Monday, 8 November 2010

new ceramics & mosaic courses with Marit ammerud & Anne CArdwell

This blog will report the progress of the students through their three week course, which started on November the 5th and watch how their first ceramic mosaic takes shape.

Marit Ammerud has come to run the course and first of all we look at some of her work. It’s gorgeous, we are so impressed and inspired by her skills. Marit talks to the group about what they can achieve in the next 2 hours, demonstrating on the materials that she has prepared in advance, how to apply texture and imprints to the surface of the clay and how blending and layering of colours can be achieved. We are lucky to benefit from Marit’s many years of experience, she has lot of interesting techniques to show us; everyone is very enthusiastic and are just dying to get started.

The option is either to make random shapes and decide what they will become later or plan in advance what to make, but most students have already decided what they are hoping to create, a mouse, a cat, a dragonfly, birds, flowers and waves are all being assembled. The next two hours pass so quickly, the clay has already been rolled and dried to leather soft, perfect for receiving imprints.

At the end of the session everyone has a collection of shapes which will be bisque fired before next week, then we will apply some more colours before it is glazed, week three we make them into a mosaic - watch this blog to follow the progress.

If you are interested in our next mosaic/ceramic course early 2011 please email at and we will let you know the dates.

Monday, 18 October 2010

new mosaic art classes

This weekend was the second in our new mosaic studio home in Newport. Our mosaic studio has just been open for just 6 weeks, as yet for very limited hours. I am continuing the courses that I started 5 years ago, but now we can offer much more space, a bigger range of materials and a place to display our own work. In addition we have a small 'store' where mosaicers can see and buy some special treat tiles - for people like me who are magpies drawn to all that glitters!

A day starts with a talk by Anne Cardwell, (thats me!) - Ill guides you through the many materials available for the process of making a mosaic. There is quick guide to cutting and laying techniques, advice on how to approach a composition and what bases and adhesives work for different situations. In fact everything I was I had known when I started, things that take a long time to work out for yourself are all helpfully collated onto a full colour print out, as well as the suppliers we use.

These are two pieces that were made by students this weekend, one is based on an Emma Biggs design, the other just the students own drawing. Both students were completely new to the art of mosaics and were incredibly pleased with their first mosaic.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

ANOTHER PHONE CALL, this time it's from a nearly college, would I have a spare day for teaching. So, from September 2010 I will be teaching a mosaic course weekly at Sawston Village College (or another nearby site), it will be a 5 or 10 week course, 2 hours per week on one weekday morning, the days and term dates are not yet set. It will be from 10-12 noon. There will be an open day on Saturday 15th May, at Sawston where you can do a ‘taster course’, to hear about about the art form, watch a slide show try your hand at cutting the tiles and making a small coaster. The fee for the taster day will be £15 (tbc) and you must book directly with them - at community@sawstonvc, write your emails for the attention of Sue King, or phone them on 01223 712424. Places are limited so book soon to avoid disappointment.

I’ll update this as I get more information about the September course, the FE brochure is due out soon.

Writing a book about mosaics

One day I get a phone call, we've had a look at your website - would you like to publish a book about mosaics? Well, what would you say? I said YES, Yes please I'd love to - and who am I talking to anyway? (actually it doesn't matter).

Having said Yes, to Hamlyns as it happened, (and they are a great publisher with really smart and well designed books), then they told me how much time I had - it was February, it had to be done by the 17th June and I still had to meet them, discuss content and draw up a contract.

I asked them how were they so sure I was capable of the writing part? They said they loved my website - it seemed the writing on there was up to standard. The contract details were finalised by APRIL, yes it took that long, and despite not having anything in writing I was already beavering away in my shed on the ideas they had indicated would probably go ahead.

The next few months were very hectic, thank goodness for my iphone, how handy to take pictures sitting at my desk, email them off for approval and get an affirmative answer a matter of moments later on colours and styles. When working as a designer in the 1980's & 90's I often had a courier hovering by my desk, waiting to snatch away layouts and rush them to another part of London - not nearly so immediate and a lot more stressful!

My children loved the experience too, dad works away from home all week, so they got four months of uninterrupted TV, endless time on their playstation, never having to tidy their rooms (so great to have an excuse not to do these odious chores, I didn't tidy the house either) and to eat pizzas til it was coming out of their ears.

It all went off on the 21st June and by July the photography was finished & corrections to the written part were all completed. And then. It. All. Went. Quiet.

The economy closed down and the book, now fully proofed, went 'on hold'. Companies who had purchased advance copies went under and it looked for a long time as though it would never see the light of day. I stopped asking the publisher.

One day, a few weeks ago, Allan Punton, fellow BAMM member emailed. Congratulations, I see you've published a book! Really I said (probably to his confusion). Yes it's on Amazon. So at last, it's published, 18 months behind schedule, but actually now on the shelves. My dreams of book signings in New York, Sydney and London have not materialised and no one has stopped to ask me for my autograph in the street, (though a child from a local school did phone up the other day to interview me for his school magazine), but I’m really really happy to finally hold a lovely silky and solid copy in my hand.

So I hope some of you mosaicists out there will buy and enjoy, and perhaps, if you get a phone call out of the blue asking if you would like to write a book, you might think of stocking up on something other than pizzas.

Anne Cardwell, Stylish Mosaics