Image Image Image Image Image

* = required field

BOM: get the Best of Mosaic Art NOW

Keep up with what’s happening in the world of  contemporary mosaics on your own time by subscribing to The BOM.

The BOM is a weekly digest showcasing three MAN articles and the top five tweets of the week. Sign up below and  The BOM will show up in your email inbox every Sunday at noon Pacific Standard Time.

We hate spam, too, so we won’t share your information with anyone else and guarantee that The BOM will be the only time you’ll hear from us – unless, of course, something really great comes up.

Scroll to Top

To Top

10

Feb
2011

This Article appears in:

Artists
Et cetera

Read the comments:

6 Comments

Riding the Peacock: Sara Baldwin and New Ravenna

On 10, Feb 2011 | 6 Comments | In Artists, Et cetera | By man-admin

Peacocks have long been a recurring theme in the creative life of Sara Baldwin and her extraordinary, award-winning, mosaic-making enterprises, New Ravenna Mosaics and Sara Baldwin Design.

New Ravenna’s logo inspiration  The Navigation of Venus,  Bardo Museum

For Baldwin, peacocks are almost a totem.  “Peacocks are an important part of our culture here at New Ravenna.  When I decided I needed a logo, the designers brought a dozen options; Tunisian mosaics, mosaics of Roman Africa.  I wanted an element of fantasy in my logo.  Something that would immediately say, ‘Anything is possible! Why not ride the peacock?!’”

Why not, indeed?

Why not fall in love with mosaics while walking through the Met as a graduate painting student?  Why not start making mosaics on the floor of your family’s living room and then pitch your parents on the idea that you could make a living making these things?  Why not tote your baby on your hip while sourcing materials from industrial tile stores? Why not jump into your car with a cardboard box full of samples, plant yourself at the concessions area at Coverings and start taking orders?  Why not grow those samples into a multi-million dollar mosaic business, collaborate with some of the world’s top designers, employ almost 100 employees and have tons of fun doing it?

One of Baldwin’s first mosaics, a reproduction of a Roman mosaic.

Baldwin and her company have been featured in every major design magazine and several business magazines as well.  Her work is exquisite in both design and execution – often employing labor intensive methods to create works of art that are highly sought after by interior designers and home owners.  While interviewing Baldwin last week, we were struck by what a fascinating human being she is.  In this post, we’ll let images of her mosaics speak for themselves and spend our words telling the story of this most amazing woman.

Peacock Feathers  Stained glass panel 30 x 84″

Baldwin learned about possibilities from her father.  “My father made us do crazy things when we were kids.  He’d say, ‘Why can’t we make bayberry candles?  I’ll tell you, you have to pick a lot of bayberries to make a candle and the first time we tried it, it didn’t work at all.  Then we found out you had to add beeswax; we did it all over again and it worked!  Then it was on to ‘Why can’t we make maple syrup?’”

Raj   Honed and polished marble.

While the peacock stands for possibilities, it is that every day magic called synergy that Baldwin believes propels her life forward.   Synergy is often defined as:  “The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects”*  When Baldwin isn’t looking for synergy, she’s creating it.

“When I think about mosaics the concept of synergy immediately comes to mind.  You start out with small, individual pieces and create something much bigger and more wonderful by putting them together. 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 10!”  We asked for examples.

Eddies Marble
Sara’s Synergy Example #1:  Remember that industrial tile store mentioned earlier?  It was an American Olean (now owned by DalTile) shop in South Philadelphia in 1990.   Young son on her hip, Baldwin asks the nice men behind the counter for two feet of this and two feet of that and oh, what should she use to cut them?
Rubrik  Stained glass
It was odd enough that the two countermen were kind enough to climb up ladders to break open cases of tile (the usual sales unit) to get what Baldwin needed.  Odder still is that one of the men behind that counter was Renato Odorico – of the famed French mosaic-making family who created some of that country’s most iconic art deco mosaics. (MAN July 2009).  In a time when there was virtually no literature available on making mosaics, Baldwin walks into a neighborhood tile store and finds a world-class mosaic mentor.  (Odorico is now a high level executive with DalTile)

Natasha  Stained glass

Sara’s Synergy Example #2: “One night, at a small backyard evening party in the coastal town of Cape Charles, a friend of mine announced that she’d always wanted to be in an all-girl band and perform before she turned 40.  Despite the fact that nobody knew how to play even one instrument, four of us laughingly volunteered to help her achieve her goal.  I’d always wanted to play bass guitar so this was the perfect excuse–and over the course of the next few months we learned seven songs which we played at a party for Sheri’s 40th birthday!

Two weeks later we played at a harbor party in Cape Charles and over 300 people showed up.”

Jacqueline Vine  Waterjet cut and tumbled Thassos.
Sara’s Synergy Example #3:  “At New Ravenna, we function as a synergistic organization.  The people I work with are my hands and my brain.  We all work together, using each other’s strengths.  I have three women, Danielle LaBreck, Cean Irminger and Marcie McComb, who work with me in a design capacity.  They do the research and development for our line designs and when we get a custom order, they’ll do the renderings and samples for clients to consider.  Every single person who works here brings something vitally important to our success.  Miss shipping an order?  You lose a client.  Our business is built on relationships.”
 Simone sample.  Based on a rug design by James Duncan.  Waterjet cut stained glass.
As we said before, when Baldwin isn’t discovering synergy, she’s creating it.  Take the case of the incredible photo you see below featuring Twitter the Fawn.  Twitter came to work one day with Kathy Cummings, “our mounting and grouting goddess”, who fosters wild animals in her home.  The beautiful creature was uncharacteristically peaceful lying on New Ravenna samples (could it be that pattern soothes the savage beast?) and Baldwin had just become far more handy with a camera so . . . Voila!  Mosaic magic is made.
Baldwin has even created a line of mosaic art panels called Synergy.  She describes it as ” . . . a collection of signature mosaics inspired by enduring friendships, shared visions, and collaborative relationships with renowned designers hailing from Manhattan to Mustique.”  You can see the gorgeous catalog here.
Recently, Baldwin got up close and personal with a camel in the UAE.  How did that happen?  This time it’s synchronicity, but we’ll let her tell you that story on her blog.
Enjoy –  Nancie
More:

Share this article

Comments

  1. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    Sadly, Zoe, I'll miss it. Have a wonderful time!

  2. Zoe

    Great article! Thank you for pointing me to it.
    Will you attend Coverings, Nancie? I'd love to meet you!

  3. Sara Baldwin

    Words cannot express how grateful we all are at New Ravenna for support like this! Thanks so much Nancie for the amazing work you do that benefits all of us crazy mosaic artists.

  4. Maureen

    I've visited New Ravenna's site in the past and just filled up on the beauty it offers. Stunning work indeed.

Adams.jpgAndrea Sala & Giulia Alecci "Co-musivo" 2013  VideoHouston.jpgJim_Bachor_This_is_not_a_craft_2010_11inx14insara.jpgWebb_Bryant Patio RaysMohamed Banawy  "City 1" 2011  49 x 49 cm  Clay, glass, cement.Luca Barberini Bone Flowersandres_basurto_large08.jpgBeauchamps-SeasonofSunandwind-2AprilBegayhungry-for-gold-320x312Jolino_Bessera_DontCutYourTongueOnTheRhinestonesMarie-laure-BessonFragmentsIVBiggsTide6272969822_38f84a7e5f_z.jpgMeredith Live Oak bark, recycled tempered glass, paint, metallic powders39.jpgMangere+Mosaic.jpgGerardBrandGerstheim2014JesusJo BraunMarco_Bravura_Recuperi_d'_OroSunflowers+smalti+unglazed+ceramic+63+x+48+cm.jpgLilian_Broca_Queen_Esther_Revealing_Her_True_IdentityCarl&SandraBryantCaco3+movimento+n7full.jpgPixel_Context_Pixel_TributeToNicanorParra_2014_150x200cm (3)Photo:  APLaura Carraro "Breath" 2013  123 x 40 cm.  Stones, marble, tile, silicone tubing, PVC, inverted mirror.  Photo courtesy MARRaffaella Ceccarossi "Emerging" 2013 37 x 140 x 12 cm  Smalti and marble.mail-2.jpgCharny Birds in Hair 1000LChinn ArabesqueRamblings_for_sending_copy12.jpgSergio Cicognani Untitled 82 x 90cm  Marble, smalti, fresco paintingSelf-Portrait, 2004-2005 102 x 86Clough.jpgBiggs_and_CollingsRebecca_Collins_StrengthToStrength_2011Luca_Carlo_Colomba_4552.jpgKeKe Cribbs "Casa PapaDoble"  Photo from the artist's Facebook page.DSCN0270.JPGCzapracki.jpgJeanAnn Dabb "Assay 1: Delamar" 2012  20 in. diameter  Bone ash cupels, ceramic crucibles, glass, porcelain.  In the background:  "Core:  Tintic District"  2012  Triptych 70 x 13 in panels.  Stone core samples, ceramic, smalti, woodAndrea Deszö  "Community Garden"  2006Julie_Dilling_Keep_Me_WarmDimit.jpgKatrina Doran  Noli Me TangereGary Drostle, 2010 "Movement and Vitality" DetailDrouin.jpgErcolani.jpgFaileSizeVisionMosaic.jpgneda-600x400.jpgRosanna FattoriniCynthia Fisher  "To Everything There Is A Season, Summer"  2011  25 x 33 in.  vitreous glass, stained glass, smalti, stone, unglazed porcelain, broken pottery, marble, mirror glass, groutSara Frost "Querty" Detail  Photo: via Colossal.comBenedetta Galli "We Are The 99" 2013 140 x 200 cm  Photos and silicone on canvas.Giovanna Galli (France)5pods.jpgRed+Pods.jpgLarry_M_Levine.jpgGoode.jpgElaine M Goodwin Touching ParadiseRoberta Grasso "Memory of a Dream" 2012  460 x 230 cm  Silicon, smalti, ceramic glass, organza, tulle.Jhgreen_wall.jpgfull.jpgErika+full.jpgYakov Hanansen "Brain" 36 x 36 in. Hand-made ceramic tesserae, porcelain, smalti.Hanansen_GRS_framed_2000Hisao Matsuo "Don't Tell What Was Seen In The Woods" 24 x 35"Kim Jae Hee "Corea del Sud" (Uncomfortable House) 2010 40 x 40 cm Nails & felt  Photo courtesy MARProgressonIII Rhonda HeislerIMG_1199.jpgLaura Hiserote "No Time To Be Koi"  DetailSamantha Holmes "Absensce (Moscow)" 2012  260 x 150 cm  Marble, smalti, ceramic glass, gold.hubbell-intro.jpgTessa_Hunkin_Varieties_PeakingDog_PhotoTHHutchinson_Tango_Corto1Iliya Iliev  "Sesif"  2010  70x120cm diptych.  Stones, glassMombasa.jpgPamela Irving "Mr. Logomania" 2013 (Australia)Iskander+Impromptu-in-Blue+2000.jpgKate Jessup "Tense Twinships" 2012  36x52 in.  Glass, wood, thinset, stone, found objectsjones-time-for-lunch-1000Francien Jongsma Simonemichaelferris.jpgZhanna Kadyrova "Diamonds" 2006  Variable. Cement, tile.Kaitis.jpgVadzim Kamisarau "The Main News 3"  2012  50 x 95 cm  Cement, smaltikenawy-memories-full1Keren.jpgKate_KerriganWalkingInRainMatko_KezleInki-400-bimg-kii-blue-grids-in-blue-big.jpgPermafrost+King.jpgAndrej-Koruza-Structured-1-2011-Detailkozachek+Three+Intruding+Fanatics.jpgMichael_Kruzich_SylvesterKazumi Kurihara "Il Libro Legge" (The book reads) 2011 (Japan)Melaine_Lenoelevy-a-man-in-a-waiting-room-300dpi-1000Bett Ann Libby "China Leaf Tea" 2006  13 x 13 x 10 in.  Photo:  David CarasMarco De Luca "La Morte di Ofelia" 2003 123 x 183 x 3 cmLucas.jpgSager.jpgdragonflycompleteMonica_Machado_The_Clothes_Line_2000_260cmCorde-à-linge-Monica-Machado-détailstone-circle-dugald-macinnesMohamad Banawy "Abstract 3" 2010 80 x 80 cm  Clay, glass.MAN2009-Marzi-foto.jpgEaster_Egg_Mosaic_02.jpgAnadoMcLaughlinru paul2.pngHildreth_MeiereCathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Drinking deer mosaic on northJeroenMeijerMaterNostra2008"More American Gifts:  Grenades"  2005  5.5 x 3.9 x 3.5 in  Ceramic, porcelain, plaster, wire, metal, cement adhesive, grout.the rainJason Middlebrook "Brooklyn SeedsFlaking paint on wooden door, Perthshire, Scotland. Photo: Helen Miles MosaicsAndrea Deszö  "Community Garden"  2006Julian_Modica_zappa.jpgMosaic RhinocerosLynnMoorPipgtailGirlBOMIMG_6541.jpgJinette+Mosaique.jpgMosaïzm "Gallaxiam" 2013 Detail  Photo courtesy MARCleo Mussi "Mind"  2012Silvia_Naddeo-Transition-2012Megumi-Naitoh-4192010-detail-Michael-WelchFamiliarGroundNewton Serenity 2FelicesBalls_4546.jpg8419_1251766378980_1374130919_703135_1818425_n.jpg"Cerulean Rendesvous" Carole Choucair-Oueijan 53.5 x 45 in.    Smalti, 24 karat gold smalti, cristallino, marble, granite111_0424.jpgFamiliarGroundNiki_de_Saint_Phalle_Tarot_Garden114Picasso.TeteFauveSergio-Policicchio-Corpi-celesti-2011"Dama-Dama" (2014) 1385 x 1165 cm.Elena Prosperi "Wakan-Tanka" 2013  60 x 198 cm  Tiffany glass, glass metal leaf, stones, feathers.Allan Punton "The Three Doges" 2014 Inspired by a ghost story by Alberto Toso FeiRebecca+detail.jpgAndjelka Radojevic  My Little ChickadeeGila+Rayberg+Morning+After.jpgSonya Louro do Rego "Fall" 2011 150 x 50 x 25 cm Shells and marble on wood and polystyrene  Photo: NTMP3312140193_3f2f0905ec.jpgNightshirt-Richey.jpegMo-Ringey-Stools-2004Faith Ringgold "Flying Home:  Harlem Heroes and Heroines (Downtown and Uptown)" 1996  Photo via MTA Arts for Transitdiego_rivera1-320x160Anna Rommel "Green Fish"clug romaniaAndrea Sala & Giulia Alecci "Co-musivo" 2013  VideoRuth_Minola_Scheibler_nightflight_024"x4"Peter Rabbit & fence Beatrix Pottermedium_Reminiscence.jpgWINDSTILL+1.jpgGino-Severini-Church-of-St-Mark-Cortona-Mosaic-wiki-cropIlana Shafir WhirlBeneath+1.jpgmail.JPGVox+Sizemore.JPG100_5652.jpgJasna SokolovicSollinger+Old+Growth+2000.jpgCarol Stirton-Broad "From My Sister's Garden #3" 2013 3.5 x 10.5 inPam Stratton "Twin Lights"Hisao Matsuo "Don't Tell What Was Seen In The Woods" 24 x 35"Carol Talkov "What's Inside" 2012  14 x 17 x 4tavonatti+4+close+up.jpgKathy Thaden  The VisitCynthia Toops "Wolf and Dog" 2012 2.75 x 2.75 x .25 in. Plymer clay, sterling silver metalwork by Chuck Domitrovich  Photo:  Michael WelchBrooks Tower "No Pants"  2004  24 x 14 in.Matylda Tracewska "Untitled" 60 x 48 cm. Marble and paint.Matylda Tracewska "Black Square III"  2011  80 x 80 x 4 cm.  Marble, smalti.Crack+true.jpgTunick_07_1Federico UribeVital CU 02vortex+close+up.jpgennisHouse_1428291c.jpgIsaiah Zagar    Photo WikipediaAleksey Zhuchov "Still Life With Bottles" 2012  50.5 x 47 cm  Natural and artificial stone, smalti.