Mosaics found me back in 2004 with a simple bag of glass and a pair of nippers from a friend. Extremely passionate from the start, and with a background in art, I immersed myself in the study of traditional mosaic technique using many different styles and materials. I started Rainbow Mosaics in 2005, and was fortunate to find SAMA right away. I knew I wanted an organization dedicated to the beauty and excellence of mosaic art, and after attending the annual conference in Washington, D.C., I knew I had found my tribe.
Attending the conference was such a rewarding experience. Getting to meet so many talented artists from around the world and make new, life-long friends was unforgettable. For the next six years, I attended every conference and enjoyed taking workshops and participating in all the wonderful activities SAMA has to offer. Year after year, I met new people and gained such valuable knowledge.
In 2006, I was a vendor at the Chicago Vendor Marketplace, as I had just acquired a beautiful collection of vintage Denwar glazed ceramic tiles that I wanted to showcase. A great experience and a fabulous way to meet so many talented artists. At the SAMA conference in Mesa, AZ, 2007, I won the grand prize raffle—a trip to take a class at the Orsoni School in Venice, Italy. I had been passionate about smalti and wanting to study its use for many years. Prior to leaving, I created the Asian Garden mosaic, to see where my talents lie, and in 2008, it was selected to be in the Mosaic Arts International Exhibition in Miami, FL.
Upon returning from Italy, I was in the process of working on a large, seven-foot tall, spiritual hands fountain commission, during which both the person who commissioned me, and I were severely injured. I was diagnosed with RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
I was told that I had a 95% chance of becoming disabled, and the pain made it very difficult to mosaic such a large sculpture. It took a little while to find the strength to fight and recover, but my optimistic attitude kicked in, and five years later, I finished. Exhausted—physically and mentally—I closed my studio door and bolted for a while. I needed to change my life so I went back to school for health and life coaching. I was sad to leave my mosaic friends and creating art, but knew I needed to take this detour. I learned so much about business, life, and health in the few years I was gone. These skills have helped me pursue my passion for mosaics by helping mosaic artists achieve their goals.
In 2014, I started Mosaic Mentoring to create an online community that focused on mentoring mosaic artists. I strive for the excellence that SAMA stands for, and love that I can promote SAMA in my group. After two years, it grew to over 7,000 members and has become one of the largest and most active Facebook communities on mosaic-learning.
In 2015, I joined the Sponsorship Committee and was a vendor at the San Diego conference. Seeing so many old and new friends was exciting after having to miss it for a few years. The conference is one of the highlights of my year! Getting to spend a week with so many who share my passion, being able to see so many beautiful pieces of art, hear amazing lectures, workshops, the marathon, the vendors’ marketplace and more. It’s a mosaic artist’s dream! Our members and sponsors keep SAMA going every year, and I look forward to helping again this year.
2017 brings exciting growth and change for both Mosaic Mentoring and Rainbow Mosaics. With the Introduction to the Mastering Mosaics online series and an exclusive membership site with online mosaic mentoring as well as many other exciting surprises, all I can say is I CAN’T WAIT! Being able to get back to mosaics full time is so exciting!
SAMA has been my family for over 10 years and I would not be where I am today if it were not for their vision, generosity, andlove for mosaic art. My journey has brought me to a place of excitement, knowing that I have created a life filled with my passion of mosaics, and I look forward to inspiring as many as I can along the way. I do it for the love of mosaics.
I can’t wait for Detroit!