Scavenging for treasures with boundless curiosity and finding patterns in everyday life is something I have done since early childhood.
I collected shells and would store them in salt water in old chocolate topping jars until the water went green. Assemblage was what I did - cutting and pasting anything I could find. I studied textile studies throughout high school. Now I make mosaics using found objects, crockery, recycled tiles and up cycled natural stone.
I made my first mosaic in 2001. Living in regional Victoria and looking at the ground became a habit and a wonder to behold, because of the slate, granite and old broken china and old tiles that could be found in our garden and on bush tracks.
Over time people became aware of my passion for mosaics and started giving me their chipped, cracked and broken items- china cups, plates, vases, ceramics, remnant tiles, excess marble and travertine from pool installations and landscaping projects.
I am different to other people making mosaics in that the vast majority of materials used are rescued, up cycled.
I now love to join with others in small workshops to use all these materials to make small and large items.
Sharing the learning journey
I have been influenced and taught by various mosaic artists, in Australia and Italy.
Since 2009 I have been mentored by renowned mosaic artist Helen Bodycomb and have attended classes with other mosaic artists and teachers. Together with 10 other Australian mosaic artists, I went on a study tour of Italy led by Helen in 2017.
During this life changing learning experience, I was fortunate enough to be taught traditional Italian mosaic techniques at the Scuola Mosaicisti Friuli in the northern town of Spilimbergo. Our teacher on this short course was Carolina Zanelli. Carolina's background is beautifully described in this profile by the Chicago Mosaic School.
Another highlight of this tour was a four day stint learning the Ravenna double reverse method at Koko Mosaico with talented artists and teachers Arianna Gallo and Luca Barberini.
While the Italian learnings have left a lasting mark on my approach to what I make, it is the "picassiette" style that attracts in most of my work - using something old or obsolete to create something unique that holds a pattern and carries beauty and meaning for its owner. Like many other mosaic artists, my studio looks like a cross between a lolly shop and shambles, but each precious item does find its place eventually.
I strongly believe that making patterns is a strong driver for many of us, its been part of the human condition for thousands of years and making mosaics is a great way to settle the mind, help you focus and bring pleasure to you and the people around you.