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Glittering Shards

Glittering Shards: March 2011

Glittering Shards

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mosaic a la gothic arabesque

The British Association for Modern Mosaic's next exhibition is fast approaching with a delicious theme  - all things 'Gothic'.  Now...for years I have wanted to experiment with using wooden fretwork as a 'pretend' grout and this was my chance - fretwork with the Gothic quatrefoil all over! (The Gothic quatrefoil is an architectural symbol seen in so many buildings here in London).

So I played with tiles and was drawn by these colours. They are so Moroccan in flavour don't you think? Many quatrefoil panels (in windows, stained glass etc...) have an image at the centre and here the beautiful millefiore glass came into its own.

And to finish it off, I went to one of the many beautiful Indian fabric shops here in Tooting and found just the perfect braid to go round the edge of the piece. And so, Gothic Arabesque was born!
The exhibition is in Lichfield Cathedral (just north of Birmingham) from Friday 29th April (day of the Royal Wedding and ehm! more importantly, my sweet boy's 4th birthday!) until 30th May. Details here.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

A week of firsts

Its been a busy 'ole week here in Glittering Shards land. We have had dear friends visiting all week and this weekend too.

I have finished another mosaic piece for an exhibition - will post pics in the week - and have started on a beautiful, delicate commission for a 40th wedding anniversary.
Workshops continue apace - 3 a week at the moment - with students (all beginners) launching into some pretty exciting projects.

 I am also in full preparation mode for 2 more community art projects which I am really looking forward to.

In the midst of all this activity, a week of firsts:

...the first day of going out without a coat or jacket
...the first opportunity to hang the washing out to dry...

... our first day back at our lovely community farm after the winter break and the first lawn mow of the year. Oh the smell. Bliss. Yup, spring has definitely sprung in London town. Blossoms are out in full force. I feel like sitting under the candy pink blossom in our neighbour's garden for hours just to take it all in before it goes (which it does all too quickly).

To round it all off, I am now into week 4 of the 30 day vegan workshop and doing great. Have got  the whole family drinking green smoothies - we are bouncing full of sunshine and happy vitamins! Hope sunshine and goodness is reaching you too.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Do you kiss your work goodbye? London hospital mosaic has flown...

I finished my 'Circles' mosaic for the London Hospitals mosaic project - mosaic artists from all round the world producing a 20 x 20 cm mosaic on the theme of circles which will all be mounted together into a public art installation for a busy London hospital waiting area.

Can't wait to see the finished installation. Check out some of the entries here. The project is also being done to raise money for the Esther Benjamin Trust that rescues Nepalese children who are trafficked and trains them with work skills (including mosaic making). Find out more here.

In the meantime I had only a couple of days to enjoy my piece. When I send work away (most often never to be seen again) I must confess to giving it a little affectionate stroke and kiss. These are my little mosaic babies, flying into the world. Am I the only one that does this?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Free toys - love and fun included!

This is Sally.

She was made with a lot of love by my little boy, Toby (with some help from Mummy).

Component parts: an empty salt tub, a lid, yoghurt pot, old insulating foil, insulating tape (she is very warm!) some pipe cleaners and good old British milk bottle tops from our doorstep milk bottle delivery (a great craft resource if there ever was one).

Fun was had. And when she was finished, he squealed with glee "Mummy, I have a new toy, I have a new toy to play with!"  Enough said...

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The limits of words

We are specks of dust on a revolving rock. This rock which is our home in the universe shuddered last Friday and the lives of millions will never be the same.

Writing my 'normal' blog post did not feel appropriate tonight because my words feel trivial and inadequate in light of the pictures and news from Japan.

We are specks of dust on a revolving rock. Our feet, though far apart, are touching the same planet. We are connected. Many, many hearts and minds, though far away, are connected to the pain of our fellow humans in Japan right now, seeking to transmit the possibility of strength, courage, love and comfort.

When disasters like this happen, that is about all I know.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Have I introduced you to....

    ...Chloe, our new cat?

She was given to us by one of my lovely mosaic students because their family could not keep her. And what a character she is.

Utterly royal in her composure, I think she has finally accepted that she is in an house that values equality...and is making friends with our two dear rescue kittens!

Here she is sleeping with Isabella, as she does every evening....

...with me in my studio.

And yesterday, oh my...she followed Isabella all the way to school (a 10 minute walk!) and despite being returned home, she went back 4 times and decided to sit in the Art Room of all places (my kind of cat).  By the end of the day, half the school knew her name! A character indeed, and a most welcome addition to our family ;)

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Home organising and rhythm setting

There is something about my personality and life experience which means I need a sense of rhythm to my life. Since becoming  a parent, that need has become acute. I have tried to push it aside and live by 'going with the flow', but it hasn't worked for me, especially with the demands of a growing creative business.
So I declared 2011 to be my Year of Living Rhythmically. My year of finding a pace to life that feels more realistic and respectful of where I am at in my stage of life (with two young children to nurture,  a family home to maintain and 'art' calling me). A way of running my life so that it feels more balanced rather than being so deep in one area of life that I  neglect the rest. A way of living that decreases stress and increases calm. A pattern to life that respects my need to know where I am at and what I am to give my attention to at a given moment rather than feeling that I have to deal with / develop / achieve everything right now (recipe for overwhelm if there ever was one).

I have tons I want to say about what rhythmical living means and does not mean to me but for now, let me tell you how I have begun:

  1. By clearing the physical space in my life
  2. By developing a way to intuitively plan my use of time.
On the latter, I have invented a 'tool' to do this (its taken me 4 weeks to 'make'!) and I am going to start using it tomorrow. For those of you interested, I will report back and tell you all about it in a month (once I know if it works for me or not).

As for clearing the space...oh my! I have done my best over the last 5 years since having children to keep some sort of home organisation going. But, truth be told,  many, many corners of the home have been filled with things tidily shoved away. Seeing these hot spots of neglect have left me frequently hyperventilating (you know that feeling, when you can't find what you need or you open the cupboard door and things tumble out?)

So, in my quest to clear the metaphorical dance floor of my life so that I can dance my rhythm without tripping, I have spent the last 10 weeks sorting, de-cluttering and tidying. So far I have tackled:
  • the kitchen cupboards (happily, in good preparation for this course on Vegan living that start tomorrow)
  • the utensils draws in the kitchen (yay! The draw has not got stuck once since!)
  • the understairs cuboard (including using the genius system from my friend Kate, for organising medicine into two boxes - 'internal' and 'external')
  • all our paperwork and filing has been gone through and stuff chucked, organised or archived. I feel like I need an enourmous round of applause for this as its over 5 years worth - phew! I think that we may now be able to actually find a piece of paper when we need it!
  • I have sorted my jewelry and made this display frame from a beautiful piece of lace  (hand-made and given to me by a dear lady in Finland) which I have mounted on a wooden frame.
I adapted this idea from Heather at Beauty that Moves who showed how she used a small bit of lace in an embroidery hoop for hanging earrings. It's so lovely seeing all the various sparkly bits (many with feelings attached) on display - it is like using all your jewelry to make a work of art!
  • my artists studio has been thoroughly cleared out and I have nearly finished sorting all my tiles (will post pics of the inside when I do)
  • kids toys have been thinned out, sorted and tidied including all the girly nick nacks (how many bracelets and necklaces can a little girl have? Mmm...about as many as her mummy maybe?)
  • our hat gallery is back!
  • my sewing area is finally cleared, sorted and set up and I will finish our family snuggle quilt for the living room by next winter...

Still many house projects to tackle but it feels sooo good to have made such headway, particularly as I have a busy time coming up with my art in the next few months (some exciting news to share soon!).

PS. The picture above my sewing desk is by Nikki McClure , an inspiring self-taught artist and children's author who makes the most beautiful paper-cut art. The picture was a 40th birthday present from friend, blogger and fellow Tooting creative Gillian. When she gave it to me, it literally choked me up - there is something in the picture that touches me deeply.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A peek at some making action!

After the mosaic making frenzy that was the lead up to my solo exhibition in December, Christmas came (and went!) and January became the month of catching up on the neglected piles of life.

All of January I continued to run my mosaic classes and I must confess to a slight twinge of jealousy at watching my students making while I was knee deep in tax returns! 

At last...phew!...exhale...I am back making again. I have several pieces lined up to make for different exhibitions.
This piece plays with the theme 'abstract circles' and is for a public art project, the Mosaic Art Charity project.
Pieces by artists from all round the world will be combined into one large installation in a hospital in North London.

It never ceases to amaze me the vast variety of mosaic work based on the same theme - click on the link to see some great 'circle' mosaics! I love the iridescent 'oil slick' tiles in this piece and am looking forward to grouting it when its done. It was extra special this afternoon that my 5 year old daughter sat, with total concentration, and helped put some pieces in. She had the biggest grin on her face for being so grown up and like mummy!

The second piece is the start of a mosaic for the next group exhibition by the British Association for Modern Mosaics. The theme is 'gothic' and I am playing with the Gothic quatrefoil symbol in rather an arabesque way. Still not sure I have the colours alternating right so may do some un-sticking and re-sticking!

I would love to aspire to the 'make every day' school and in the last week have started to use 20 minute snatches rather than wait for a chunk of time. A good lesson. How long can you go without making before you start getting tetchy?