01 Aug Meeting Mosaics
One of my favorite art-works brings together my two art-loves: sculpture and mosaic. The PinchPals are making their way on the path of life, which is riddled with lumps and bumps, yet hints of flowers and new life appear in the cracks of life. There are many PinchPals on the path, we are never really alone on the journey. Someone has your back. “The Path” was created a few years ago while fulfilling an artist residency position at the Olive Stack Gallery in Listowel, Ireland.
Mosaics have wandered in and out of my world for many years. My very first mosaic was made with colored egg shells. This was in early elementary school. I loved that mosaic, a bee hovering over a tulip-like flower. To this day I use that same flower motif. I had no understanding or appreciation of the mosaic art-form until many years later. Mosaics found me about the same time the PinchPals did, in the late 1970’s. At the time I had absolutely no context of mosaics.
The product of factory worker parents our family did not visit art museums or galleries growing up. Art and artist were “out of our league”. Starving Artist was not an acceptable profession. And the art form of mosaics, not on the radar at all! Local churches were modest constructions, no mosaics there. I appreciated the beauty of stained glass windows, but mosaics were not in the mix.
I attended a liberal arts school in Sarasota, Florida, New College. And it happened that the same college professor, Jack Cartlidge, who introduced me to clay and sculpture also taught me about mosaics. And it was a coffee table book with a picture of a pre-Columbian mosaic skull that first peaked my interest in mosaic making.
When not teaching sculpture and clay Jack created architectural art works, sculptures, large window mosaics and stained glass works for churches and synagogues. He was a larger than life figure; preferring to create monumental works he taught me to think “big”. He was the role model put in front of me.
Working on those first mosaics I had no idea the materials my hands were touching. For you mosaic heads, the material was Mexican smalti, sometimes stained glass, always large amounts to cover significant square footage. Before my college career was over I was awarded a few mosaic commissions and created some mosaics on my own; a Madonna for a local church, and angel for a child’s headstone. Nonetheless I made the choice to pursue work in the animation business. The PinchPals took me to Los Angeles where I settled into a 10 year adventure in the entertainment and animation business. The television business kept me busy in Washington, DC for another 12 years after that.
But making art, especially mosaics, kept pulling at me. As many of you know mosaic has consumed me for the last 15 years when I launched Maverick Mosaics. We focus on instruction, education, public and private commission work, and leading artful travel adventure to Italy, France, Spain, Slovenia and Ireland over the past 6 years .
A big “tug” has always been the community aspect of mosaic creation. Be it a school project with lots of young hands involved or a site specific large scale art work that speaks to a public audience. The fitting of disparate pieces into a cohesive artful whole, making order out of chaos, and connecting with others along the way. All reasons I’ve continued on my path. The mosaic community, the “tribe”, is populated by some of the kindest and most generous people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. You can learn more about Maverick Mosaics by clicking here.
And just as mosaics kept tugging at me so have the PinchPals, for some of the same reasons, creating and inspiring a sense of community. “The Path” brings together the PinchPals hand built sculptures and mosaic, with my understanding and belief that life finds a way to move forward in spite of the cracks in the path of our lives. And with that another chapter has begun to reveal itself.
Next week I begin working with a group of mosaic artists from the New England Mosaic Society creating mosaic art works in the spirit of the Pinch Pals. What does that mean? Not exactly sure, but stay tuned!
PinchPals are all of us! They can help touch those you care about with a gently and friendly reminder that “You’ve got their back.”
art-work materials: Limestone from Ireland, Mexican Smalti, tinted mortar “path”, 24kt gold and hand-made ceramic PinchPals