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Putting MAN to Bed

On 26, Mar 2015 | 49 Comments | In Uncategorized | By Nancie


Dear Friends of MAN,

When Bill Buckingham asked me to join him and his partner, Michael Welch, in producing a magazine called Mosaic Art NOW in 2008, I had no idea that my “yes” would be the beginning of a 7-year love affair with artists from around the world.

The goal of Mosaic Art NOW (MAN) has always been to inspire, promote and publicize the work of great mosaic artists.  From its beginnings as an annual magazine that sold 2,000 copies, MAN morphed into a website with over 150,000 pages accessed a year, a Newsletter with over 5,500 subscribers and a Facebook page with over 22,000 followers.  Oh – and then there is all that Twitter and Pinterest stuff.  Wowza.

In building MAN, I have had the great good fortune to be supported by a generous group of artists, writers and scholars. Because of them, now has a huge and eclectic body of content that respectfully and professionally represents the best in mosaic art. Nobody got paid, except with my sincere and eternal gratitude.

Many of you supported MAN financially with annual Subscriptions and Donations via PayPal. You should know that every dime you sent felt like a giant “atta girl” and often came at times when I really needed the encouragement.

And LATICRETE – those lovely people who support mosaic artists and organizations with terrific products and crucial donations – when what the mosaic community buys from them probably constitutes just one skinteenth of their annual sales – they’ve been financially supportive of MAN as well.

You’ve probably guessed by now that the preceding was a build up to some sort of change at MAN . . .  so here ‘tis.

I am going to stop creating new content for MAN. The website will live on for at least a year as will the Facebook page, but both will become more archive than periodical.  I will be beefing up the Pinterest account with photos from the website and will continue to maintain MANTV on YouTube, but the Newsletter will also be no more.

It is time for me to do other things. Time to get out into the garden. Time to get out from behind the computer. Time to maybe make a few mosaics. Time to pet the ever-patient husband and doople. To everything there is a season and for me the Season of MAN is over.

If I have any regrets, it is that I have not been as successful as I would have liked in engaging the interest of influencers from the art and design worlds in our beloved medium. This is, I believe, mosaic’s greatest challenge. Just doing the work and sharing it amongst ourselves is simply not enough to create a world where great mosaic artists can receive the attention they deserve and then build the careers that will sustain them. I wish I had been a better publicist.

And then there all of those extraordinary artists whose work should be on the website and is not. Yes, their absence on the website definitely constitutes a second regret.

I expect severe withdrawals in the next few weeks, but have to admit that the idea of an inbox without 10 Google Search Alerts to wade through (do you have ANY idea of how many ways the word “mosaic” is used these days???) every morning sounds like heaven.

Be forewarned –  I am not disappearing from the mosaic scene. I am still imminently available for foreign intrigue, exhibit openings with free food, challenging curating gigs or any opportunity to offer an opinion – of which I am always in great supply.  A housekeeping note:  if If you are one of the terrific human beings who Subscribed to MAN via PayPal, please go to that website and delete MAN from your autopay schedule.

I have no idea of how to say thank you, dear Friends of MAN, except to do just that. You have and always will have a very large chunk of my heart.

Class dismissed.  Now, go make art!

Nancie Mills Pipgras

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  1. caroline jariwala

    Dearest Nancie – What can I say that hasn’t been said by the lovely mosaic artists above! I am going to REALLY miss the fine articles and informative presentations of many contemporary artists. You’re dedication is unparalleled. You have upheld the Mosaic Cause and given modern mosaic a standard bearer. I wish there were more folks like you in the Art World to champion our creative mosaic obsessions(in a good way!!)
    Wishing you great joy, peace and happiness!

    • Dear Caroline – Who knows? Perhaps I’ll come up with some new and exciting way to promote mosaics! Thank you so much for your thoughts and appreciation. It means a great deal.

  2. Adriana Mufarrege

    Nancie: It`s hard for me to explain to you what MAN has meant to me. As someone new in mosaic, and living in a country with no tradition in it nor established institutions providing a formal training in it, MAN has been a window to show me what mosaic art is.
    As I haven´t visited here for a while, this news is a surprise to me. The job that you’ve done is terrific. You’ll be missed a lot. So this website will remain for nearly a year? So shall I have to read it all in a year??? Or should I save every page of it?
    I really don`t know if I`ll be in Germany 2016 Intervention. But if I do, I`ll be glad to meet you.
    Best regards from Argentina.

    • Dear Adriana – Your words have touched me very deeply. You have validated everything that Bill Buckingham and I set out to do with MAN. I am planning on joining the Intervention in 2016, so here’s hoping we can raise a glass or two together then. All good fortune and – keep making. Nancie

  3. Jane Pettit

    Nancy, You made great headway helping those of us inside as well as those outside the mosaic community to see the art form potential of mosaics. You strategically focused your energies to that end. I can’t wait to see what you create. My MAN cap is off to you for all you did for so many. Jane

    • Grazie, bella. Mille grazie.

  4. Lilian Broca

    As usual, I come late to hear or read the latest news on the Internet. And this IS BIG NEWS! Like everyone else, I will miss your extensive research to bring us the latest and the best in mosaics as well as your intelligent comments peppered with clever humour; but I rejoice to hear you are going back to creating art and to engage in loving activities.
    I wish you joy and happiness in this new phase in your life my dear friend Nancie! And I hope we can still visit in the near future!

    • You know what they say, Lilian – one door closes and another one opens. I’m really rather excited about creating a creative void in my life. Who knows what will come rushing in! And I will definitely take you up on your offer of hospitality. I’d love to spend more time with you and David. Warmest regards – Nancie

  5. Danette

    I will personally miss the articles, pictures and inspiration! Each and every time, no matter the hour, I could access the wonderful world of mosaics by typing Mosaic Art Now. Feeling a little down and needing some inspiration, I could always find it on your site. Thank you for you dedication these past 7 years. Your heart is calling you to try something new! For those of us who love mosaics, we are forever thankful that you created Mosac Art Now. I agree with George…”The sweat equity you’ve invested, the seeds planted – all will come to fruition over time.” With gratitude Danette Polglase

    • Dear Danette, You are EXACTLY who MAN was created for — and it’s not going away. It’s just sleeping. All that lovely content is still there for your inspiration 24-7. Thank you for your words of gratitude. People like you made it all worthwhile! nancie

  6. Margy Cottingham

    Nancy, I regret that I didn’t support MAN as much as I could have…should have. I was in awe and appreciation of the work you did to further this wonderful medium and must say your work to promote us beyond ourselves was not lost on me. I couldn’t agree more that we must go beyond the mosaic community in order to propel this art form into the realm of the fine arts. The gigantic effort you Bill and Michael made to break Mosaic Art out of the minor art form classification shows just how hard it is going to be. Rest assured, you did your part for sure! Thank you for your work, your continued engagement, your intelligence and your honesty.

    • Margy, you support contemporary mosaic every time you sit down to work in your studio! Thank you so much for the acknowledgement. I don’t think I’m done yet – but this is definitely an end to a chapter. Big hugs, Nancie

  7. Helen nock

    MAN does what it says on the box for mosaic as a contemporary and expressive art form. It will remain on the virtual library of mosaic art…and art..long into the future. I only make it, not spend all my waking hours eating, sleeping and breathing it. Yes, time to follow your heart …and before you get any wrinkles.


    • Ha! Helen, the wrinkles are already there, I’m afraid! And from what I see, you eat, sleep and breathe mosaic yourself! Thank you from my heart, Nancie

  8. Miriam Bastisch

    Nancie, I am so sad to hear that! It was surely also due to this wonderful, inspiring website that I quit my job and started making mosaics. Your beautifully written and rich articles have shown me the wide mosaic field out there only waiting for us to be explored and shared.

    I was and still am in shock when I read this news this morning and bet many MAN followers are. From the very beginnings of my blog, I felt deeply connected to you as a writer and your aim to bring the arte musiva to a broader audience. But I also know how demanding this job can be and truly appreciate each and every hour you invested in this website and its related platforms. (I always asked myself where you find the time to pick all those pictures and interesting articles you posted on Facebook and laughed a lot when I read your sentence above about scanning all those alerts on the topic “mosaic”.) I fully understand your choice of putting MAN to sleep and dedicate yourself to what is on your mind, but have to say that I feel sleepy knowing that this veritable source of information is now covering under a warm sheet.

    I am more than sure, though, that we will hear from you and see you in the spots where MANkind meets! Wishing you all the best for your personal and professional projects,


    • Miriam – You are another artist whose friendship has been one of MAN’s gifts to me. I so admire your leap of faith into Spilimbergo and wish I had your incredible video editing skills! You have inspired ME. Who knows – we may work on a project together someday! Thank you so much for your lovely thoughts. See you in Ravenna!

  9. Jeroen Meijer

    Dear dear Nancy! Your brave decision came not as a surprise, but I am still a little bit shocked! You did your work so well, with so much love and commitment on something that was not there before and was desperately needed; the MAN ! Therefore the (wo)MAN will be missed!

    I am very proud of the posts we made together and they realy made a great difference for me and my cariere and your advices always kept/will keep me sharp.

    It’s just another fase and not the end, and besides you became family to me and Buba!

    Thanks and have fun (with your MEN), Jeroen

    • Jeroen – My friendship with you and Buba is one of the great gifts that MAN has given me. And I am so, so happy that your work lives on the website. You are right, it is not an end – just the beginning of another phase for me. I truly believe that opening up this space in my life is going to bring new things – probably mosaic!

      Much love to you both – Nancie

  10. Carolyn Wagner

    Thank you for your commitment to this visual and intellectual treat. Your curation and writing will be missed.

    • Carolyn – I so appreciate your comment. Perhaps my curation and writing will find new outlets? All the best – Nancie

  11. Yulia Hanansen

    Dear Nancie,
    I have to say that this news struck me with full strength. I am going to have terrible MAN withdrawals for a long time and that’s all because of a fantastic job that you have been doing- hunting down the latest and the best of mosaic news, writing great articles, and making people talk about mosaics. Your contribution to the mosaic world has been invaluable and it serves as a staple of a mosaic review and appreciation. I enjoyed every article you’ve written and published and I am sure to go back to the archives and read on and on.
    I want to express my HUGE THANK YOU AND GRATITUDE to all the work that you have been doing for MAN!!! You are a great master of word and a great speaker for the mosaic artists.
    I am sure we will keep in-touch, especially via Facebook. For now- happy spring, and happy mosaicing. One last thing- how do we come up with the correct spelling for “mosaicing” (or is it with the “k”)?

    • Dearest Yulia – We’ll always have Philadelphia! 🙂 Thank you so much. Nancie

  12. Kelley Knickerbocker

    Oh MAN, Nancie, what a change! I will miss what has been a constant touchstone since my mosaic “birth”. I’m so grateful for all you have dug up, shared, promoted, critiqued and showcased lo these many years, and I know I’ll continue to refer to your archives. But from my studio I high five you and concur – nay, celebrate – wholeheartedly with your forward movement. Make, woman, make!

    • I’ll take that high five you and see you ten days without a Google Alert! I actually just spent a whole day Making a mosaic at Heath Ceramics – and boy does my palm hurt. What fun.

  13. Carol SHELKIN

    You have helped us open the doors in Philadrlphia and show a variety of mosaic techniques that others in our big city haven’t seen. Your voice was heard here when you juried our exhibition and showed what mosaic is TODAY!. I wish you all the best and thank you for your unbridled passion!

    • Thanks, Carol! I still can’t thank you enough for the wonderful opportunity to jury/curate Shattered Expectations at the Magic Gardens. I am totally available for a repeat performance!

  14. Richard Davis

    Nancie, I will really miss MAN and all the great mosaic news you have provided all of us over the years. I will also miss the great feeling I got when Detective Davis found a mosaic site in which you were interested. (Wowza) However, I know you will enjoy being back in the studio, out in the garden, and tramping the mosaic travel trail. Good Luck

    • Thank you, dear heart. You are a true “Mosaic Head” and I am grateful for every link you’ve sent. Don’t stop now! There’s always the MAN Channel on YouTube!

  15. JoAnn Locktov

    Your singular intelligent, passionate, and provocative voice will be missed. You have done more to advance the “state” of mosaics than any other advocate. I believe you’ve created a legacy of what comprises mosaic art, and your valuable archives will be enjoyed by those wanting to understand.
    You can take the girl out of MAN, but I dare you to take the mosaics out of NT.
    To be discussed….
    With much love and gratitude,

    • Prosecco required for that conversation, friend. Thank you from my heart.

  16. Jolino Beserra

    A big “Thank You” for all you have done to encourage and enrich our lives. Personally you have opened so many doors into the vast world of ancient and modern mosaics and the artists who strive to create them. I have been fortunate to be making my living as a mosaic artist and have always been encouraged and inspired by your stories and pics. It must be a relief to only have to put one man to bed now! All the best with your new adventures.

    • Jolino – who brings “joy-wherever-he-goes” – I so appreciate your kind words. Grout on!

  17. George Fishman

    Nancie, you’ve written today with the same clarity, warmth, thoughtfulness and elegance that you’ve brought to every MAN story, but I know that the well of emotion must be almost overwhelming. BIG change, but big reward too. The sweat equity you’ve invested, the seeds planted – all will come to fruition over time. And you’ll be freer to enter those mosaic-embellished doors you’ve left ajar, now unencumbered by the unrelenting heavy lifting you’ve taken on with such dedication. You’ve kinda echoed your hero and mentor, Bernice Steinbaum, who said about her ‘retirement,’ “Don’t worry, I’m not going away!”

    There is certainly a void now left to be filled, and noONE can take your place, but hopefully you’ve inspired enough others to chip in – by means yet to be seen – to continue your big project roject of getting mosaic art the recognition it deserves. But mosaics have a millennial (as in thousands of years, not 30-something “kids”) history of respect and obscurity, and the roller is still coasting.

    Gratifyingly, the talent pool has grown dramatically during your years of advocacy – and will continue to. And advocating for artists who are “simply” making potent work has always been at the core of MAN’s mission. True, university art departments haven’t significantly incorporated mosaics into their curricula, and the International Art World hasn’t found its “rock star” protagonist, (the design world is more on board, connecting with the int’l mosaic manufacturers, showrooms and fairs).

    And public art programs recognize both the beauty and practicality of the medium – from Brazil and Chile to South Africa, Russia, India and the far east – all places, besides North America and Europe, whose artists you’ve promoted! Private schools and classrooms are thriving, new books appear and the internet is connecting practitioners globally. As you said, MAN’s archive will continue to enrich all these spheres!

    Now, more time for play. I love and thank you.

    • George, you were there at the beginning and have always, always been a wonderful source of inspiration yourself. You are a gentleman and a scholar. See you in Ravenna!

  18. Katy Galbraith

    enjoy your computer-limited time out, enjoy the garden & the seasons & the husband & etc etc

    And if you are looking for foreign travel with a token element of mosaic, feel free to visit me in Scotland – and I hope to still enjoy your company at future BAMM Forums!

    • Katy – you are on! I’ll be there!

  19. Laura Carraro and Mohamed Chabarik

    Dear Nancie,
    thinking of you , the word “intensity” comes to my mind. Your passion in writing and sharing about mosaic was so strong! and you did it in a very brilliant and beautiful way, unknown to the world of mosaic before.
    We’re sure you’ll put the same intensity with anything you’ll do in the future.
    (Reading the news at first was shocking! but we understand you choice)
    So, thank you.
    And see you in Italy next time 😉

    Laura & Mohamed

    • Dear friends – Meeting you two in Udine in 2013 was a total delight.Let’s call it a mutual admiration society and meet in Ravenna!

  20. Laura Carraro & Mohamed Chabarik

    Dear Nancie,
    when I think of you, the word “intensity” comes to my mind. Your passion in writing and sharing mosaic was moving… and you did it in a wonderful way, unknown before in mosaic world.
    We’re sure you’ll put the same intensity in anything you’ll do in the future.
    (what a surprise reading this news! The first feeling was sadness, but we also understand your choice)
    Thank you. And see you the next time in Italy;)
    Laura & Mohamed

  21. Isidora Paz López

    Dear Nancie, i am one of the artists that will be grateful to you the whole life. Have the privilege of be under your view was a real honor. Nobody could describe better than you all what is relative to mosaic!
    You have a wonderful talent as a writer. Your sensibility, knowledge and passion for this technique makes you the best “Mosaic Hunter” of our times. An expert, an eminence in the mosaic art!
    Thanks to the articles that you have done about my mosaic work in Chile that i got the attention of many people. You help me to grow as an artist and thanks to this i could organize the 1st International Mosaic Intervention! (THANKS!). I know that i am just one link more in the chain of miracles pro-mosaic that you have generated…and also i know that the impulse that you give us is a living force, a powerful creative spirit that you have enhanced and will continue revealing itself…so please take your time for rest now, as a Queen, feeling very proud. Your contribution to the mosaic world is huge!. You do a great job, with so much generosity and dedication. You deserve a monument!

    You will be for ever in the heart of many people that have been blessed to know you…

    I imagine that your husband is very happy with the title of this post…”a new honeymoon is coming” …”putting man to bed”!!! 😉

    • Isidora, you are a bright light in the mosaic world yourself and showcasing your work on MAN has been a privilege. Perhaps now I will have time to join you for the 2016 Intervention. I still know how to grout! Thank you for the lovely thoughts, my dear.

  22. Lynn Jones

    I will really miss MAN– such a great source of information about mosaics around the world. You did a great job of culling those Google alerts!

    • Is there a word for Google withdrawal? Thanks so much.

  23. Concetta

    you are brilliant! I have loved your writing and appreciated your heart from afar. Enjoy working with your head, heart AND hands. Xxx

    • Ah, Concetta – you know well about the heart yourself! Big hugs and thanks.

  24. Val McGarry

    Nancie, I want to thank you so much for all that you have done to promote mosaics and expose the world to contemporary mosaics.You have connected me to the mosaic world by sharing exhibitions from all around the world. You have brought them into my rural Canadian home which otherwise might not of happened.I will always be appreciative for that. I wish you well in your future endeavors and hope you will pick up your own hammer once more. Thank you.

    • Val – You’ve been involved in the mosaic community almost as long as I have! Keep making – I’ve always enjoyed seeing your work.

  25. John O'Brien

    You did a fine job NT – Thank you.
    Now you really must make a few mosaics and get back into the swing of it.I would recommend volunteering in your local schools – it is great fun and keeps you young.

    • High praise indeed from a man of few words. Thanks for the good advice. Tight lines!

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