From Nursing with Passion, to Nursing a Passion from Within
By Brandi Fletcher, Ojai, CA MosaicsByBrandiFletcher
I am a brand new member to SAMA. I have wanted to join for years, but never did, until now.
I grew up in Southern California with a love and appreciation of music, animals, good food and the freedom to create. A true 70’s kid, my childhood home was decorated with vibrant sponge-painted walls, fun-shaped vinyl furniture, patchwork carpets and colorful crafts that were designed and made by my mother, who had no fear when it came to creating a cool environment. This made an impression on me and it was evident from an early age that I was artistically inclined and was encouraged by my family to explore my own creativity freely.
Although I excelled in Art during my school years, my education later took me in a different direction. I became a psychiatric nurse and realized that working with schizophrenics was a calling I needed to explore. I soon found caretaking came easily and my role as a nurse rewarding. I used my strength as a natural born instructor to guide and encourage the mentally ill. I implemented art classes and creative groups for the patients, on a regular basis, which helped them process feelings and improve social skills.
Throughout my adult years, I have experimented with drawing, oil and acrylic painting, jewelry making, throwing clay and glazing ceramics, clay relief carving, even singing and playing in a band for 15 years. My creativity was always begging for more of my attention. In 2004, I had an intuitive calling to do a mosaic on the front porch of my home. I had no idea HOW to do it, I just knew that I HAD to do it. I asked a few handymen what I needed and they steered me in the right direction. It took me a month, and looking back, I did EVERYTHING wrong, but I was hooked immediately and knew that I had to create mosaics. With my husband and friends encouraging me, I was soon making mosaic pieces that people were buying and I was eventually comissioned to do larger pieces. I went on to do mosaic tables, fireplaces, floors, back splashes and wall hangings. Finally, After 20 years of nursing, I decided that it was time to change direction, and have recently dedicated 100 percent of my time to my mosaic art.
Being completely self-taught has allowed me to develop my own style guided by intuition and passion. I create my mosaic pieces using glass, ceramic, marble, gemstones, pebbles and found items. When doing commissions, I work closely with my clients, taking their ideas and visions and transforming them into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece of art.
I enjoy the outdoors and have spent a lot of time exploring the Grand Canyon and travelling around the Southwest. I currently live in the Ojai Valley in Southern California where I continue to play in a band with my supportive and patient husband, Danny. We have two cats in the yard, Johnny and June.
I LOVE doing mosaics and I LOVE looking at what other people do with mosaics. I am very excited about the future and I am doing everything I can to network and build relationships, as I grow as a mosaic artist. I feel like I still have a lot to learn and every project is a challenge, but I am excited and willing to learn MORE. Joining SAMA was a huge moment for me. I’m hoping that down the road, I can become even more involved and attend the events that SAMA offers, even submit my work to exhibitions. I am proud to be a member of SAMA. I feel like NOW I can stand a little taller as an artist. Thank you SAMA!