Mid Winter Flight

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                                       Keep Warm and Safe … see you in 2017

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                                                                 🙂

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Return of the doves

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My doves have returned from their Greek Odyssey to Athens and Mykonos and are home to roost. However they are looking for a good home as I don’t have much room here for them.
You can see lots of photos of them and purchase them in my new shop on the wonderful colourful website Folt Bolt.

To celebrate opening my shop I am offering you a coupon which entitles you to 25% off all my artwork in the shop until 20 November. Just add the coupon code Flock-Sale! at checkout.
(Please note: The prices maybe in Australian dollars as it is an Australian website, there is a currency converter on the website at the bottom of the page to set to your chosen currency.)

Happy Shopping!

My Folt Bolt Shop

🙂

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Starlings – are here again!

I’m on starlings again!

During the two weeks of Somerset Art Weeks I set up a temporary studio at the Somerset Crafts gallery. Whilst I was there I made 8 starlings. I wondered how long it would be before the starlings returned from Scandinavia, Germany or the Netherlands (according to the BBC nature website the ones from Scandinavia go to the North and the ones from Germany and the Netherlands come to the South) As I drove home each day my wondering was answered as I saw them stacking up on the telegraph wires.

I made these in the same way as my doves, who incidentally are on their flight home from Greece.

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Here they are at Somerset Crafts flying ahead of the murmuration “Beautiful Black Clouds”

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My work at Somerset Crafts

🙂

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Mosaic Odysseys Festival – from London to Athens to Mykonos

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Two weeks ago I returned from Athens from the Mosaic Odysseys exhibition which has now moved onto Mykonos. Being in Greece was an inspiring experience, I climbed the Acropolis and Lykavittos Hill and even though there were crowds of people around me, I still felt a connection with the ancient Greeks and I was in awe of the Greek Gods.  Spread out before me was the whole of Athens and I imagined what it must have been like all those years ago with temples and lodgings scattered about. One evening on top of Lykavittos Hill I watched a storm brewing, lightning bolts lit the sky reminding me I was in Zeus’ territory.

The exhibition was held in the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, a modern light and spacious building with a theatre. Our exhibition was displayed on two floors.There were more works on show than there were in London. More pieces by the  Greek artists and lovely big photos of pieces that were sold in London (printed by Lydia Papadopoulou’s husband). So the whole exhibition was there in a sense.

On Friday 9th September we had the inauguration. The place was buzzing with people all night. New people were met and lots was said.

Michael Cacoyannis Foundation

Michael Cacoyannis Foundation

 

Inauguration of Mosaic Odysseys in Athens

Inauguration of Mosaic Odysseys in Athens

 

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Me with my doves

Me with my doves and photos of my works sold in London

 

Sunrise in Athens

Sunrise in Athens

 

View from the Acropolis

View from the Acropolis

Now the exhibition is in Mykonos until 30th September. Unfortunately I can’t be there as I am at Somerset Crafts having set up a temporary studio for the duration of Somerset Art Weeks.

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The work looks wonderful in a magical setting. I wish I was there! You can see pictures on the Mosaic Odysseys facebook page.

I have been reassured by Artemis Klitsi, one of the Greek mosaic artists that they are taking great care of my doves although they had trouble the first night keeping them from flying out to join the night life and the second day they wanted to fly to Delos!

Here is Lydia Papadopoulou feeding them with grapes!

🙂

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The Doves Who Bring Ambrosia to the Gods

Mosaic Odysseys Festival moving on to Athens and Mykonos

The first exhibition for the Mosaic Odysseys Festival at the Hellenic Centre  in London was a great success. We had a lot of visitors and several sales.
After selling my works “The Whirlwind That Takes Me There” , “The Enchanter“,and “The Four Winds“, I decided to make new works to send to Greece.
I wanted to make 3 dimensional birds and initially thought about my gold birds that appear in my work frequently. They would be more realistic and fly on their own odyssey to Athens…(only the courier would spoil my fantasy) . However I dipped into the BOOK once again (Homer’s Odyssey in case you wondered) …and found just what I was looking for.

It’s in the beginning of the section where Circe tells Odysseus how to escape from the House of Hades. She tells him how he must avoid the sirens song, then goes on to mention the overhanging and very high rocks that the gods call the Wanderers. She says …
“Here not even a bird may pass, no, not even the timid doves that bring ambrosia to Father Jove, but the sheer rock always carries off one of them, and Father Jove has to send another to make up their number…”

I decided to make the doves so they were partly 3 dimensional but so you can still hang them on the wall. And hang them rather like Hilda Ogden’s very “tasteful flying ducks” in Coronation Street!!  (Sorry, did I say tasteful? Oh yes, so I did)

I cut out my doves from plywood with only one wing and constructed the others 3 dimensionally. I have used a little of my hand gilded metal leaf glass in them.

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For the bodies I used polystyrene eggs and cut them in half.

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I chose these funny circle design milliefiori tiles for eyes to illustrate the exhaustion the dove feels after the journey!

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A persistent small spider wanted to get in on the action!

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Various glass on the inside wings.

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Wings are fixed securely.

Bodies and copper wire feet are attached.

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Fly my babies…

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The Doves Who Bring Ambrosia to the Gods (take 1)

The tin of rice pudding is of course a joke, although I am tempted to use it in the exhibition.  However there are shipping issues getting tins of food through customs as well as copyright issues using the logo. I wrote to Ambrosia, but I got no reply.
So they will bring symbolic gifts …

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The Doves Who Bring Ambrosia to the Gods (take 2)

…where ambrosia is a nectar or a honey made by bees and flowers.

Close up…

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The Mosaic Odysseys exhibition will be at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens from September 9th to September 18th.

The final exhibition will be at the Muncipal Art Gallery of Mykonos, starting 23rd September and finishing 3rd October.

Exhibiting artists –

Greek artists :

Ioannis Touliatos, Artemis Klitsi, Eftychia Finou, Vasso Spanou, Lydia Papadopoulos, Alexandros Bassadis,

UK artists:

Dugald MacInnes, Nathalie Vin, Aliyahgator, Arianna Puntin, and myself.

Have a look at our website here

Want to offer sponsorship? Get in touch!

🙂

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Marble Mosaic Company and Ansar Mosaic

If you read my post The Enchanter, you will remember I used some beautiful vintage tiles in the work that were given to me by mosaicist, Elaine M Goodwin. They are lovely strong coloured thick glass tiles very similar to Italian piastrina smalti. Elaine told me she had purchased them from the Marble Mosaic Company in Weston Super Mare in the 1980’s and believed they were made by them. 

As far as I know we don’t have any companies in the UK that make glass mosaic tiles today so I was eager to find out more and I contacted the Marble Mosaic company.

The company director, Stephen Maddalena sent me some fascinating information and photos of his family’s company and it was a pleasure to meet him when he came to one of my workshops and made his first mosaic!

So I would like to share with you this lovely bit of history…

Stephen’s grandfather Romano Maddalena founded The Marble Mosaic Co in 1905. He came from Fanna, which is a small town in the Friuli region of Italy, about 75 miles north of Venice and 10 miles from Spilimbergo, where the mosaic school is based (scuolamosaicistifriuli.it).

The company initially focussed on laying marble mosaic and tarrazzo floors, which then developed in the 1950’s to include the fixing of glass mosaic tiles (bought in from Italy) as the external wall cladding of new buildings.

Romano’s sons of his first marriage then joined the business.

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Stephen’s uncle Peter on the right by the floor polishing machine.

 Uncle Peter went on to become the manager of Marble Mosaic Company’s factory by Temple Meads station in Bristol, during which time it’s activities progressively developed from insitu mosaic and terrazzo work to the manufacture of precast terrazzo tiles and then on to the production of precast concrete cladding panels (the latter of which they still produce today)

In the 1920’s their work included the supply of precast terrazzo and cast stone for the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane.

During the 1970’s they produced  precast concrete panels for the external cladding of Clifton Cathedral  by a method that is similar to the “face-up” way in which an insitu terrazzo floor is traditionally laid, except that the coarse aggregate in the concrete mix was exposed by washing away the cement matrix in order to produce a rough-textured face, instead of grinding and polishing its surface.

The last vitreous mosaic project undertaken by MMC was probably Fairfax House in the early 1960’s. Long since demolished, the site is now the Galleries shopping centre in Broadmead.

Here are some early examples of the company’s marble mosaic work believed to have dated from 1905…

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Terrazzo Lion

Terrazzo Lion

However, it was Stephen’s uncle Joseph (“Beppi” – 1st son of Stephen’s grandfather’s 2nd marriage) who separately set up and operated Ansar Mosaic in the 1960’s. Ansar Mosaic initially produced the glass mosaic tiles at Weston, but it became more cost effective for the business to purchase loose tiles from Italy and then set them into paper-backed sheets here. This change was about the time of the move from imperial to decimal dimensions, so may have been necessary to avoid the costs of converting their machinery. Ansar Mosaic occupied what had been the Arena Works of the Royal Potteries off Winterstoke Road in Weston-super-Mare. Stephen recollects a furnace in the building when he was young and stacks of mesh frames used to arrange the loose mosaic tiles before being backed with brown paper. When Ansar closed, it coincided with Marble Mosaic Company’s need to expand. Marble Mosaic’s therefore bought Ansar’s property and an adjacent plot of land in order to built a larger factory to produce its precast cladding panels. It then transferred the business from Bristol to Weston Super Mare.

So there you have it, a fascinating history! And here are some of my Ansar vintage tiles, although I am still not sure if they were made in Weston Super Mare or Italy! Whichever though they are really beautiful and lovely to use.

Ansar glass tiles

Ansar glass tiles

Thank you Stephen Maddalena from Marble Mosaic Company for the information and photos and thank you Elaine M Goodwin !

🙂

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