I am a member of Artistic Portland but I also sell at the various markets and local shows/fairs. When I work at fairs or shifts at Artistic Portland, patrons often ask me questions about my art so I thought I’d share those questions as well as my answers here on this blog.
In no particular order…
Customer: “Is this enameled work?”
I get this question often and I can see why people think my work is enameled since many of my pieces are colorful and vibrant. Though I plan on incorporating enameled bases in my work in the future, I currently do not utilize the enameling process. My work is strictly mosaic, meaning I cut and shape tile and glass as well as other materials and then I create miniature mosaics from those pieces.
Customer: “You must have a lot of patience.”
I probably hear this comment at every show/fair. My response is a resounding “Yes I do!” For obvious reasons, I think one must have a fair amount of patience to work tiny. When I first started to explore micro mosaics, I thought I would be a dismal failure at it. I couldn’t imagine working with tools such as tweezers or cutting tessera into tiny pieces. To my pleasant surprise, I learned that I love to work small. It’s challenging to create patterns in tiny spaces. I also find the process to be therapeutic.
Customer: “Where do you get your materials?”
I source the globe for my materials. It has taken me over three years to find my sources. In the process I have tried and eliminated a number of sources as I’m very particular as to the quality of my work. As they say, garbage in, garbage out! I have worked hard to ensure that my art is of good quality while also being affordable. Currently, many of my materials are sourced from Morocco, Italy, Turkey, and Mexico. I also use some local materials.
Customer: “I can see your brain in your work in your pieces.”
I love this comment as I strive to express the inner workings of my head via patterns and color. Rarely do I plan a pattern before jumping into a piece. My mood and overall outlook on life is reflected in my work. Sometimes however, I dream of a pattern or will suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and various patterns and colors will bombard my brain so that I cannot sleep. As crazy as it sounds, I welcome those sleepless nights as I find that in the dark and silence of the night, my brain comes up with some interesting ideas and I am oftentimes excited for the morning to arrive so that I can put those ideas into motion.
Customer: “What is the shiny material used in some of your pieces?”
I love this question because I love the material! Sometimes you will see hints of shiny bits mixed in with the tile and or glass that comprise most of my works. The shiny material is called “mosaic gold.” It is 24kt gold leaf which has been mounted on glass and then is covered by a very thin hand-blown piece of crystal and fused into one solid, durable piece of glass in a furnace. The gold appears as if it is on the surface of each tessera, reflecting the purity of gold when touched by the light. I use Orsoni Mosaic Gold which has long been considered by many to be the finest mosaic gold produced!
Customer: “What tools do you use?”
Ah yes, tools! I will preface this with, I love my tools! Finding good tools has also been a quest. You’d be surprised at how many different types and qualities of tweezers there are available in the marketplace. I also use dental picks, various nippers, rubbing stones, glass stones, files, and a few other tools that come in handy when working tiny. Did I say how much I love my tools? I just acquired new nippers from Italy that I now use to cut glass and mosaic gold. Let’s just say that my world has changed and leave it at that. Yes, mosaic artists are nerds.
If you have any questions about my art and/or process, be sure to leave a reply to this post and I will respond. Thanks for reading and be sure to stop by Artistic Portland to see the many beautiful works created by talented local artists.