Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Please don't stop the music!

When was in my early 20s, I couldn't live a single day without music. I'd put my headphones on and would listen to my favourite tracks. Mostly Depeche Mode. But also Madonna. Occasionally Classical music. There was a time I would listen to Spanish music. It could be while traveling, going to work, doing the housework etc.

A funny thing has been occurring in recent years:
I no longer listen to music on a daily basis the way I did before.
However, I do listen to music but "under special circumstances"; for instance when I need to cheer up or stop thinking or when I'm overwhelmed with emotions (of calm combined with a creative spur or - yes - anger). That's when I turn to music. Not always. But when I do, it works.

Music gives us back some of our lost energy. It creates NEW energy. Music can inspire works of art. For instance, I'd love to create a mosaic inspired by the Dance of the knights (Romeo and Juliet) by Prokofiev, one of my favourite classical pieces. The mosaic I'm thinking of isn't about Romeo and Juliet but it comes from the EMOTIONS when listening to the piece.

Music is a muse who we all need to call as often as we can. She is full of surprises! 

This is what Laur Ivanel, architect/mosaicist did. His work is inspired by music AND it's about music! His calling was to create a series of mosaics for an Irish pub in Constanta, Romania, with a music muse as a central theme. The muse spins the music wheel and every part of the work has a story. What's more, during the process, he discovered and fell in love with the song Dancing with the Muse by Chris Spheeeris which helped him to complete the work!

I can almost hear the music in Laur's work, don't you?

It has that NEW energy I was telling you about. I asked him to tell me a few things about his work.

In his own words:

"I like to transform

from what's not so good
into something with life, soul, second chance
where there is a little bit of disharmony to put a touch of care.
It is about care
in fact
I need this
and I prefer to do work with spaces;
spaces have a life and a soul"

Laur Ivanel, architect and mosaicist based in Romania

  • Do you seek silence or do you want your life to be filled with music?
  • Do you also listen to music on fewer but important occasions as time goes by the way I do?
  • Does your art work tell a story and how is music involved in the process?

Connect with Laur Ivanel on Facebook

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New ancient mosaic discovery in Zappeion (Athens) in Greece

I have just stumbled upon an article in Greek published on 23 June 2013 about a discovery of an ancient Roman times mosaic floor in Athens. The mosaic has survived in parts and it features various geometrical shapes with vine leaves and other vegetal motifs. It's a small portion of a luxurious villa which apparently belonged to an important ruler.

Article in Greek

Please help me continue sharing the passion for mosaic(ology)

Monday, July 8, 2013

MOSAIC TALKS: Interview with Simona Canino

Simona Canino, mosaic artist from Calabria in Italy

From the moment I connected with Simona, we immediately clicked! It has to be because she is a happy and a genuine person with a lot to talk about and share so the idea of asking her for an interview for Mosaicology popped up naturally. Simona talks about how she fell in love with mosaic, how unique mosaic is and gives some interesting tips to mosaic artists. 


(Italian original text after the pictures)

Interview in English

Why mosaic? Why did you choose this specific art medium as a means of self expression?

While I was attending my last year at the scientific high school, I was thinking of choosing to study art and the scenarios that I favored most were basically two: the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (Central Institute for Restoration) in Rome and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Semi-precious stones workshop) in Florence. One day I discovered by chance that there was an old mosaic workshop in the Vatican called the Fabbrica di San Pietro and so we made an appointment and went to visit. It was love at first sight! The Fabbrica’s director was from Friuli and had been a student at the Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli and he told me the nicest things about the school. As soon as I finished high school, my parents and I went to visit the mosaic school in Friuli and naturally I made my decision that SMF was where I would go. My parents encouraged me a lot; the school was 1200km from my home town!

Do you perhaps recall the first mosaic you saw and which one was the first mosaic you created?

The first mosaic I saw was a copy of the Irises by Van Gogh in the Fabbrica di San Pietro. My first mosaic was a way for me to try my first martellina and that was even before going to mosaic school. It was a detail of the “Doves drinking water” from the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna (needless to say the result was horrible!!)

Make a living from art. Few people make it but when it comes to mosaic, things appear more positive since this is an art medium with practical functions. Not just framed pictures but also objects, mosaic for interior design, tables etc. Anyhow, which would you say are the obstacles and the problems that a mosaic artist encounters today?

The main problem is that mosaic is a technique that involves significant costs due to the distinctiveness of the materials employed while the time required to produce a mosaic is long, and as a consequence not everybody can have access to it, especially for mosaics of medium and large dimensions. This is also why I create objects of modest dimensions such as clocks, jewellery, boxes, small mirrors, using also “poor” materials such as shells, tiles, pebbles, terracotta, mirrors and reused wood. However, the colour effects and stunning reflecting qualities of smalti and venetian gold remain unrivaled.

In conclusion, what advice would you give to artists that start their mosaic business now or to those that are trying to establish themselves in the world of mosaic?

I’d advise them to stay, as much as possible, in direct contact with the large traditional mosaic production centres like Ravenna, Spilimbergo and Rome but also try to work for avant-guard companies like Sicis or Bisazza, to learn the ancient techniques well (including restoration), but also to experiment with new materials and methods. Basically, no course of action should be ruled out. 

Check out Simona's website HERE and connect with her on Facebook HERE

Her vibrant, stunning mosaic wall clocks...

Tree in the Spring

Windows to the sea

 Colour and texture

Hook rack with mosaic

And here she is working at a mosaic restoration site in Nora...

Italiano (testo originale)

Perche' mosaico? Perchè hai scelto proprio questa forma di arte come strumento di espressione?

Mentre frequentavo l'ultimo anno del liceo scientifico, pensavo di indirizzarmi verso studi artistici, e le ipotesi da me preferite erano principalmente due: ICR (Istituto Centrale per il Restauro) a Roma, e Opificio delle Pietre Dure, a Firenze. Un giorno per caso scoprii l'esistenza, in Vaticano, di un antico laboratorio di mosaico, la "Fabbrica di San Pietro", così prendemmo appuntamento e andammo a visitarlo. Fu colpo di fulmine :) Il direttore della Fabbrica era friulano, aveva frequentato la Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli e me ne parlò molto bene. Appena terminato il liceo io e miei genitori andammo a visitare la SMF, naturalmente lì decisi che sarebbe stata la mia scelta. Loro mi hanno incoraggiato molto, la scuola era distante 1200 km dalla mia città di origine!

Ti ricordi magari il primo mosaico che hai visto e qual'è stato il primo mosaico che hai fatto?

Il primo mosaico che ho visto è stato una copia degli Iris di Van Gogh, nella Fabbrica di San Pietro. Il primo che ho fatto invece è stato per provare la mia prima martellina, ancora prima di andare alla Scuola di mosaico, era un particolare de "Le colombe che si abbeverano", del Mausoleo di Galla Placidia a Ravenna (inutile dire che il risultato fu terribile!! :P ).

Vivere dall'arte. Pochi ci riescono ma per il mosaico le cose sembrano un pò più positive in quanto è una forma di arte che ha delle funzioni pratiche. Non solo quadri ma oggetti, mosaico come rivestimento per l'interior design, tavoli ecc. Comunque sia, quali diresti che sono gli ostacoli e i problemi che affronta un artista che lavora col mosaico oggi? 
Il problema principale è che il mosaico è una tecnica che comporta dei costi elevati a causa della particolarità dei materiali utilizzati, dei lunghi tempi di realizzazione, di conseguenza non è accessibile a chiunque, soprattutto nel caso di opere di medie e grandi dimensioni. Anche per questo realizzo oggetti di dimensioni modeste, orologi, gioielli, scatole, piccoli specchi, utilizzando anche materiali "poveri" come conchiglie, tegole, sassi, terracotta, specchi e legni di recupero, anche se l'effetto coloristico e di luminosità dato da smalti e ori veneziani resta ineguagliabile.

Infine, cosa consiglieresti agli artisti che iniziano ora o a quelli che stanno cercando di stabilirsi nel mondo del mosaico?
Di restare il più possibile a contatto diretto con i grandi centri di produzione del mosaico tradizionale, come Ravenna, Spilimbergo, Roma, ma anche di provare a lavorare in aziende all'avanguardia come Sicis o Bisazza, di imparare bene le tecniche antiche (anche di restauro), ma anche di sperimentare materiali e tecniche nuove. Insomma, di non precludersi nessuna strada.

Visitate il sito di Simona QUI e connettervi con lei su Facebook QUI.