I grew up in the Peak District of Derbyshire and have lived in the Chilterns of South Bucks for the last twenty years, latterly in Wooburn Green. Having worked as a midwife in High Wycombe for a number of years, the opportunity came in 2011 for me to concentrate full-time on the creative part of my life. I took two short courses in mosaic (at Zantium and Missenden Abbey) and immersed myself at the artists’ community at Commercial Square Studios in Wycombe which I had joined in 2009.
Over the last few years at the studio I have gained enormous experience in working with the variety of mosaic materials exploring how they shape, fit and flow. I’ve been enabled on my learning curve by a variety of commissions and projects, which have grown me so much in both creativity and technique.
These have included a public art installation In Wycombe; a triptych panel installation at Wycombe Birth Centre; a Diamond Jubilee schools project and decorative panels of many kinds. Pieces of art for walls, commemorative plaques for anniversaries and birthdays, house names and numbers, mirrors and kitchen splash-backs, clocks and platters all feature in my portfolio.
At present I work mainly with vitreous and iridescent glass, porcelain and precious-metal leaf tesserae on panels, mesh, or natural materials such as slate. Within the impact of the broader design, I like to bring precision and detail to my pieces, often using text or motif, and to explore a range of colour and textural juxtaposition. I am finding myself increasingly drawn towards the use of relief and three-dimensional work.
For panels worked in the ‘direct’ method I draw the design on a prepared board in pencil, either scaled from a sketch, or freehand. The detail of a piece, and its colour transitions, will emerge later in the laying of the tesserae, but the outlines need to be present at the beginning. That’s when the composition and perspective of the piece is laid down. If a design incorporates text or a detailed motif I will be very precise about the pencil drawing; other times I will draw fewer guidelines and let things evolve.
I pay close attention to the merging of colour and the creation of light and tone within the piece, using shimmer and iridescence to create highlights, and different textures to create contrast, relief and tactility. Choosing a style of opus (laying technique) and andamenti (coursing of grout lines) further creates the flow and movement that draws the viewer’s eye and lends depth to this otherwise two-dimensional medium.
My current work is a series of framed panels which I will be showing at the 2015 Open Studios event in June. The emerging themes so far are some sacred (Christian) motifs with a contemporary edge; some ‘gold leaf’ leaves and shiny seed heads; and some more frivolous designs with colours that make my heart sing. Please do come along to Commercial Square and see. Contact details are below.
“MOSAIC MAKING has a rich and long history spanning many civilisations. From this simple concept of bringing many pieces together to form a new whole has sprung an art that is as diverse, exciting and creative as it is embedded in our history.
Through time these pieces have consisted of pebbles, shell, precious stones, marble, terracotta, glass, gold, ceramics, recycled and found objects.
There is perhaps a very deep rooted need within mankind to seek out pattern from chaos in our surroundings and it is this need that mosaic art fulfils.”
British Association for Modern Mosaic
2013 – Show of work (‘Sunset’ series) at Church Farm Art Gallery, Baslow, Derbyshire
2012 – School project – working with Year 6 children to make a giant Union Jack panel (with added jewels!) to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee. On permanent display at Tylers Green Middle School
2011 – Public art installation at Travelodge Octagon Parade in High Wycombe. Four columns applied with mosaic to represent giant chair-legs, referencing Wycombe’s furniture-making heritage
2010 – Wycombe Birth Centre – ‘Precious New Life’ triptych of large panels. On permanent display
2009 to date – Member of the Visual Images Group and participant in Bucks Open Studios event at Commercial Square