I remember the first time I toyed with the idea of delving into the world of mosaic arts. I was living in Oakland, California at a live/work studio compound called Ford Street Studios in a neighborhood fondly known as “Jingle Town.” Mosaic Artist, Laurel True was also living at Ford Street Studios. A painter friend of mine who lived in a nearby studio told me about Laurel True’s studio, which was next to her studio. It so happened that Laurel was teaching small classes out of her studio, and after having seen some of her work, I knew I had to take a class. Little did I know, this would be the beginning of a beautiful relationship…with mosaics.
Laurel True went on to start the Institute of Mosaic Art (IMA) right next to the Ford Street Studios and she has since sold it and moved to New Orleans where she continues to teach and make incredibly gorgeous mosaics. I continued my journey in mosaics as well, taking countless classes and workshops at IMA, ranging from tabletops, concrete structures, installations, and portraiture to name a few. Though I love creating larger scale mosaics, I found that my passion lies with creating micro mosaics. I never thought in a million years that this would interest me, and I can’t really explain why it does and why, truthfully, I’m kind of obsessed with micro mosaics; mosaic jewelry in particular. Perhaps it’s the process. The gratification of making something in one sitting? The challenge of working small scale? Being able to wear my art? All of the above? I don’t know. I just know that when I’m making a piece, I’m in total bliss and 200% focused on my work…which, by the way, is not work at all. It’s play! Great play I might add!
In terms of my artistic process these days, now that I live in Portland rather than San Francisco (recent transplant), I’d say I’ve found my process to be more laid back and more in tune with the natural world around me as a source of inspiration. Now that I have an actual studio rather than taking over the living room (special thanks to my partner for putting up with that for a few years!), I’m even more engrossed in the process. I tend to dream about designs (literally) or think about patterns and colors, especially when I’m out in nature. I don’t, however, plan anything out. I take those inspirations and then sit at my space and let the patterns in my head spill out organically. I’ve tried to draw out designs but I find that too restricting and would much rather let things unfold as I go.
Other sources of inspiration include my travels to Costa Rica. I love the Southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica and especially love the phenomenally gorgeous colors and textures found in the jungles. I plan on taking my materials with me on my next trip (another plus of working micro; the materials are compact!) and creating pieces solely inspired by the sea and the jungle. I foresee creations inspired by the iridescent blue morpho butterfly and the brilliant scarlet macaw. I hope to host a week-long Mosaic Art Jewelry Workshop in Costa Rica one day soon. In the meantime, I am planning on hosting a workshop at Artistic Portland so that I can share my passion and techniques with others.
I am thrilled to be part of Artistic Portland, selling my line of mosaic jewelry called Moth & Twig. I am genuinely in awe of the talent of my colleagues and I am proud to be part of such a great group of folks. I feel inspired by the beautiful works I see every time I walk into the shop that has positively contributed to my own process.