times throughout the year, and visitors will be invited to participate.
Members Lisa Houck and Amy Marks
Lisa Houck and Amy Marks are co-producing a holiday Craft market. Nine artists will be selling their unique handmade gifts including jewelry, mosaics, prints, collage, functional wooden items, baby bibs, and more.
Date: Sunday, December 2, 2019
Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Home of Lisa Houck, 88 Stoney Lea Road, Dedham, MA
Member Candace Jackman
CONGRATULATIONS TO CANDACE JACKMAN!
SAMA had a raffle for members who renewed their memberships early and Candace is the Winner of the Orsoni Workship in Venice, Italy!
Candace shared her submission for SAMA’s One Hundred + Moments in Mosaic Project with us.
Title: “Paying Homage to Mother Nature”
Candace says” When I was a child, our family went “rockhounding” with my grandfather. He had a huge collection of specimens from all over the world. I grew to love the beauty of rocks and minerals which were the inspiration for this mosaic.”
Materials: This mosaic was created using Amazonite, Azurite and Pyrite/Fools Gold set in a small ceramic bowl using Lexel adhesive. Surrounding the bowl, the tesserae are Mexican smalti, Italian gold smalti and hand cut Blu Oltremare stone adhered with colored thinset.
Member Suzanne Owayda
Suzanne Owayda, owner of Mosaic Oasis Studio & Supply taught one session of The Making of Art and Artifacts: History, Material, and Technique at Harvard University to a group of 13 undergraduate students. The focus was on a mosaic called Peahen Under a Tree, a mosaic floor fragment found in Syria and made sometime between 500 to 600 AD, it is currently in the Harvard University Art Museum collection. Suzanne gave a short power point presentation about the history and materials used to make mosaics during the Byzantine period. It was a hands on class so the students tried their hand using a hammer and hardie and the whole class recreated the mosaic (see the actual and the student representation) using stone and smalti glass. Suzanne also showed images of modern mosaics using the ancient materials by NEMS mosaic artists and members, Cathleen Newsham, Pam Stratton, Deb Aldo, and Cynthia Fisher. The students did a fabulous job recreating the mosaic and Suzanne was relieved that no one smashed a thumb using the hammer!
1. How did you get started in mosaic art?
Arts and crafts have always been present in my life. My formal training in art was at Framingham State University. Then, about 5 years ago, while attending an open studio at the Fountain Street Studios in Framingham, I met Cheryl Cohen, who was exhibiting and provided my first exposure to contemporary mosaic art. About 6 months later I signed up for a few lessons with Cheryl. Unfortunately, I did not continue with mosaics at that time. I went on to take many classes and workshops in abstract painting, mixed media collage, jewelry, experimental acrylics and stained and fused glass. I rediscovered Cheryl in her Holliston studio a little more than a year ago and after a few classes and workshops I was addicted to mosaics. I attend at least weekly and am running out of space at home to store all my materials.
2. What or who inspires you?
That’s an easy one. It is the materials, color and the flow of nature.
” I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.” (Pablo Picasso) Although I start with an idea, I am flexible and respect where the materials take me.
3. What is your favorite material and why?
At this stage, I am still experimenting with materials and will use absolutely anything from nuts and bolts to bits of discarded thin set. So, my favorite material is the one that is currently in my hand.
4. Where would you like to see your art go over the next few years?
I want to continue to learn additional techniques, refine my skills, and conquer my fear of working larger than a square foot.
The Amanda Edwards’ mural at the Ronald McDonald House, Portland, ME and Cherie Bosela’s Diversity Mural in Orlando, FL provided me the privilege of contributing, in a small way, to two community projects. I would love to find additional community projects to which I could contribute.
5. Share a tip, either mosaic or life?
Laura Rendlen provided this tip and it applies to both mosaics and life. If there is something in your piece that you don’t quite like or you are not sure about, get rid of it. If you don’t, you will never be happy with the finished product.
6. Why do you mosaic?
To maintain my sanity and battle depression. Mosaics provides me a sense of accomplishment, pride and constantly challenges my creativity and skills. For each new piece my goal is to try something new, either a new technique or material. Through membership in NEMS, SAMA and Cheryl Cohen’s studio, I found a like-minded community of very special artists who are willing to share knowledge, techniques, and compassion. How exciting it is when someone looks at my piece and can share my vision?
7. What is the best workshop you have taken and why?
Each workshop I attended this year taught me something valuable and I am grateful to each of them: Cheryl Cohen’s Glass and Resin on windows, Amy Marks’ Polymer Clay Mosaics, Meagan Corrado’s Mixed Media Mosaics, Pam Straton’s Wonderful Potential of Smalti, Laura Rendlen’s Creating a Garden with Color, Texture and Light.