Greetings From Gila Mosaics Studio!
I don't know how it was for you, but my spring has flown by in a flash. My Texas road trip was a huge success. I taught 3 workshops, met so many fun, talented people & dogs, ate a ton of delicious BBQ and plenty Tex-Mex food. Though I'm a bit worn out, I'm also inspired!
My most exciting news to share with you today is being invited to Chicago's Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics in an exhibit entitled American Mosaics Now. t's quite an honor to be invited & I couldn't be more thrilled! Below is the invitation for the opening reception on June 10th, with a detail of my work, "Brain Drain"..... 2nd from the left
I'd love for you to check it out if you find yourself in Chicago over the summer.
Next week I head out to the West Coast to film an exciting new online course at Mosaic Arts Online headquarters. (more details on that later!) and to teach more workshops. There are still a few spots open in the Bird workshop in Tijuana, June 16-18. This will be my 3rd year teaching at Casa Valencia, a great studio in an amazing location. We always have a wonderful time there, very relaxed atmosphere & of course wonderful local cuisine. There are 2 hotels walking distance from the studio making it very convenient.
This "Funky Toucan" that I recently completed is an example of what we'll be creating in the workshop, and is available for purchase.
Until next time, stay cool & creative!
March is here and Spring is in the air. Despite the fact that today we're having a final blast of cold, there's spring in my step & lots going on in my studio. I'm excited to fill you in on some of the highlights!
Friday night I attended the opening of the Pensacola Museum of Art Juried Member's Show. Like many people there, it was the first time in over 2 years, being out and about mingling face to face, which felt really nice & little extra special.
I really loved seeing my work, "Forward Thinking" hanging in the large gallery where he looked quite striking from across the room! He was created last year as I thought a lot of the uncertainties of the pandemic situation &what the future might bring. I find him quite compelling, with many little details that are hard to see in a photo. Modeled after a Scottish artist, he's #64 of 68 in my ongoing series of contemporary artists from around the world. The exhibit runs thru May 29, 2022. I hope you'll have a chance to visit.
Quite a bit different than my usual style, "Beyond City Limits", is currently in a Mosaic Landscapes online exhibit. The show runs thru March and can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/LandscapeMo.
There will be a viewer's choice award, which you can vote for while you're there. If you like my work, I'd love your vote 😍😉.
Here's a little detail....
Both works above are available for purchase.
On the teaching front, I'm looking forward to conducting a workshop in my own studio, the first in 5 years, in a couple of weeks. Thanks to those of you who let me know of your interest in more of my home based workshops, following my last newsletter... more dates to come!
Here's a quick list of my current workshops coming up On the Road ...
They're filling fast so don't wait if you're interested!
Dallas TX - April 21-24 - sold out
Dallas TX - April 27-30 - a few spots remain
Austin TX - May 3-6 - 2 spots remain
Fullerton CA - June 2-4
Tijuana Mexico - June 16-18
All workshop dates, locations & links to register can be found here
I hope all is well in your world. Until next time...
Be well & stay creative!
Lots of love,
It was essential that the work be multi dimensional, not flat. In preparation, I began experimenting with multi-layered substrates to test out how the structure would be built, before leaving for Italy. I wanted to be sure that everything would work out in the limited time frame we would have on site in Ploaghe.
Once I had this figured out, I felt confident that I could execute my plan on site in Sardinia. I'm very happy for that preparation, as it helped everything to move along smoothly one I arrived on site. Here's my completed Symposium work.
"Find Your Own Path and Leave a Trail"
70 x 100 cm - Smalti, dinnerware, ceramic, stone, cork, cork tree bark & sea polished tile
A few months after my return from Sardinia, I was eager to get back to the experimental layered substrate, and finish the work which had played such a significant role in my success at the symposium.
19" x 12" x 3" - Dishes, stone, ceramic, stained glass, fused glass, gold
& mother of pearl shells, on a hand build cementitious substrate.
About a year later, I created yet another from the same series of drawings. There are more drawings in the series, so there may be more on the way.... Which way?
"Which One Way"
20" x 16" - dinnerware, hand made ceramic, vitreous and stained glass
"Choose Wisely" & "Which One Way" are available.
A list of other available works is here.
Please take a look here If you would like to discuss a commission.
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Let me know you were here by leaving a comment!
I hope your 2022 has gotten off to a great start!
As the new year began, I decided that for the 1st time in 5 years, I'd schedule a workshop in my home studio in Perdido Key! To my delight & surprise, it sold out in 3 days! I definitely plan to schedule more of those, so If you would like to be on my advance notification list, please let me know. My PK studio workshops will always be limited to 5-6 participants.
Beginning in April I have more workshops scheduled - On the Road Again!
Rockwall (Dallas) @ Hidden Mosaics
April 21 - 24, 2022 (sold out)
April 27 - 30, 2022
May 3 - 6, 2022
More info on in person & online workshops, here.
It was an honor for me to be asked to create an artwork for this project, which will be exhibited at the Skirball Museum in Cincinnati Ohio from Feb. 24 - May 8, 2022.
'From Darkness To Light: Mosaics Inspired By Tragedy', is a collection of 36 mosaic works created in response to and in commemoration of the lives lost in the horrific mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh PA in 2018.
My mosaic centers on the word LIFE, CHAI in Hebrew. My simplified version of the tree of life, includes eleven branches, each topped with a golden leaf, to symbolize each of the eleven lives lost on that tragic day. On a more personal note, my father's name, Chaim, is derived from the same root. As a first generation American, daughter of a holocaust survivor, I grew up with a keen awareness of antisemitism, and have always tried my best to eradicate hatred and bigotry from my own life.
Until next time, L'Chaim - To Life!
Much love, Gila
I often turn to my extensive Asian travels for inspiration. This work, "Love Buddha", was derived from photos I shot with my old Nikon FG while traveling in Laos and Cambodia in the late 1990's.
A few of my original source photos & inspiration
One of the things I love most about this piece is it's dimensionality & incorporation of mirror, which casts wonderful light and color around its environs throughout the day and changing seasons. You can see that a bit in this photo from a gallery show.
Rachel wasted no time in getting my portrait of John Moskal, Master of Horse on the wall of The Ruins. It's the first mosaic to be installed in this room, now dubbed The Stable. Follow the project to see how this important aspect of the mining story develops with additional workhorses, mules and such.
Unpacking the pieces, 7 in total. The torso & portrait were the first to go up.
& here we see the the final piece being put in place!
Tada - Master of Horse complete!
Earlier this year I was invited to create a portrait for an ongoing, international collaborative mosaic installation at The Ruins Project in Western Pennsylvania. The project, located on the Great Allegheney Passage, at an abandoned coal mine site, celebrates the rich history of the coal mining industry.
My subject, John Moskal, was born in 1887 in Poland, and immigrated to the United States in 1907. He joined other family members who already lived in Whittsett PA and began working in the coal mines. He, and other members of his family, worked in the mines, until it shut down in 1946.
This small black and white photo is the only one I received of him with a horse, to use as my reference. Definitely a challenge!
These are a couple other photos of a younger John with his daughter
& later in life with his wife, Kathryn.
I began by drawing several freehand sketches, coming up with a simple "cartoon"
from which to begin the mosaic work.
details of the work & color pallet
For his face I used Italian, Mexican & Chinese Smalti.
I started with the eyes, and worked outwards from there.
Next I moved on to creating his hat, altering the cap from the original image into a hard hat. I used the bottom of a crystal glass to represent the the miner's light. Ceramic & crockery shards were used for the remainder of the hat. I love the texture & interest that the crockery rims creates.
Next came his shirt & sweater, using a combination of marble and unglazed porcelain, to create additional textural contrast. I was delighted to find this horse image, in my stash of dishes, to button up his shirt.
Next came the all important horses, flanking the portrait/
Again starting with simplified drawing as my guide.
I felt the need to use some metal pieces for the horses' bridles. I was thrilled when Rachel, the proprietor and creative genius behind The Ruins , found & sent me a few wonderful rusty bits (below) that were scavenged at The Ruins. Equally fun, was finding a way to incorporate them into the mosaic.
Rachel sent 3 small rusty circles, but I needed one more. I created a 4th, faux rusty ring, using metallic Mexican Smalti. The horses themselves are all marble and stone, cut by hand with the traditional hammer & hardie. I also found glass taxidermy eyes in my stash, which give them a realistic look. One in particular, is forever staring back at the viewer!
Once the horses were complete, I moved on to
grouting the hat & sweater sections.
The portrait of John Moskal, Master of Horse, complete & pieced together!
It was my intention to visit The Ruins in early September to install the work myself, but due to the ongoing pandemic situation, alternate plans have been made. The mosaic will be shipped to The Ruins & installed by Rachel, before the cold sets in!
To get ready for shipping, I laid out all the pieces, taped & marked them for installation alignment, and wrapped each section for safe shipping.
Next time we see Mr Maskal, he'll be part of The Ruins Project landscape!
Thank you Rachel for inviting me to be a small part of your larger vision.
It's an honor to hang with the ever growing international list of artists
whose work is already, and has yet to be, installed there!
I anxiously await what comes next & being able to visit in person!
My meditative mosaic continues to grow.
Here is where I last left off... (see previous post)
A few details thru the magnifying glass!
As I run out of material, which is quickly happening with most of the materials I started with, the search for additional materials intensifies! With each new material I try to find a way to create smooth transitions. All the while, working intuitively on one area at a time.
In this section I introduce polished hematite stones.
"Hematite grounds and protects us. It strengthens our connection with the earth, making us feel safe and secure. It endows us with courage, strength, endurance and vitality. A "stone for the mind", Hematite stimulates concentration and focus, enhancing memory and original thought."
Finally, I stopped by our local Earth Products business, fortunately its just down the road from me, for more slate. I collected several types, each with its own properties and learning curve when it came to chopping it up. The lighter color is the most flakey, and the darker, much harder.
I started with an outward burst using the soft, sandy colored slate, interspersed with colorful smalti (glass).
Most recently I've begun introducing some larger chunks of slate, layed flat, and at last, pottery shards are thrown into the mix. I still don't know where this is headed, & I'm fine with that. I'm enjoying the process and being in the moment as I select & set each piece.
What I'm working on now has become a meditative process. Moving intuitively from the center outwards, I set up one simple rule, to form a border, in grey scale, around each piece. Beyond that, I'm enjoying making choices piece by piece. With minimal cutting, the chunks remain, for the most part, in their organic form, juxtaposed with the very regular straight lines of the manufactured border tiles.
The idea for this piece came as a direct outgrowth of the series of small works I created just before starting this work. See - Etude series
The predominant material is home-made "rocks", which I created a couple years ago, with variously tinted mortars. Once they are fully cured, I cut them with a hammer & hardie into smaller workable pieces. For the most part I am using the riven edges, which exposes the color & provides textural interest.
Want to learn how to create your own mortar tesserae?
I suggest you check out Julie Sperling's online course.
A bit more explanation, show & tell, directly from my work table.
Apologies for the clunkiness of my video editing, as I attempt to climb that learning curve!
& a little peak at that transition beginning...
Thanks for stopping by.
let me know you were here, by leaving your thoughts in the comments.
Until next time..... ciao!
At long last, one year after my mosaics were installed, I've finally had a chance to visit the garden & see them in situ. It was a very hot summer day, but I wanted to take the opportunity for a short visit. The garden at this time of year was overgrown, yet still vibrant with colorful flowers.
A quick stroll thru the garden.
Photo by Mark Morris
Here I am, with Vaughn, who commissioned the mosaics.
Hopefully I'll be able to visit again in the spring and get an unobscured view of the mosaics from a distance. In any case, I'm very happy with how they look and were hung, as is Vaughn, which is really most important!