Belgium for Mosaics, Beer and the Italian......

One day back in 1996 I was working on a TV show as a costumer and a friend/colleague asked me if I wanted to come over and make mosaics?  I said, "sure what are mosaics?"  He said, "come over and I will show you."  From that day forward I have never looked back and I have never stopped creating mosaic art.  I have always said mosaics found me.  I have always loved and connected with different forms of art but when I began to break tiles, adhere them to different substrates something clicked.  So on that weekend or those first few years, if someone told me you will travel to Europe one day to study this art with some of the greatest mosaic artists out there and make a living doing it, I would have LAUGHED OUT LOUD, LOL!!!  

But here I am today to share my latest experience.  I have just returned from Belgium that included a 5 day course studying with one the most sought after contemporary mosaic artists.  He is Dino Maccini and he shifted my direction in mosaics and led me to see my art in a whole new way.  

Last summer I began to feel the need to shift my art, to begin allow my connection to myself and my art become more apparent.  I am very successful at creating mosaic art for clients, that include their desires, dreams and designs.  As in artist there is always the internal struggle to create for yourself or create for the client.  Which will pay more?  Which will bring more exposure? Which will fulfill me more?  It was time to start to answer these questions and see where I could go with my own expression, desires and designs.  

For days I would stare at Dino's work, trying to figure out how he did what he did.  Then one day while in my studio one of my beloved visiting artist teachers, Mireille Swinnen, announced that when she returned to Belgium, her home, she would be hosting Dino Maccini in  her new mosaic art salon studio.  Before anything could stop my mouth the words came out, "SIGN ME UP".  Then of course I questioned who did I think I was traveling all the way to Belgium to study mosaics, I can't afford that, or to be away that long.  But after allowing those thoughts to start to melt away I saw clearly this is exactly what I am supposed to do.  Now a quick side note, my husband is a master home brewer of beer and loves beer like I love mosaics.  So what better place to go enjoy beer than Belgium.  This trip would be a dream come true for both of us and he was in!  

We packed our bags and not only did we enjoy beer in Belgium but Jerry, my husband decided maybe he could try his hand at a mosaic workshop.  Well let me tell you, being the analytical engineer/chemist he is he hit it out of the park with his work on his piece.  

Working for the 5 days with Dino was a dream come true.  He taught us exactly how he creates his pieces, he gave us tips, techniques and secrets to creating his special style.  Now the trick with learning a certain style of any artist is to take that information and make it your own.  Not to copy their work but to find the nuggets of knowledge they give you and try it out with your own designs.  

We have only been home a few days but I am more than ready to sit at my work table, hammer and hardie by my side and begin to explore where I can go with the information I learned while in Belgium from the Italian.  

Stay tuned for more on this journey!!

Dino and I at the end of the course.

Dino and I at the end of the course.

Jerry's and my work at the end of the course.  More practice to finish!

Jerry's and my work at the end of the course.  More practice to finish!

Our work in progress...one day they will hang side by side.  Stay tuned......

Our work in progress...one day they will hang side by side.  Stay tuned......