Fourteen years ago I took my first step toward being a professional mosaic artist by entering the NSW-MAANZ exhibition; since then there has been a mountain of hard work, a lot of trial and error, tough working trips to the bush, a few exhibitions, some wonderful trips to Florence and becoming part of the Australian and International mosaic communities…. the money’s not flash but, all in all, it’s a pretty great gig.
I got an unlikely start in mosaic while doing a Nyerna Studies BA where part of the syllabus was an eight-panel mural of the Rain Snake (Wolumbarra) and other animal icons designed and managed by a local elder. We ended up doing 90% of the work between us and I absolutely loved it. A serious car accident some time later benefitted me the rare opportunity to do what I liked; after completing a few more artworks I decided to become a full-time mosaic artist.
From there the fun really began, rushing headlong into the life of a struggling artist; I became very skinny but I was creating some decent art and having a good time. I initially worked with floor tiles as their strength allowed for a greater range of cut shapes and had found where I could purchase remnant stock for ten dollars a box. In seeking to further explore the themes of Wolumbarra and do better art I ventured to a remote location in outback South Australia to do instinctive, rather than considered, renderings of country. On a subsequent trip to the Flinders Ranges I discovered a range of ochre and slate chips; yay, a lot less cutting although I did snap a thumb tendon trying to cut an inconsequential piece of slate.
From there a long line of development ensued, particularly in using ochre which is very beautiful but fickle to work with; the mosaic world started to open up and I received an invitation to participate in Musiwa courtesy of Facebook. I was pleased to find my work was up to scratch and learnt a lot which greatly benefitted motivation. More trips to Florence followed and then participation in The Mosaique Experience Biennial in France… viva il mosaico!
PRESENTATION: ‘Contoured Bases’
The workshop will consist of instruction in three techniques I use; making contoured bases using Pointworks (normally used by roof tilers), mixing and pouring ochre and working with crushed ochre. The last two techniques can be done with dirt, sand, fine gravel or anything else the artist may prefer. The workshop will last forty minutes and is suitable for everyone regardless of experience.