This is the first of my dedicated newsletters, which I'm attempting to publish each season with news and updates about my mosaic work and studio life. I hope you enjoy!
Thank you sincerely to all those who already follow my craft and welcome to those of you who are new to the wonderful world of mosaic making. I have truly appreciated the support of so many lovely and generous people over the past eighteen months.
Having a studio space has proved to be such a solace whilst the world has been turned upside down all around. I was fortunate enough to be able to work for limited periods and with focus, so designing at home and making in the studio for those shorter periods of time worked well.
Whilst spending more time going for local walks around Shrewsbury, I became quite taken by the light that appears between tree trunks and under heavy canopies of leaves. I also returned to look more closely at the landscape work of Gustav Klimt. The square format has always been a feature of my work and so I worked on making small ten centimetre 'sketches' in glass.
After experimenting with colours and size, the 'Bluebell Wood' emerged, building on a commission from earlier in the year. Ideas often keep coming around to be revisited and developed.
The iridescent mirrored blue glass creates just enough colour to catch the light, as does the mix of different shades of green glass. This process of laying down the small micro mosaic is really meditative. I have new ideas emerging along the meadow theme, using multi-coloured spots of glass so more news on that soon...
Some of my floral bouquest and garden stakes winged their way to Ferrers Gallery in Leicestershire during June and July for inclusion in their Bark & Blooms exhibition. It was great to show my work to a new audience.
Work was also included in the Creativity Unlocked exhibition at the Visual Arts Network Gallery in Shrewsbury. The clue is in the name, but good to show what artists were working on in isolation. It's a volunteer-led arts organisation so I'm hoping we can continue with more volunteers joining.
New Gallery Stockists
I am always so excited when I'm approached by potential new galleries! In recent months working hard to promote my mosaics through my Instagram grid has paid off as my work is now stocked in Studio Vault in Settle in North Yorkshire and the recently opened Canvas and Clay in Ellesmere. Two really exciting opportunities alongside my existing outlets who all do such a tremendous job promoting my work!
Two recent commissions that I am able to show here came from opposite ends of the world. The first was from a couple who are great collectors of my work, with a brief to create mosaics for a bird-watcher's significant birthday (I'm not allowed to say which birthday!). This certainly piqued my interest. Knowing that they are keen gardeners my thoughts turned to something that could attract birds to the garden. As a child I had been taken to see an exhibition of Faberge's work in London and the decorated eggs have resonated with me over the years. Discovering terracotta bird feeders recommended by the RSPB and the design was up and running. The idea of highly decorated egg-shape bird feeders hanging like Christmas decorations from trees in the garden was decided on.
The bird feeders were sent to London in a huge amount of protective wrapping and the response was overwhelming, I was just so pleased that the brief hit the nail on the head!
The second commission came from a buyer in Sydney, Australia who wanted a smaller version of the Bluebell Wood for a wedding present for a friend who likes to go walking in woods. Thank goodness for the internet so that briefings could carry on despite the time difference. Th recipients were delighted.
As some of you will know, there have been additional challenges at the studio with not one but three floods in the past two years. Each time the water table in the courtyard has been unable to cope with the River Severn rising so far and so fast, which has led to just under three feet of water coming into the studio. It was always make clear when I took the studio on that there may be a threat of flooding so to always be prepared. Fortunately I keep most things displayed up high and with very little on the floor.
So this Summer the render has been removed to midway up the walls and the C18th brickwork allowed to dry out. Whilst this happens, probably a month of letting the air to it all, I am working at my workbench surrounded by tables with everything piled high and under covers. I can't find a thing!
However, it is also very exciting. When I moved in four years ago I basically worked around what was already there but now that all the old fixtures have been removed I can have new white display shelves and plinths made. I might even invest in a new electric woodburner stove to keep me warm later in the year! So hopefully, when it comes to Open Studios I will have a much better space to show my work.
And thoughts now turn to working on new mosaics for selling later in the year (trying to avoid mentioning the Christmas word here) with some new decoration ideas and more postable sizes of the floral bouquets. If you have any ideas or mosaics you would like to see either in the studio, online or through my gallery stockists, I am always very interested to hear from you!
This year I have started working with the community arts organisation Loudwater Studios in Ludlow in South Shropshire. I did a pilot mosaic workshop in June, finally after three attempts thwarted by the Coronavirus pandemic, and a further two booked for November 2021 and February 2022. I have also managed to restart the mosaic workshops in the studio with limited numbers. It was just so lovely to be back teaching again and sharing my passion for mosaics.
So, thank you for taking time to read my news and I hope that you all take care. I'll be back with more news in the Autumn and hopefully some photos of a much improved studio space.