My ‘mosaic story’ starts the same as so many others… I had been an artist as a child, from the time I was very little through high school. However, after high school I hadn’t felt I was in a position to pursue art full-time, so I worked in other areas like social work, business, public policy, and education. One day in 2009, when I was “between opportunities” and at a loss as to what to do next, my husband suggested maybe I should take a break and a fun class or two. I had always loved mosaics; their vibrancy—especially ceramic tile mosaics—their collage nature, their presence in public settings, so I decided to take a local mosaic class in Denver, Colorado. All it took was one class and I was hooked! I knew this was something I loved, could learn and grow with over a lifetime, and share with others while utilizing my teaching skills from my years in nonprofit work.
I found SAMA from online research and was thrilled to see there was a national organization dedicated to this art form! I attended my first SAMA conference in Chicago in 2010, pretty terrified, and knowing no one except a few people’s names from interactions on Facebook. I threw myself into interactions with people and the more I did, the more I found how welcoming and wonderful everyone was! I took workshops from the start and made great, lifelong friends.
Once I went to that first conference, I was absolutely sold on SAMA’s value to me as a mosaic artist and looked forward to the annual conferences, all of which I’ve been able to attend! My career as a mosaic artist has constantly evolved since 2009, growing into what I feel it is “meant to be.” I have taught mosaic classes, sold mosaic supplies, made and sold my own art through shows, exhibits, and galleries, and now, I mostly do original and custom work for commercial and public art installations.
Little did I know after attending my first conference, just how valuable the skills, experiences, people, and connections from SAMA would be to me in the future! I have been complimented by world-famous mosaic artists who encouraged me to go further with my style. I joined other mosaic artists to assist them in large commercial and public art projects in a variety of areas. I developed a relationship with a cadre of members that supports and encourages my work and spreads it out into the world to increase exposure and opportunities. I have visited studios and/or trained with mosaic artists from around the US and internationally through the relationships built at SAMA, and utilized a huge professional network of colleagues to call on for technical, situational, and medium-specific advice, information, and assistance.
One of the most “heartbreaking” things about being an active SAMA member is having to say goodbye after a short, but amazing, time with friends and colleagues every year because we are so spread out throughout the country and world!
I have a great love for the vibrant, colorful art palettes of the world, especially in Mexican art, imagery, and folklore, as well as the colors of India and its art. Traveling has helped me gain understanding, inspiration, new perspectives, and sometimes, materials for my work. Multiple elements, textures, and styles (folk art, indigenous art, pop art, and activist art) find their way into my art by utilizing old, recycled, personal, and “junk” items. My love of collage, sculpture, and assemblage is displayed prominently in my mixed-media mosaics. I work to blend these parts of my world and make bright, happy, and inspiring art.
Following my initial attraction to ceramic tile, I now utilize ceramics in a majority of my mosaics. I consider my style to be contemporary and I am not interested in “going with the flow” in the medium of mosaics or replicating the classic mosaic work style. One of my objectives is to receive ongoing training from a variety of other professional artists, and incorporate newly honed skills and approaches into creating artwork for my commission clients that is reflective of their vision, needs, and setting.
Prior to the 2015 SAMA conference, member artist and sponsor, Jacqueline Iskander, decided to create two scholarships for artists to be able to attend the SAMA conference. I saw that Jacqueline’s scholarships would cover registration and maybe a workshop and thought of all the times I had wanted to attend something like that, yet didn’t have the additional funds it would take to get there, pay for the hotel, etc. After contacting Jacqueline, she graciously let me join her efforts wherein I established a GoFundMe drive that would fund things like travel expenses, hotel, meals, etc. With the generosity of my fellow SAMA members, we were able to send two different artists each year to the 2015 and 2016 conferences!
I am a member artist at 40 West Arts and 40 West Studios in Lakewood, Colorado’s 40West Arts District, the Chicano Humanities and Arts Council (CHAC) Gallery in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District, Colorado Mosaic Artists, and Contemporary Mosaic Artists online. 720-435-3057. Visit www.tilemosaicgirl.com to see my work!