Roman and Byzantine style mosaic from 4th to 6th century showing Bird and Amphora motif, Dove and Vine, Doves and Pomegranante – symbolizing eternal life, the resurrection and rebirth.
Vine and Dove (detail), 5th century, San Vitale, Ravenna)
Doves and Pomegranate (detail), 5th century, San Vitale, Ravenna)
Birds and Amphora, Roman Mosaic, The Levant
My initital designs
Various ideas with a contemporary twist – sketches, painted designs and collages. Inspired by Cubist still life compositions using elements of San Vitale iconography, in a circular composition.
Initial stages of fabrication
These early stages involved drawing out the design and covering with sticky backed plastic. I played with colour ideas and sketched in some andamento lines. I also experimented with using marble and smalti to get a mix of matt and shiny surface textures.
I tried out various colour combinations for the background leaves…
Development of Mosaic in stages….
details and highlights!…
In the final stage (before framing!) I transferred the mosaic off of the paper and adhered it on its actual board. I then put a row of white marble tiles outlining the border of the mosaic in order to emphasize the shape. By outlining the motif in one line of white marble tessarae, it echoes the traditional Roman andamento style.
Once placed and glued down into the frame that I’d made, I used watered down off white cement adhesive over the rest the board. Finally, this was the first time I could view the mosaic upright and see how it reacted with the light.
There were some really fantastic musicians who came (even jammed together) Carlton Headley (sax), Russel Lambert (drums) Shanks ( who gave me a free copy of his excellent cd Silence Interrupted, The Rubber Banned ) and of course the face painters and stilt walkers…(we were only really missing the juggler !)
The day moved so fast, that after the Mayoress cutting the ribbon, we forgot to say our speeches and to thank everyone involved… so here it is in a blog i suppose. The launch was a joint effort with Willesden Green Town Team‘s Abraham Ryan who prepared over 50 self popping balloons in gorgeous lime and forest green, and a big thx to Ursula for her super cat biscuits (not edible for cats really but us humans), Deborah Mahs for her organisation of fire brigade (adding some uniformed men appeal to the occasion??) , Nick the painter (and part time tattoo artist) , Hannah Milsom for checking on the kids mask making and bringing the step ladder for the Mayoress, Leslie Jones and …..
theres also a great video by Paul who captured the real life moments and energy of the preparation of the event… http://vimeo.com/159765245
Welcome two new cats in my life : Eartha, who has taken 6 months to grow to completion, and JB, who arrived in my home a few weeks ago, already 1 years old. Eartha, however, is a mosaic artwork and the second in the ‘Catwalk’ Series inspired by the strange and wonderful anthropomorphic illustrations of Louis Wain. This one is based on a ‘Norwegian Forest’ breed with a big sideways mysterious grin.
Gladstone Park Primary School pupils held a ceramucs workshop and made things you’d see in the town – there is the corner shop, traffic lights, litter bins, local mosque, and named tube station roundels, amongst other icons. They also made flora and fauna, bees, butterflies and local birds.
Ceramic made by Primary Schls
Whiskers made from Pudding Dolls
The cat head & body went through many manifestations, ear shapes and whisker directions. Its anthropormphic human size features tested my patience and cat COMMITMENT
Meanwhile, the real character of cats continue to amaze me…JB is a constant now, and i thank Eartha for bringing him into my life.
This week I’ve been running the Mosaic Mural Projects with participants at The Pepper Pot Centre in Ladbroke Grove …
After giving them confidence learning some basic techniques by making small coasters with a ‘heart’, they then got straight in to the communal project and added their own touch to the mosaic mural.
Dancers, musical instruments etc! The mosaic is based on 1950s record covers of Calypso music, such as this one below. There are some really fascinating record covers out there!
Beatrice from Notre Art has been working hard to get word out and attract new members at the Day Centre.
Many of the particiipants who have mobility, movement and sight issues and with early to mid stages of dementia have started to feel the benefits of this creative and social activity. The daily dose of domino games and daytime TV has to wait till tomorrow !
Keeping hands and eyes busy proved to be popular – many showed an industrious energy, passion and feeling for the medium that i did not predict. Others who initially showed unsteady hands, catarracts and concentration difficulties made significant progress to the figures’ clothing, carribean fruit motifs and jamaican flowers!
Just hoping next week there is another full house to keep the mosaic going. Thanks to Ruth Morrison, the Director, and Russell for their unflinching support so far!
Wondered around LeytonstoneTube station yesterday, (actually, on purpose) to visit the Alfred Hitchcock film Mosaic Series. This was made by the Greenwich Mural Workshops in 2001 to mark the centenary of his birth…
Memorable scenes or ‘stills’ have been picked from specific films and used as the motifs for the mosaic series. These scenes showed examples of lead dramatic moments in the film, such as an action fight on a merry-go-round, or strong shadows highlighting the tension in the scene. I was captivated! (or on the edge of my seat were I in the cinema, of course.)
The mosaic itself is incredibly powerful; bright colours in vitreous glass tessarae are used to set off the designs, acid pink, electric blue or spine-chilling citrus yellow. Repetitive shapes/andamento next to details such as faces or hands are contrasted against each other which give the mosaic real impact, just as impressive as the lighting of the films themselves. There’s much more to say, but here are my first impressions – backgrounds of cirles and swirls, outlining, sharp highlights, tonal gradation etc etc – bold shapes and designs.
Different scenes from films such as North by NorthWest (a plane chasing a lone man in the background), Number 17 (two men leaning out of a train) and The Birds are represented (terrifyingly!). But the mosaic work also celebrates his life and times – the fact he grew up in the area (portrayed outside his father’s greengrocers shop) and images of him at work with different actors/actresses. Reminds me of the recent film about him…
There’s also a Hitchcock hotel down the road in Leytonstone – though you’d be a bit Psycho to stay there…)
Despite the winter chill approaching, had a great day with Willesden Green Town Team‘s Elayne, Deborah et al with a sumptious smattering of Transport For London colour co-ordinated cakes for sale (made by Daniel & Mashud of TFL). A few mosaic stars, and Louis, the cat mosaic, souvenir postcards were also available! Donations were sought for the WGTT and they raised quite a bit for future cakes (oops, I meant upcoming projects) for the local area!
Elayne catching the passersby
The LT ’roundel’ in cake
Mid day rush
Oh, and there was this band Parralox too, not your average Xmas carolling, but kick started our party nonetheless! (with mulled wine – provided by MAPRA) and not forgetting the Wood burner stove that Pat brought from his garden so we wouldn’t catch our death of cold.
Last week was the launch of Louis, the cat mosaic – it was a great day alongside the WIllesden Green Town Teamsumptious cakes and fund and awareness raising event at the tube station (Willesden Green).
Louis, the cat, has landed
Fernando and John Doyle at the launch
on the bridge
Mosaic Artist , Debra
Lots of people who had worked on the mosaic came along on this very special morning, with some surprising sunny weather! Fernando Solerand John Doyle from Jubilee Line, Transport For London were also in attendance, making the speeches, and working the crowd!
The cat was welcomed by the well wishers who came for the launch and to enjoy the wonderful spread of cakes which Deborah Mahs, chair of WGTT, managed to organise, to raise money and awareness for the Town Team’s future projects – children growing vegetables, shop locally, greening of willesden green and….
We are developing plans to continue the mosaic theme in WiIlesden Green with a Catwalk Mosaic throughout the town area linking areas from the tube to the bus station at the Dudden Hill side, with lots of small cats along the way on various walls and pavements. We have started a spacehive fund for general public to donate….
The inspiration for this project came from a postcard I glimpsed by Louis Wain, a now forgotten, but much loved and popular artist in the turn of the 20th century. His work became quite ‘kaleidscopic’ and vibrant in his later life (linked to mental instability, it has been claimed) but very inspiring, whimsical, and in my mind thought provoking about the fragile human mental condition. He was also a previous resident of the Willesden area.
The catwalk can also be used as a metaphor to symbolise community spirit, as each cat will have a different character and outlook but can provide a visual link for bringing the local area together when visited along the high street.
Images from launch party for mosaic mural on April 4th celebrating the 3 month culmination of creative work and endeavour by members of the community around Odessa and Palermo Rd, Kensal Green. Mosaic was designed by Create Mosaic Workshops (Debra and Bea), intented to help brighten up the local park which was in desperate need of some TLC!
Lots of attendees were at the party including the Mayor of Brent, local councillors supporting the Community led initiative, local residents who took part in the community workshops, Organisers (Carol, Nanda and Nathalie), Debra’s mum, Bea and her cakes, Michelle (the photographer) and her dog, drumming for all and a whole host of passersby. Thankfully it didnt rain!More images of completed mosaic here