Laurel True‘s commitment to tapping into the Creative Capital of communities to heal, revitalize and rebuild is at work in Jacmel, Haiti right now.
She and her assistant, Erin Rogers, are working with local youth and collaborating with Haitian and American artists to design and create a large-scale mosaic mural in partnership with the Art Creation Foundation For Haitian Children (ACFFC) in Jacmel. A description of the project from her website:
“Youth will collect materials salvaged from the devastation of the earthquake in January, which will be repurposed with love into a memorial mosaic mural commemorating the loss of life and homes and celebrating the healing and rebuilding in Haiti.
The project will focus on skill building and mosaic training for youth and young adults so that they may use these skills for future entrepreneurial development. The mural will serve as a memorial for the lives lost as a result of the devastating earthquake last January and serve as an affirmation for future rebuilding in Haiti.”
Laurel was kind enough to agree to send us photos from Jacmel so we could post them here. She wants to say thank you, once again, for the contributions that many of you made to this project on Kickstarter in response to our post here April 23 post.
June 2, 2010 — Jacmel, Haiti
We arrived in Haiti yesterday. Such a beautiful country. Beautiful, wonderful people. Spent our first day in Port au Prince.
We were met at airport by ACFFC director Georges Matellus. A wonderful man with a huge heart.
Rubble not being moved that we saw. Men in top of pancaked building with sledgehammers. People resting on huge hunks of fallen buildings. Barber shops operating while buildings on either side in heaps.
We traveled two hours south – some thru the mountains to reach Jacmel.
We had our first day at the Art Creation Foundation for Children (ACFFC) today (June 2).
A wonderful organization with amazing people and kids. ACFFC serves over 75 kids. We met them in shifts today. Different age groups go to school at different times.
We had introductions. And talked about the mosaic mural project. Showed pics and kids did drawings of trees for tree of life mural.
Matou from ACFFC translated all into Kreyole. Some kids speak French and my French is so rusty. Need translator.
We had lesson. Brought JoAnn’s book! (JoAnn Locktov’s “Mosaic Art and Style”) They devoured it. We worked with all age kids. Very young to older teens in shifts.
Many beautiful moments. The kids are naturals. They love it and are doing great.
Others separated a dozen rice sacks full of tile all donated by Mosaiques Gardere in Port au Prince and the 60 pounds of tile we brought into color piles.
We just had a great day. I know many will continue with mosaic after we leave.
Setting onto wall demain. Shoddy French better than none.
Help Laurel’s work to rebuild and revitalize Jacmel to continue long after she is gone. Consider a gift to the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Haiti. Every dime will go towards feeding, housing, teaching and inspiring children in Jacmel.
This book, published by the Getty Conservation Institute, is a fascinating read AND it is available free, on the web as a PDF file. Check out the description from the Getty’s website below:
As part of its long-term interest in the preservation of mosaics in situ, the Getty Conservation Institute, working with the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, undertook the conservation of the Orpheus Mosaic, one of several mosaics located in the archaeological zone at Paphos. The mosaic is part of the remains of a Roman villa that dates back to the late second or early third century.
The project involved detaching the mosaic using a rolling technique (the mosaic was in need of a new support), cleaning the back of the mosaic, applying a new mortar bed, and reinstalling the mosaic at its original site. Other aspects of the project included formal training in mosaics conservation, environmental monitoring, analyzing the mosaic’s tesserae, and constructing a hexashelter to protect the mosaic.
We were especially enthralled with the description and photos of the giant “drum” which was used to roll the mosaic out of its original position.
It’s free. It’s fascinating. And it’s the Getty. What more could you want? Go, already.
When you’re done with that, check out the Getty’s video on their joint project with Tunisia’s Institut National du Patrimoine to preserve that country’s exquisite mosaic heritage in situ. Technicians are taught how to document, evaluate, refurbish, and maintain ancient Roman mosaics. Fabulous.
Enjoy — Nancie
To quote a woman in Minnesota Public Radio’s great story, ” . . . you might as well go in and have your socks blown off.”
To download and view Lakewood’s lovely brochure on the Chapel, click here
Et cetera . . .
We were unable to find much about Charles Lamb on the web, however we did find J & R Lamb Studios of New York (1857-1999). The Library of Congress has images of over 2,500 original drawings and designs for sacred mosaics and stained glass works by the Studio. This archive is a treasure trove and a great way to spend a lazy Sunday. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/lamb/
Enjoy — Nancie
Bursting out of the forest in this remote western corner of Tuscany is what artist Niki de Saint Phalle called her “Garden of Joy.” It’s a contemporary art park (opened in 1998), filled with twenty-two exuberant sculptures that represent her take on themajor cards of a tarot deck.
The colors! The sculptures are made of a mix of day-glo mosaics, mirrored glass, and ceramics. They’re curvy, oversized mythical creations, some standing three stories high. They entice you to reach out and feel their textures, or walk inside and find yourself surrounded by sparkling colors and mirrors. Fountains created by Niki’s husband, the Swiss kinetic sculptor Jean Tinguely, add to the exceptional magic. Olive and oak trees,myrtle and rosemary bushes, blend with the art. The garden has a playful ambience, infused with Niki’s childlike spirit. She even put a bright spin on the Devil—a smiling winged woman poised on a pedestal with a flame between her legs.
Towering over the whole scene is The Empress, a shining, blue, mosaic sphinx with enormous multicolored breasts. Niki lived inside it while the garden was being built—hard to believebecause it’s so glittery in there. One breast was the kitchen, and she slept in the other. The nipples are windows. She said it was her “protective mother” for the project she worked obsessively on, relying solely on her instincts to lead the way.
Niki was a drop-dead gorgeous woman—lithe, with high cheekbones and delicate features. She was born in France in 1930, then moved to New York and modeled as a teenager, appearing on the covers of Vogue, Harper’s, and Life. When she was eighteen she eloped, and a few years later,moved with her husband and daughter to Paris. While studying acting there, she had a nervous breakdown. She’d been abused as a child by her father, and finally facing the trauma, started painting to work through it.
She was self-taught and got encouragement to stick to her naïve style, showing her paintings in a Paris gallery in the mid-1950s. It was there she met and fell in love with the sculptor Tinguely. They both divorced their spouses and became life-long partners.Niki’s “Shooting Paintings” catapulted her to worldwide recognition in the early 1960s. They were created in galleries, bringing out the performance artist in her. She’d strut out in a white jumpsuit and black boots, whip out a twenty-two caliber pistol, and shoot at a blank board, where she’d imbedded bags filled with paint. Colors would explode and form spontaneous paintings. After three years of wowing fans from California to Amsterdam, she gave it up, saying, “I’ve become addicted to shooting.”Having worked the machismo stuff out of her system, Niki moved on to explore feminine archetypes. Inspired by a pregnant girlfriend, she created Nanas—huge pop-art styled fertility goddess sculptures. Expanding that theme, she rocked the art world with a room-sized Nana in Sweden. Visitors would enter through the sculpture’s vagina and find inside a milk bar and screening room showing Greta Garbo films.Ever since the 1950s when Niki saw Gaudi’s Park Guell in Spain, she’d felt it was her destiny to create her own sculpture garden. In the 1970s she was given this land in Tuscany to begin the twenty-year project. She died four years after it was completed, in 2002. She was seventy-one and had suffered from emphysema, brought on by polyester fumes she’d inhaled while making those Nana sculptures. Her creations are exhibited all over the world, but the Tarot Garden is her greatest legacy. To visit it on a sunny day, when bright light bounces off the sculptures, is spectacular.
My favorite story of a traveler discovering this place comes from my friend JoAnn Locktov, who showed up here in the midst of a thunder and lightning storm. Since there are loads of metal pieces in the garden’s Tinguely fountains, the tour group she came with decided to stay in the bus, terrified they’d be struck by lightning. But JoAnn, a mosaics fanatic, was determined to get in no matter what. The guard who answered the door after twenty rings tried to stop her. JoAnn rushed past him and took in the marvels, running her hands over textured archways, awestruck by the rich designs. Caught up in JoAnn’s enthusiasm, the guard turned on the fountains for her. She said to herself, “If this is where I was meant to die, it’d be okay.”The Tarot Garden: Il Giardino dei Tarocchi, open April-mid- October.•Golden Day: Visit the Garden and spend time exploring nearbyCapalbio, a tiny medieval hilltop village. Eat there at TrattoriaDa Maria (Via Comunale 3, 056 4896014), which also has a budget B&B attached. For luxury digs at the nearby seaside, stay at the Pellicano Hotel (www.pellicanohotel.com), a Relais Chateaux property.Travelers’ Tales Tuscany edited by James O’Reilly and Tara Austen WeaverRECOMMENDED READING
Here is an artist who has a strong body of work to show. It explores the many colors of white found in natural materials, can be feminine, is highly textural and beautifully made. This artist is being represented professionally by a gallery that is solidly behind her work.
“Our artists are the heart and soul of our gallery and Jacki is so dedicated to her craft and supportive of others that she’s a pleasure to work with. I do believe we are a good fit together. I believe in her artistic vision and try to convey that to my clients.
Jacki’s show was a huge success. People are familiar with the traditional mosaics but were blown away with Jacki’s interpretation in the monochromatic style. Some of my clients bought because they said her pieces were very ‘spa like’ and relaxing. Others found them to be romantic and beautiful. People are relating to the ‘journey’ in the pieces and it’s fabulous!”
Our thanks to Jacki Sowers, Rena Klump and Ms. Klump’s daughter Catrina for helping make this post possible. While Jacki’s exhibit closed April 30, you can see more photos of her work on the gallery’s website at:
The scaffolding has finally been put away and now we can view the beautiful angel in the Hagia Sophia in its entirety. If you click on the link below, you will see the NYTimes article with a gorgeous photo of the whole angel. We think the image is enormously powerful and inspiring.
We first blogged about this in July 2009 when the “Angel Saraphin” was revealed as an ornamental medallion was removed during a restoration project. The metal plates were added in 1869 in keeping with Islamic law prohibiting praying before human images.
The AP video below is from 2009. For our Facebook Fans — to see the video, copy and paste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCBqw36IAUQ into your browser.
Here is still more video distributed by Turkish authorities. While there is no translation, it is fascinating to see the blocking and tackling of restoration up close. Please keep your hands inside the elevator.
Enjoy — Nancie
The momentum for contemporary mosaics is more than evident these days with a number of quality exhibitions in the works and on the walls. We’re going to call this Exhibition Week at MAN as we cover just a few of the artists and events happening around the world.
The Eye I Couldn’t See won first prize in the MAANZ Touring 30:30 Vision exhibition “Crusty Oceana”. A panel of international judges chose the work from a field of 65 entries. The work, one of 16 chosen, will tour Australia in 2010 and was exhibited at the Australian Embassy in Berlin at the end of 2009.
I have been working as a professional violinist for 25 years. I continue to play although I have given up full time work to make time for my other passion which is mosaics. I started mosaics 12 years ago inspired by a magazine article. I am self taught with the help of books and lots of looking at pictures of mosaics.
Beyond Three 90 x 90 cm Smalti and and millefiori.
I do 2 and 3D work with a variety of materials and have just completed my first public art work for a local primary school. I have exhibited extensively around Hobart and also on mainland Australia and overseas.
I live on a five acre block near the sea in Oyster Cove (just outside Hobart) Tasmania with my husband and 10 year old daughter.
Excellent progress. Go Gary! And don’t let all those visitors traipsing through your studio this weekend during Open House distract you from the task at hand.
Today’s blog is a tag team effort: Here’s Sarah Zirkel working with Gary and sending us gorgeous photos of the progress. I get to cheer from the sidelines and narrate. Looks like another productive week has passed, and Gary is making great strides on the athlete medallion.
As an aside, we noticed that Gary is a bit, um, “distractable.” So I’ve implored Sarah to keep him on task. She promises she’s not letting him make his own tea or soak his own tiles off the backing paper. Here’s Gary, being distracted again by his cel:
So back to the topic. Most mosaic artists have heard the term andamento, even if they haven’t quite mastered it. From the Italian verb andare, “to go,” andamento refers to the movement and direction of the individual tiles, or tesserae. Sarah’s given us great close-ups of Gary’s work. If you’re a mosaicist and this andamento doesn’t make your heart flutter, turn in your badge and pack away your tile nippers:
The Diver is the center of the 14-foot diameter medallion. Look at the subtle change in shapes Gary is cutting to achieve the curvature on the skull and the upper back and shoulders. Many novice mosaicists make mistakes when trying to merge curves and lines together; they end up making tiny triangles which obstruct the andamento and interrupt the rhythm of the mosaic with their awkward size and shape.
Here instead, if you look closely you’ll see the proper method of ending a pointed area: two pieces are tapered toward the same point, but are blunted into a single piece that takes over where two tiny triangles would have been placed. I don’t have a little arrow to point to the exact spots I’m describing, but look at the diver’s right thigh, outlined in black. Mid-way down where the palest yellow and the golden color meet the thigh’s outline, you can see the larger pale yellow tile being used to taper the point and allow two lines to become one tile width, and then further tapered to the standard 1/2 tile used throughout the design.
Simple and graceful. Carolina Zanelli, an accomplished mosaicist trained in Spilimbergo, taught me to this concept long after I should have started using it. Looking back at some of my early mosaics, I see how it would have made a big difference in the overall flow of my work. Ah, well. Così è la vita.
We’ll call this The Runner unless Gary chimes in to correct me. All the figures in this medallion represent the various sports disciplines offered at the university wellness center. This guy must be traveling at lightening speed, because he’s making the ceramic air current bend around him.
If you look at the top center of the photo above, you’ll see just how Gary maps out the work in advance. Not much detail in the pattern. He’s making design, color and andamento decisions as he works with just the marker lines and small colored concept sketches to guide him.
We’ll go back to the diver’s early days so you can see both the sketch, sitting on the upper right, and the depth of concentration required to fulfill Gary’s intended outcome:
So we joke about Gary being highly distractable, sure. But this is a guy who knows exactly what he needs to accomplish. Aren’t we lucky to watch it happen before our eyes! Keep checking back to the MAN blog. I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to treat you to a partially finished medallion layout photo in the near future.
As promised, here’s a post from guest blogger Paul Anater of www.kitchenandresidentialdesign.com Take it away, Paul . . .
I am a kitchen and bath designer by trade and I use a fair amount of these manufacturers’ products every year. I’m also a big supporter of mosaics as art (see my article To Work without Fear in the current issue of Mosaic Art NOW). Given the option, I’ll commission original work for a project but I don’t always have the option. It’s a good idea for fine art mosaicists to know what’s developing on the commercial side and that’s why I’m here today.
Of the hundreds of exhibitors from around the world who were at Coverings, five stood out to me as being worthy of note here.
The first is an Italian company, Mosaico+. Mosaico+ manufactures field mosaics in glass. metal, stone and now wood. Ordinarily, they supply their products in sheets, but they do sell their mosaic tiles as loose pieces in a variety of sizes.
Their booth was covered on four sides by what appeared to be pixelated pop art prints but upon closer inspection, these Warholian images were indeed made from glass mosaic tile.
Upon even closer inspection, it was clear that they individual mosaics tiles were single color, translucent glass from their usual collections.
Inside, I saw these sheeted, field mosaics that used a combination of glass and wood tiles. Mixing materials like glass, stone, wood and metal was a recurring theme through all of the commercial makers of mosaics this year. There’s an eclecticism at work on the leading edge of the commercial side of the business. The high end determines what ends up at the consumer level so expect to see more commercial applications of wood.
Terra Viva is an Italian company that recently relocated to Abu Dhabi and they make traditionally Byzantine mosaic patterns out of a combination of semi-precious stone and terra cotta.
The stone is cut with a water jet so it’s very precise, but the combination of the water jetted stone and terra cotta softens the effect and it keeps Terra Viva’s work from looking mechanical and sterile as is so often the case when it comes to water jetted stone. It’s usually too perfect but not in this case. Terra Viva uses new cutting technology and combines it with downright primitive materials and the final effect is as warm as it is luxurious.
From Beirut came Phoenecian Arts, the only purveyor of hand cut smalti mosaics to show at Coverings this year. Their work is performed by skilled artisans in a workshop in Lebanon and they are distributed in the US by a sales office in Miami, FL.
Though Phoenician Arts showed smalti mosaics at coverings, they also work in stone, glass and ceramic. Their work is all fully-custom and it arrives on a nylon mesh backer for installation anywhere.
After walking through a trade show that took up 400,000 square feet of exhibit space and filled nearly every square inch of it with porcelain and ceramic floor and wall tile, seeing smalti again was a real relief!
The folks behind Phoenician Arts were helpful and passionate about their work. Their website is terrific and it’s well worth it to spend some time looking over it.
The finest stone and glass mosaics available commercially are the work of New Ravenna Mosaics in Exmore, VA. New Ravenna unveiled two new collections at Coverings from a suite in the nearby Peabody hotel. New Ravenna’s work is exquisite, there’s no other word to describe it.
New Ravenna is Sara Baldwin’s labor of love. Sara’s a laughing whirlwind who’s intimately involved in every aspect of that company and who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.
New Ravenna had only worked in stone until recent years when they started experimenting with art glass. Sometimes, the glass stands alone and sometimes it’s combined with natural stone. The effect is always the same, complex patterns that belie their complexity. Virtually all of New Ravenna’s field patterns are available to see on their website and it’s worth the time to look over their collections.
Though not a typical mosaic, I’d call this a mosaic never the less.
The chandelier above was in a booth that belonged to Levantina y Asociados Minerales in Spain. Levantina is a stone supplier and exporter and that chandelier is one of the most clever things I saw at the show.
That’s a water jetted shadow of a chandelier. The negative image was jetted out of the field and then a positive in a darker gray marble was inserted into the negative space. The light bulbs are flame shaped LED lights and the whole thing has been grouted into place and it was perfectly flat. There was no dimension to it at all and it really got me thinking.
LED technology is all over the place now and it often gets thrown into objects just because it’s new. That chandelier represents what I think is the best use of LED I’ve seen in ages. Who says that a light fixture can’t be part of the wall itself? And what could a real mosaic artist do with LEDs that the technical minds of a stone importer can’t? Everybody sees mosaics made with glass, smalti, stone and clay. Is there a place for a new material, light, in the world of fine art mosaics?
I’d love to see it.
Enjoy — Nancie