Starting today, you can bid on the gorgeous mosaic above at www.biddingforgood.com and – should you be the lucky high bidder – you will be supporting the important, humanitarian work of Doctors Without Borders–Medecins Sans Frontieres.
In fact, there are over 125 mosaics for you to choose from in the DWB-MSF Auction, each an original work designed and donated by a mosaic artist and curated by the seemingly indefatigable, Lin Schorr of Lin Schorr Mixed Mosaics.
If we were ever in need of an Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove to get something huge done, we would speed dial Schorr. The DWB–MSF project is just the latest in her personal history of coordinating large, complex projects that harness the energy, artistry and heart of the international mosaic community to the benefit of others. Because of Schorr’s rigorous planning and artistic vision, the results are always beautiful. Be sure to look at Schorr’s previous projects here.
20 x 20 cm Gold, goldstone, grès cérame
Under the Same Moon Kelly Knickerbocker (USA)
For each of us there is a place where we have been, where we are at the present, or that we are looking for that is where we feel most relaxed, safe, and free. Whether that place is an empty beach, a dusky hillside, a seat beside the fire, or the still point within, we all look for it – and we will all find it – under the same moon.
This mosaic especially made for the Doctors Without Borders Exhibition stylizes the organization’s helpful connections around the world and uses designs and materials from nature.
Atomic Wheel gets our prize for “Sheer Fun With a Timely Edge.” Robinson’s use of game pieces with the graphic structure of atoms has a distinct relevance given recent events in Japan.
The On-Line Auction Facts:
Auction closes at April 27, 2011, 5pm EDT
You will need to register with the site before you can see the mosaics which will be listed as DWB-MSF.
This month, The Tileista (aka JoAnn Locktov) introduces us to ceramic artist Susan Tunick, a woman who makes her own tesserae and uses it to glorious effect in her site-specific sculptures. No less engaging are her more architectural bricks and tiles. Enjoy – Nancie
Ceramic artist Susan Tunick has a penchant for scale and surface. All of her creations, site-specific sculptures, mosaic murals and individual bricks and tiles are testaments to architecture. The surfaces are intricately laced, lush in color and texture. Studying architectural ornamentation has given Tunick a heightened awareness of edges, shadows and context-both physical and historical.
Tunick was inspired to work spontaneously on her recent site-specific commission, Mt. Top Trio: Vert, Violet & Rouge. Located on a 600-acre Vermont farm, the land is fertile with wild flowers and grasses, pear, apple and plum orchards. These are three sculptures that provide permanent landscapes of color.
The sides of each organic shaped cedar sculpture are clad in ceramic tile.
Each side of clay bands was created at the same time to insure that they would shrink at the same rate and fit in their respective place. Tunick chose a completely new glazing method that allowed her to “build the colored surface from one firing to the next.” She allowed the color to evolve by glazing non-adjacent elements. By staggering the glazing, she could watch it blossom, a process Tunick compares to “the way a pointillist painting was created.”
There is a mesmerizing quality to the sculptures. The trio of forms reverberate color perhaps most vividly when seasons are harsh and nature is devoid of any strong hues.
Inspired by haystacks found throughout the countryside, Tunick says, “I didn’t want the shapes to be so symmetrical. Thus, I felt that adding curves and some type of opening in the center could work well. The tile bands reiterate the circular motion of the haystacks – around and around and around!”
On a smaller scale are Tunick’s perforated tiles and brick units. Both forms explore dimension. The perforated tiles are built with layers revealing surprising glimpses of pattern and depth. The perforations are witty reminders to both inspect and respect what lies beneath the facade.
Tunick explores the rectangular brick by forming them in wooden molds, stacking and carving them. Constructed of thick hollow backed slabs glazed in radiant colors, the pedestrian brick is elevated to iconic status.
Used throughout the world for thousands of years as a humble building material, Tunick has given reverence to the shape by invigorating the surface with color and texture. The bricks vary in depth, creating shadows in their concave spaces and staggered edges. Tunick’s bricks are investigations of architectural masonry in a way that Vitruvius could have never imagined.
As President of Friends of Terra Cotta, a preservation organization devoted to protecting historic and architectural ceramics, Tunick has studied clay in architecture for over 25 years. She is invested in “seeing ceramics re-integrated into our environment…into landscape, interiors and into the facades of new buildings.” Her work represents this evolution precisely.
“Tileista” is a monthly column that explores the beauty of artisan tile. JoAnn Locktov is the author of two books (Mosaic Art and Style, The Art of Mosaic Design) and numerous articles on contemporary mosaics. Her public relations firm Bella Figura Communications represents individuals and businesses in the visual and literary arts. Follow her musings on design, tile and Italy on Twitter:
To see previous posts by The Tileista on MAN, use the Search widget in the right hand column and type “Tileista”
Private commission for residence in Remuera, Auckland.
Today we’re posting Part Two of our look at the extraordinary pebble mosaics of New Zealand artist, John Botica. In Part One, we focused on Botica’s talents as an artist. Today, we’ll look at how he came to the art form, how he makes his large-scale installations, and see more of his passion for pebbles at work. Again, we’ll be quoting fellow mosaicist and New Zealander Con Kiernan who conducted extensive interviews with Botica in preparation for these posts. (click to enlarge)
Given the unique voice and technical excellence of Botica’s pebble mosaics, it is hard to believe that he has only been making them since 2004. He comes from a family of noted stone masons, but it wasn’t until his uncle noticed that Botica and his wife were doing tile mosaics that pebble mosaics came into his life. “My uncle put a book on the table and said, ‘John, you should be doing this stuff.’”
The book was “The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook” by the English grand dame of pebble mosaics, Maggy Howarth. “John never looked back,” says Kiernan “and now Maggy has included John’s work in the latest (2009) edition of her book.”
John is obsessive about the beauty of pebbles. Maggy Howarth says of John, “He gets excited about pebbles! Perhaps, this is the reason why his style is so remarkable for the sheer perfection of his pebblework, almost to the point of obsession.”
The range of pebble colors found in New Zealand’s alpine country and on its beaches are matchless.
They are colourful, very hard, quartz and, in some instances will not crack if placed in a heavily trafficked area. He is blessed with one of the best possible colour palettes in the world.
Botica also sources pebbles from Indonesia and China, but he is extremely selective about his tesserae. Says the artist, “Every single pebble that is laid is ingrained with the love and passion that I cherish towards this irresistible art.”
John says he has to had to turn down jobs because the client’s wishes exceed the palette that is available. However, John has a keen skill in being able to make full use of the available colours; especially when he details native images of New Zealand’s birds, trees and flora.
The Flat of the Pebble or the Edge?
John uses the edge of the pebble pointing upwards in his mosaic. While it means that he uses a lot more pebbles in each piece, he gets the benefit of flow and strength.
When stones are placed on the flat side, they lose their flow and the mosaic is robbed of its dynamic. They can also loosen and pop off.
Pebble Carpet, 2010 in situ
When they are inset on their edges, there is more concrete to hold them in place and the resulting work is able to withstand the rigors of traffic as seen in the Porte Cochere example seen above.
From Botica’s website:
This mosaic in progress of 3200mm X 2200mm depicts the Tui, the most fascinating bird of New Zealand that feeds in the spring time on nectar of Kowhai flowers that are depicted in this mosaic. Kowhai flower is the national flower of New Zealand and in Maori language it means yellow.
John works from home, out of the end of a shed, half exposed to the elements while constructing these precast slabs of concrete and pebble masterpieces. Each piece may weigh as much as 75kgs. His wife, Karin, assists when slabs must be shifted. John loves the masculinity of it; he is a strongly physical person and delights in using his strengths in a creative way.
Again, we are struck by the embroidery-like quality of Botica’s work. We cannot imagine what it takes to cull and select pebbles of the same color, let alone the same dimensions, so this effect is achieved.
Botica’s genius as a designer of pebble mosaics is stunningly evident in the mosaic shown above, Tane Mahuta, a commission for a school for the disabled based upon Maori mythology.
Tane Mahuta, the tree in the center of the medallion, is the the most famous tree in New Zealand; a giant Kauri said to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years old. For the Maori, Tane Mahuta is the lord of the forest and gives life to all the birds and insects.
Later, he becomes the Sun God, indicated by the golden orb in the center and the lines radiating from it to the outer edges of the medallion.
Tane Mahuta’s friend is Kereru – Maori for wood pigeon, the two beautiful birds at the bottom of the medallion.
Getting shapes of native images to their most reduced state as John does is, in itself, a significant skill. John’s sense of the mysticism surrounding these images helps him get to the very essence or heart of things. He’s not just dealing with smart looking objects. He’s showing the World of Nature as the human mind and heart have interpreted it. This has to be done with honesty and a willingness to let the real thing enter the artist’s soul. John gives it all he’s got.
We couldn’t agree more. That a Caucasian male could embrace the Maori and Polynesian lore and mythology so authentically is a wonder. Indeed, the core of his work has been public commissions centered around these themes. What we see is that Botica connects personally with the intent of each commission. The result is art work that is universally charismatic.
Let’s go to our second example of Botica’s remarkable design capabilities, Koru Land.
Look at how perfectly each one of these pebbles has been placed to create flow or andamento. (click to enlarge) So tightly and regularly are these stones laid that they resemble the fine, intricate needlework used to embroider the robes of ancient Chinese emperors.
And yet, the whole is simplicity itself – breathtaking in its elegant symmetry.
Maori blessing the installation of Koru LandSeptember 3, 2010.
Across the Cultures, 2007 3 meters diameter
Ponsonby’s Western Park
Here, the iconic motifs embellish a mosaic “bowl” with a brass drainage cover in the center that echos Botica’s design.
Mexico has a long tradition of mosaicked skulls, like the one of Tezcatlipoca seen above (currently housed at the British Museum). Dating from the 15th-16th century, this mosaic “is believed to represent the god Tezcatlipoca, or ‘Smoking Mirror’, one of four powerful creator deities, who were amongst the most important gods in the Mexica pantheon. The name ‘Smoking Mirror’ derives from the Nahuatl (Mexica) word tezapoctli, meaning ‘shining smoke’”
The ancient artisans who meticulously created this work scoured the farthest reaches of Mexica empire to collect the rare and beautiful turquoise, lignite, pyrite and shell used in it. Via both process and materials, this mosaic proclaims godliness and power.
Contrast Tezcatlipoca with the work of Mexican born artist Andres Basurto currently on display at the Lyons Wier Gallery in NYC.
Image: Courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York
. . . Basurto’s sculptures represent the essential and primitive human desire to preserve and hold life together with the inutile need to control death, making evident the fragility of our existence.
Mosaic Art NOW’s 2010 cover artist, Ann Gardner, is exhibiting new works at the Winston Wachter Gallery in Seattle, WA now through April 21st. Once again, we are enchanted by Gardner’s soulful, elegant and uplifting sculptural forms with meticulously mosaicked surfaces. Gardner has told MAN:
Whether I create a sculpture for a private or public commission, I am interested in the same issues: I want my work to elicit an emotional response, such as celebration, quietness or calm, and facilitate a connection to that response for the viewer.
In Points In Time, Gardner presents some works smaller in scope than her well-known architectural installations – she calls them Lyric Drawings. There is something achingly personal about about these mosaic “doodles.” It is as if Gardner is sending hand-written messages into space, letting light do the talking for her.
From the Winston Wacher website:
Winston Wächter Fine Art is also pleased to present Point in Time, our third solo exhibition with artist Ann Gardner. Northwest artist Ann Gardner is known for her unique sculptures that use hand cut, tinted and etched glass to create elegant mosaic-covered forms that challenge the physical boundaries of the medium. In Point in Time, Gardner continues her captivating exploration of light, volume and pattern with stunning results and an uncanny ability to capture a sense of movement and fluidity.
From an essay on the exhibit by art consultant Pablo Schugurensky:
The works in Ann Gardner’s current exhibition at Winston Wachter in Seattle, Point In Time, reflect her long exploration of light, volume, and pattern, revealing her mastery of those elements. She has pursued this exploration through various approaches and methods, creating sculptures that challenge or disregard their own physical boundaries, underscored by a keen use of contrasting color, for something she has called a “simple truth” – distilling the character of an artwork to its essence.
They appear to recede and protrude, suggesting a body much larger than the place each actually occupies. Gardner explores the dimension of light and reveals our perception of it, fragmenting and reconstituting it to affect our experience of space and how we occupy it.
A hanging sculpture, Drawing (light), which Gardner calls a “drawing” (as in drawing in space), presents her inquiry into the line and how it can gain character from bends and folds. The feeling of this sculpture is indeed that of a three-dimensional drawing, and its expression reminds the viewer of handwriting, a perception that is reinforced by the restrained and deliberate use of color and contrast. Suspended in air, this work’s voids become especially charged, with great resonance in the surrounding space.
Again, from the Winston Wachter website:
By focusing on the formal qualities and potential of her medium, Gardner is able to discover infinite possibilities within this seemingly limited framework. She applies mosaic tiling to create patterns, as well as uses the varying reflective and matte surfaces to experiment with fields of fluctuating color and light.Gardner explains, “My intention is to make work of presence and harmony from the intersection of three very simple elements: light, shape and color. When these elements play with the surface, I want them to reveal a complexity that changes as the day passes over the work.”
A large sculptural installation, Fuse, brings to mind Gardner’s ability to think big and understand scale – usually seen in her commissions for large public and private environments. Two arcs with suspended elements almost intersect to form a mesmerizing curtain.
This is Gardner’s gift. The ability to use shape, form and reflectivity to create universally engaging moments – or “Points” – In Time.
Our thanks to the artist and the photographer, Lisa Jacoby, for contributing to this post.
Enjoy –– Nancie
Ann Gardner: www.anngardner.net
Point in Time, Ann Gardner
Winston Wachter Fine Art
203 Dexter Avenue North
Previous MAN posts on Ann Gardner:
March 2, 2010 “Convergence”
October 26, 2010 “Lumen”
Thanks to Lisa Bookstein of Heath Ceramics, we are reminded of this video of Gary Drostle and his assistants, Giulia Vogrig, Julie Richey and Levente Borvak installing Drostle’s masterwork “River of Life” in the University of Iowa’s Wellness Center.
As noted earlier this week, River of Life just won the Tile/Letter Award from the National Tile Contracts Association in the Commercial mosaic/Glass category. In February, Drostle spoke about the project to a rapt audience at the Society of American Mosaic Artists conference in Austin, Texas.
The project is also featured in the 2011 edition of Mosaic Art NOW, soon to be available online. Correspondent Julie Richey wrote several posts during the production and installation of Drostle’s works for the MAN blog. Links to previous posts are below the video. Enjoy –– Nancie
For our Facebook folks, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JSCpWPyOqg
April 25, 2010 “River of Life”
May 2, 1010 “It’s All About the Andamento”
May 5, 2010 “Tweaking Gary Drostle’s River of Life”
June 13, 2010 “Greetings from Iowa City”
July 26, 2010 “The Path to Great Mosaic Design”
The Society of American Mosaic Artists’ (SAMA) Mosaic Arts International (MAI) at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in Austin, Texas is simply the best exhibit that the organization has ever produced.
The mosaics selected serve as excellent ambassadors for the art form. Kudos to jurors JeanAnn Dabb, Professor of Art History at the University of Mary Washington, Nola Diamantopoulos, President of the Mosaic Art Association of Australia, and Jean Graham of Austin Art in Public Places for a job extremely well done. With 42 works, this show is smaller than past MAIs. However, what was lost in numbers was certainly gained in the quality of the exhibit.
|Photo courtesy of Ed Kinsella|
The venue is exquisite and – hallelujah – has a lighting scheme that seems custom-made for mosaics. Texture, relief, reflectivity, and luminosity are captured by both natural and incandescent light. MACC’s curators and the SAMA Exhibit Committee should also take a bow. Hurry, because this show will run only through March 30, 2011. (Can we do this again?)
36″ x 56″ Stained glass
“La Corrente is an elegant sculpture expertly executed in traditionally durable mosaic materials with imagery that comments on the fragile ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. Richey’s recent sculptures have clothing or dress forms as shared structures and the environments referenced in their individual subjects range from the rural to the urban; all linked by the actions of humans and the forces of nature.”
Eternity Revisited 2010 Kimberly Schonfeld
33″ x 33″ x 18″
24K Colored gold smalti.
The mosaic sculpture was created when a mobius form that had been playing in my mind for several years merged with the body-mind-spirit philosophy of the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer center at Providence Saint Joseph Center where it now resides.
This is a striking piece and we can only imagine what it looks like in person as natural light catches the richness of the colored gold smalti and sets the work to shimmering and vibrating.
Schonfeld used a single, continuous red-orange line to signify eternal life. Subtle. Gorgeous.
That works, too.
Editors Note: After the original publishing of this post, Ms. True contacted us with additional information on this work:
Sakre, (Sacred) Design inspired by African house painting and decorative patterns used on household objects. The simple, rhythmic repetition of pattern references comfort, beauty and sacredness imbued in our differing concepts of home and the objects we live with – however temporary.
Anita is the first in a series of seven San Francisco Drag personalities that I am rendering in mosaic to celebrate and honor their heroic charity work on behalf of our local LGBT community.