Last weekend I went to a one-day workshop led by the contemporary craft artists Carrie Reichardt and Karen Wydler. I saw some of Carrie’s work before and I have been at one of her exhibitions recently so I was looking forward to learning some tricks of the trade from the very best! I was also really hoping to learn about the screen-printing on tiles. I am in absolute awe of what can be achieved using this technique and I would love to be able to create my own tiles. The particular focus of the workshop was the impact of human activity on nature reflected in mosaics which blur the boundaries between craft and activism. I was excited!
First things first
When we arrived we were welcomed with an introduction to the world of mosaic and some basic techniques of mosaic making. Before spending some time coming up with ideas for our mosaic project, we were able to browse through Carrie’s big collection of printed-on tiles. For me that was an absolute treat, I loved every minute of it. It took me a while but in one of the books about symbols that were available, I found a familiar icon of Kokopelli.
I want to break free
Kokopelli is a traveller, he is a wanderer and he is the Native American symbol of sexuality, fertility and passion for life. I have decided to create a mosaic around his figure. As a backdrop for the silhouette of Kokopelli, I wanted to use some of Carrie’s tiles that were referencing the recent elections, Brexit, surveillance, the meaning of life and rebellion. I tried to give them a personal spin. For me, Kokopelli symbolises a life of freedom from 9 to 5, life outside of the system, outside of the standard norms and customs.
It’s something that has been very close to my heart recently and me becoming mosaic artists is a big part of that same desire: I want to break free, I want to break free (…) I’ve got to break free, God knows, God knows I want to break free. (If you feel a sudden urge to sing the song now, here is the link for you: Queen – I Want to Break Free – Lyric Video).
I have entitled the piece Escape of the Kokopelli.
Time flies… when you do mosaic
I almost don’t remember the next 4 hours of creating the mosaic. Both artists were very supportive and Karen helped me on a few occasions when I was a bit stuck. It was super interesting as we were encouraged to use hubcaps as our mosaic bases. We have also had many chances to try various supplies including the silicon and epoxy gun that I haven’t used before. I am still trying to figure out which adhesive works the best for me but it was nice to try them out. Also, an interesting point that Carrie made was that even when you use PVA, you can mix in some cement to it to make it more durable and just use that as your glue.
Below is the result of the workshop (although I did have to spend an extra day finishing it off). Unfortunately, there was no time to go into ins & outs of mosaic and screen-printing on tiles so that was a bit disappointing but I love the time spent there nevertheless. Big thank you to both Carrie and Karen for a lovely day!
A few more details of the mosaic below.