Telling stories with shards and glass
Five contemporary mosaic artists, with a talent for creating intricate works of art from broken pottery, old bottles, shattered porcelain and coloured glass, have recently combined their individual work to produce a stunning exhibition.
The Magic of Mosaic, which ran at the Mangawhai Art Gallery March 9-21, showcased the skills of Brenda Everson, Pat George, Karen Brierly and Lynette Ingram with a featured piece from Steve George.
Mosaic art embodies the ‘re-use, recycle’ philosophy and the artists readily admit to being ‘avid scavengers’, beachcombers and op-shop explorers, in the pursuit of intriguing objects and materials.
Karen says she has always had a passion for recycling and reinventing, and learnt furniture restoration while jointly running a second hand business.
“A friend persuaded me to attend mosaic workshops with Pat George five years ago and this developed into a passion to explore this medium as well as my love of nature in all its forms and allow me to express how I feel about everything,” she says.
Karen’s work has been exhibited and sold through several community shows as well as a piece donated to a Hospice charity auction.
After ‘a lifetime of work’ on a Waikato farm, Brenda says she wanted to experience new things in her life and also become fascinated with mosaic art after being introduced to Pat George by a friend.
“Once I created my first mosaic, which took me nine months, I became so passionate about design and the use of stone, tiles and mirrors,” she says. “I started to realise I could collect and upcycle all types of mediums such as jewellery, glass, pebbles, porcelain and china, which are all now in my work.”
Since 2013, Brenda’s exhibited work has received several acclaims and awards and has been showcased as far away as Wellington.
Both Karen and Brenda assisted Pat George in 2015 with her mosaic commission ‘Windows of Northland’, which features in the entrance of the new maternity hospital, Te Kotuku, in Whangarei.
Self-taught artist Pat George has had a passion for the montage art form since the early 80s, discovering the technique while helping to mosaic the entrance of a kindergarten on Waiheke Island.
“I was hooked,” she says. “Mosaic art challenges and inspires me to find new ways of developing ideas and I am always on the lookout for different materials to use, more ideas to try out.”
Since then Pat’s mosaic panels feature a diverse range of different materials including stained glass, ceramic tiles, glass nuggets, stone pebbles, flax, paua, shells, drift wood, bull kelp and ‘whatever the sea leaves me on the beaches in my area’ she says.
Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues from Wanganui to Auckland, and locally, including public picnic tables commissioned by Kaipara District Council. Pat and husband Steve work from their Matakohe home studio teaching mosaic classes and workshops.
Lynette began working with mosaics 12 years ago and since then has won several awards. Her work is held in private collections in New Zealand and overseas including Australia, America, Japan and England.
Through mosaic, Lynette tells stories of herself and those who have passed, and all her artwork is inspired by a story or an event. While living around Hokianga Harbour she says she became fascinated that the old glass and pottery fragments found on her excursions around the water’s edge, which came from the old mill sites.
“It appeared these fragments were all that was left of the people that had lived and worked there,” she says. “I now use these fragments within the mosaics adding photographs, paintings, tempered glass and mirrors, to express how I feel about what comes my way in life. I call my pieces story boards, as all my work contains a story.”
REINVENTION: Artists of skill and patience. Pictured from left is Lynette, Karen, Brenda and Pat in front of a sculpture by Steve George.