Recently returned from Hertford, NC where I installed a large mural in the Hoffer River House. The mural is the creative inspiration of owners Mamie and Ken Hoffer and features Thomas Jefferson walking in a conservatory with a woman friend. The Hoffer River House is a beautiful event venue created by this delightful couple for charitable functions. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the venue offers a performance stage, a ballroom, upper and lower kitchen areas, gorgeous staircase, patios, dining areas with many wonderful function areas.
The Hoffers admire Thomas Jefferson as a great historical person. The mosaic mural features Thomas Jefferson walking in a conservatory garden with a rendition of his woman friend, Marie Cosway, with flowers, birds, a large birdhouse, plants and foliage. The mural is approximately 9ft tall by 19 feet wide and is located on a wall in the pool house.
It was a pleasure to work with this generous and civic minded couple. The Hoffer River House is an incredibly beautiful venue situated along the river delta, with a private pier, osprey nest, cypress trees and all manner of birds and wildlife set around a pristine and wonderfully cultivated formal garden.
Murals at Stanford Shopping Center
It's been our normal chaos since returning from Artprize in Grand Rapids, MI (we were excited to place in the top 10 out of over 1,500 entries!) in October. In early November, we spent time in Palo Alto, CA installing a commercial mosaic mural (lavender fields in Provence...nice!) at the Stanford Shopping Center.
Wall niche mural Parkland, FL
Then, we got to work on several custom residential murals for a newly
constructed home in Parkland, Fl. There we created a mosaic "frame" for a large
window (18ft high by 11ft wide with a swatch across) with vines, flowers and
birds. In the same home, we created a custom mural based on the artist/home
owner's design for a wall niche.
Louisiana residential kitchen landscape mural backsplash series
Next, we installed a series of custom kitchen mosaic backsplash murals in a lovely Louisiana residence. This landscape mural was carried around the kitchen in four parts with the main mural behind the range. We also installed an abstract mural in the home's theater room.
Flowers in a Sunny Room
In between, we've been carving out some time to do some new fine art mosaics to hang at the Northwest Mosaic Artists show happening in March and April 2013 at Tacoma's Handforth Gallery. We will be showing Garden Party, Storm Rushing In and Flowers in a Sunny Room at this event.
Hope to see you there!
Things have been busy! We have been working on proposals and getting some designs going for a few new projects.
When we start a new custom design, the first step is to talk to the client and get an idea of what they want. Then we create a proposal of the image. This image often times will start out as a painting which we will then edit in Adobe Photoshop, and continue to tweak things until we get the “Go-Ahead” from the client. It’s a time consuming process but worth it to get all those details figured out!
Along with working on new design work, we have been preparing for two big jobs. First, we are extremely excited to be creating some custom pieces for a newly constructed skin care boutique that features some wonderful beauty products.
Below you’ll see a picture of the project in its current state – there is still a bit of work to be done but it’s coming along well!
To keep ourselves even more occupied, we have also entered the ArtPrize contest in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This has been quite the project but we are so glad to be involved with it! This unique contest involves local businesses and organizations “hosting” art pieces, and folks from around town come and vote for their favorite art work. Voting runs from September 19th - October 7th and is open to the entire public. We created a three panel image titled “Return to Eden” – see the picture above and the page on our site for more information . Check out the ArtPrize website for more information. We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing community of artists!
More to come about our upcoming projects!
The color of the year, Tangerine Tango is showcased here with a custom wall finish by Anna Donahue
This interior designer from Grand Rapids, MI really knows how to blend art in all its forms into a design space. She found her love of interior design to be an extension of her career as a fine artist. As part of her degree in Fine Arts and Communication Arts education, Anna became an expert on color theory. “I believe it is the most important part of the color conversation in interior design, creating the mood of the room.” All the aspects of color in the design (paint, drapery, fabric, flooring, décor, etc.) become an art event with the room as her canvas. With over 20 years and hundreds of interior design projects to her credit, she knows how to get the job done.
Anna Donahue designed this office foyer with welcoming warm colors and modern furniture
Anna works on all kinds of interior design projects, about 30% commercial, 10% liturgical, some health care and assisted living space with the remainder residential. She will design unique drapery, upholstery, wallpaper, rugs, etc. to fit the individual project and send the original design out to a subcontractor for fabrication and possibly an interior decorator for installation. Her design studio AK Donahue Designs offers a large variety of services, from drafting and architectural drawings, furniture and décor selection and design, structural changes to better fit your needs, flooring, drapery, paint color selection, and just about anything you could need to pull together the design for your space.
A Dramatic and comfortable retreat is surrounded by a colorful ceiling and wall mural by Anna Donahue
When I asked her if she had a particular style that she enjoyed working with, Anna said that she works with everything, from modern, transitional, historical to eclectic. "Everything is in style today, you don’t have to go with the colors or styles of a particular era (mauve, for instance) but rather choose what is most personal to you." This can mean a variety of styles in one space, mixing modern pieces in a historical setting. It’s about finding your own unique and individual style, then making it all happen.
Modern art sets off this bright and colorful room designed by Anna Donahue
One of the interesting things I have found in talking to Anna is her generosity of spirit. She recently worked on the interior
design of a nursing home and donated her time teaching an art class to the residents. She has donated her time and talents to many community, civic and humanitarian organizations, leaving a beautiful legacy of art.
Anna works to build a relationship of trust, communication and energy to create a unique and beautiful space. Check out her beautiful work or contact her via her webpage at AnnaDonahue.com.
Anatomy of a Custom Mosaic Backsplash
One of our favorite types of mosaic projects is to create custom kitchen or bathroom mosaic backsplash, mural or bath insert. We work either directly with the homeowner, or in many cases, with their interior design professional. People generally find us through our website or by referral, and we work all over North America. It starts with a contact from someone wanting a unique element in their home, but also something practical for cleaning and maintenance. Mosaic is ideal for this kind of application.
We generally will need the following information to get started:
Size of the space
What kind of surface covering is adjacent to the mosaic
The general style of the home
Ideas for design (botanical, still life, abstract, landscape, etc.)
Level of detail desired
From there, we work up some design sketches and quotes for several options with a timeline and various materials options. We work back and forth via the internet or over the phone with the client or the designer until the design is exactly what the client wants. This is then colorized so that the client will be able to see the different color options which we can also overlay into a photo of the space. After this colorized version is approved, we use it to create a full size pattern which we will use in piecing the mosaic. Below is a colorized design sketch for a large mosaic mural for a kitchen in La Jolla, CA
We will then start the piecing process, sending photos along the way to the client and designer. This way, if they see anything they would like adjusted, we can make those changes. We believe in giving the client something they will love each and every day. Most of us spend a lot of time in our homes and it should be a source of pleasure.
For smaller mosaics, like a backsplash behind a stove, we will generally grout and adhere the mosaic to 1/4" cement board to be installed directly to the wall onsite. Many clients will frame the mosaic with a stone or tile molding which ties into the remainder of the backsplash area. For larger murals, we are available to come to the clients site and install the mosaic, or it can be installed by a tile professional. Below is a photo of the La Jolla kitchen after installation of the mural as well as some samples of other kitchen projects.
Orange County House of Design 2009 Mosaic barfront and backsplash
Gumbo Pot Mosaic Backsplash
Floral Kitchen Mosaic Backsplash
Florida Residential Mosaic
Browse through the Gallery section for more projects and details!
It's interesting how creativity works... The winter months tend to be a bit calmer for us, workwise, and I find that my creative mind takes a bit of a break too. For about two weeks. Then I have a bit of time to feverishly come up with some new artwork so I plan new pieces, both mosaics and paintings. At this moment, we have three new art mosaics on the studio tables and 5 new oil paintings with base coats on and drying in the studio. Then, all of a sudden, we're too busy to finish any of them, and back in the middle of chaos. Not to say that chaos isn't wonderful and very enjoyable all on it's own. It's fun and we get to meet some of the most terrific people in our business. It's very satisfying creating something that people will enjoy for a long time to come. That said, mosaic art is extraordinarily time consuming. It can take an entire day to piece one really detailed square foot of mosaic so you don't take free time lightly.
Time management is one of the big issues, I think, with most people who make their living outside traditional employment. When you have work, you work on the job (or jobs) at hand. There is, after all, the mortgage to pay... Then, when you ship those mosaics out the door, all the paperwork is waiting for you. Sometimes not so patiently. There are so many administrative and marketing tasks to do in the down time that it never seems like we have time to do art just for the sake of art. I think that's truly one of the biggest challenges of an artist. That time to create just for the joy of it; to develop as an artist, at some point, has to take priority over all of the other tasks. It's the only way that you can really evolve and if it has to happen on the weekends and evenings and you don't get much sleep, so be it! It's worth it.
We are Carl and Sandra Bryant of Lynden, WA and this is the first entry to our mosaic blog. We've been mosaic art crazy for about 10 years and have been working mostly in glass mosaic with some handmade stoneware pieces fired in our kiln. We also incorporate semi precious stones and beads in some of our mosaic work, but primarily, it's glass. I love the color and the interaction between transparent glass and opaque so that your eye will see texture and variety just in the depth of transparencies. In the last year, we've done several mosaic public art commissions. One for the Providence Hospital new construction in Everett, WA called the Providence Triptych which is an abstract art piece in a flow of planets and comets in a night sky. The second mosaic artwork was done in Wheaton, Il at the St. Francis High School where we created a mural for three sides of an elevator, of all things. This elevator mosaic mural was fun as the woman I worked with was very excited and had a lot of wonderful ideas. The third large mosaic public art was created for the Washington State Arts Commission and is approximately 260 square feet. This large mosaic mural was created in two parts, one large mural along two walls in the attrium and one smaller for the entry at the Nelson Elementary School in Graham, WA. There are all kinds of birds and animals in this mosaic mural with a focus on Navigation, history and exploration. This mural is called Heritage. It's been a busy and productive year but I'm looking forward to a bit of time to create some new mosaic fine art to add to our inventory!