A New Beginning
By Penny Collins, Grand Ledge, MI natureinspiredart.weebly.com
My beginnings as a mosaic artist were at the Chicago Mosaic School in the spring of 2010. It was there, while taking a mosaic workshop with Sonia King, that I first heard about SAMA. Sonia talked about the recent SAMA Conference in Chicago with all of its fantastic mosaic art, artists, workshops, etc. When I returned home, I immediately checked out the SAMA website and its resources. The following fall, I officially joined SAMA when I registered for the 2011 conference in Austin, Texas.
The conference, workshops, and activities were all excellent. I attended a one-day workshop with Emma Biggs, as well as a half-day workshop with Sonia King. I was amazed at the talent displayed at the Mosaic Art Salon and the incredible work at the MAI exhibition. Participating in the Mosaic Marathon was a fun experience, as well. The Vendor Marketplace and the Tesserae Bag Exchange added several extra pounds to my luggage on the trip home. Overall, the entire SAMA experience left me with endless ideas and inspiration for becoming a serious mosaic artist.
I continued to take workshops whenever possible and began connecting with other mosaic artists on Facebook and the CMA website. SAMA’s e-journal, Groutline, and newletter, Andamento, helped me count the days until the next conference in Lexington, KY. With the encouragement of my online mosaic friends, I decided to enter a mosaic in the Mosaic Art Salon. This year SAMA made a special effort to help SAMA “newbies” feel welcome and connected with special Welcome gatherings. I attended a two-day workshop with the renowned Ilana Shafir. The Mosaic Art Salon and MAI Exhibition were once again the highlights of the conference, as well as participating in the Mosaic Marathon. It was difficult to leave the collective creative energy of this special event.
As I eagerly await my retirement from the “work world” at the end of the summer and next year’s SAMA conference in Tacoma, Washington, I also look forward to volunteering with SAMA. Perhaps I’ll even submit a mosaic to the MAI exhibition! SAMA has given me the opportunity to meet and work with aspiring mosaic artists, like myself, as well as already established artists from all over the world. Most of all, SAMA has challenged me to grow, find my own unique mosaic voice, and participate in an organization that provides endless resources for mosaic artists, while advancing mosaic as an art form. Besides… where else can you find people who share your obsession with little broken pieces of almost anything and common concerns like: ”Grout or no grout?”, “My tiles fell off, now what do I do?”, and “Do you ever worry about being hoarder?”!!!
Bio – Penny lives with her husband in Grand Ledge, (near Lansing) Michigan and has two grown daughters living nearby. Her mosaics and watercolors can be viewed at www.natureinspiredart.weebly.com