Fall Mosaics Workshops, Plus a Special Incentive!

Registration for Fall Mosaics Workshops is Officially Open!

Student Work

Student Work

Hello and happy summer everyone!

Summer is still very much here! But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to plan fun and creativity into your fall schedule.

After taking some time off, I am excited to announce my fall class offerings. You will see a mix of familiar classes and new offerings, and I am really looking forward to all of it!

Click here to go straight to the workshop descriptions

This fall there will be:

Mosaic Tables, offered as an 8 week series on Wednesday nights beginning on September 21

Creative Mosaics in the Indirect Method, offered as a 6 week series on Tuesday nights beginning on October 18

Stepping Stones, with 6 different date options on various weeknights and one morning option

and, introducing… my new direct method workshop…

Say it in Mosaic: The Powerful Language of Lines, the weekend of October 15-16.
This new workshop is inspired by my experience of taking some workshops this summer. It’s especially geared for those with some mosaic experience, but open to everyone.

I would love to see you this fall at my studio in Easthampton.

And I would love your help in spreading the word, so I am offering a special incentive:

If you refer a friend who signs up for a class, you’ll receive a 10% discount on your own tuition.
(discounts are given as partial refunds after you sign up)

Student Work

Student Work

Click here to read the full descriptions and to register.

Thank you for your interest in mosaics and in my workshops! I am grateful for all of the support and couldn’t do this without you!
Contact me with any questions.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Best wishes,

Christine

The Art of Transformation: A Yoga, Writing & Mosaics Workshop

I am excited to announce this new workshop that I will be co-leading with Cait Scudder, August 6-7. Please help spread the word!

The Art of Transformation

 

 

Cait Scudder

 

 

Cait Scudder, MATRYT-500, is a yoga teacher, writer and international workshop leader living in Bali. Passionate about creating safe spaces for transformation and expansion, she teaches meditation, yoga and creative writing to groups around the globe.

 

Do you feel stuck? Do you long to get out of your head, into your body and start living a more joyful life? Are you ready to remove the blocks of judgment and self-doubt standing between you and your creative expression? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this workshop is for you!

Join us for this 2-day transformation workshop designed to break down old stories, ignite your creativity, and reconnect you to an embodied sense of wholeness in community. Through a blend of creative writing exercises, gentle all-levels yoga, and a playful exploration of materials, you will be encouraged to craft your story into a mosaic, rearranging the pieces in a way that fuels growth, unlocks expression of self and fosters a sense of connection.

No experience necessary!

Dates: August 6 & 7, 10 am to 3:30 both days
Cost: $230, includes all materials, plus a catered healthy lunch both days

Sunrise over the Range and the Changing Seasons

How a Kitchen Mosaic Came to Life

Throughout this winter and early spring, I designed, created and installed what I feel is my best work to date. The teacher in me feels compelled to share a little bit about the process, I hope you enjoy!

Last fall, my clients Michael and Jette, who have also become good friends, began designing and making plans for a complete kitchen makeover in their house in Florence. Though Michael is a poet and literary translator, he worked for many years as a contractor, so he has done many kitchen renovations. He always knew that when it came time to do his own kitchen, that it would combine the best features that he had seen in all of the others; it would be the kitchen of his and Jette’s dreams. Every single element of the kitchen is custom built, top of the line and very intentional.

As for the mosaic, they knew they wanted an impressionistic style landscape to span the entire kitchen (almost 40 square feet of wall space), including elements of nature such as water, hills, trees, sky, sunrise and sunset. They wanted it to span the different times of day and different seasons of the year. Because their house is surrounded by nature and woods, they wanted to bring that nature right inside the house!

In December, I began working on the design. Here is a picture of one version, which I made minor changes to.
It’s done in watercolors, to scale.

Goldman Painted Design

Michael and Jette were instrumental in the design process, and were very good at communicating what they liked and what they wanted to see changed. I was so grateful for that! Once we were all in agreement about the design, I re-painted it to the full size. Then, I shopped for the materials. I purchased sheets of stained glass from a company called Delphi, and began the epic process of cutting and arranging the pieces, laying them out directly over the full sized design. They were held down temporarily on sheets of contact paper, my favorite method of assembly, called the Double Reverse Method. I worked on this stage for about 6 weeks.

Here are a few pictures of that process:

goldmanprocess1

GoldmanProcess2

GoldmanProcess3

When I was finished, I covered the entire mosaic with another sheet of contact paper, cut it into about 40 sections (each was roughly 1 square foot) and made a map with hashmarks so I would know exactly how the pieces fit back together. This made it easy to stack the sections and bring them to Michael and Jette’s house for installation.

Here are some pictures of the mosaic all cut up!

GoldmanProcess4

GoldmanProcess5

By the time I was finished, it was early April, and the rest of the kitchen had been completed, so it was time to install it! The beautiful wooden countertop and cabinets, the stainless steel sink, the floor, the window had all been replaced and looked stunning. Michael worked with me to install the mosaic, which was wonderful. All of his tile setting experience was so valuable and made the process more efficient than if I had hired someone with less experience to assist me.

We re-assembled the sections of mosaic on the floor in the dining room and peeled off the contact paper from the back side of the glass, so it was face-mounted on the contact paper. Then, we mixed up the mortar one small batch at a time and troweled it onto the wall in sections. Together, we lifted each section of mosaic, carefully so the pieces stayed intact, and affixed them in place on the wall. This process took almost three days. The corner seams and edges around all of the outlets required some extra attention and fine-tuning, but the beauty of mosaic is that it’s all in pieces anyway, so adjustments are a normal part of the process!

GoldmanInstallation

GoldmanInstallation2

Once the mortar started to set, we could peel off the contact paper from the surface. After the mortar had set completely (the next day) we grouted the whole piece. We settled on four different colors of grout, to enhance the design. The goal is that the grout color isn’t the most obvious thing you notice, that it complements the colors of the mosaic. I think we chose the right colors because there is a harmonious feeling.

Overall, I am thrilled with the outcome and very proud to show it off. I am grateful to Michael and Jette for giving me the opportunity to really stretch myself as an artist. They were so supportive and communicative all throughout. This process required me to take risks artistically and to work in an impressionistic style that I hadn’t tried before, but I am intrigued to further explore.

I am excited to take on more projects of this scale, and hope that by sharing the photos and a little bit about the process, I will encounter the next opportunity!

Impressionistic Landscape Mosaic Backsplash, Goldman Kitchen, Florence, MA

Impressionistic Landscape Mosaic Backsplash, Goldman Kitchen, Florence, MA

Click here to see more photos

Mosaic Classes this Spring

With the early arrival of spring, this is the perfect time to plan some creative activities. It’s also time to get out in the garden. The solution to both: Mosaic Garden Stepping Stones classes!

This class is a perfect way to begin exploring mosaics, as you’ll learn all of the basics of design, cutting, patterns and how to select materials. You’ll finish a mosaic in just one evening (4 hours) that will be a personal addition to your garden or walkway and is sure to be a conversation starter. Those who are more experienced in the art of mosaics will also find this class gratifying, and a good opportunity to take their work to the next level.

My new studio in the Paragon Arts & Industry Building in Easthampton is a perfect environment for learning and getting creative. I provide all of the materials you’ll need, as well as ample work space. My teaching style is supportive and fun and I teach you to tap into your own ideas. Sign up with a friend or come on your own and meet other great people. If you refer a friend (someone who has never taken a class with me before) you’ll get a 15% discount on your own registration.

This class is being offered on 6 different evenings this spring. Click here for the dates, details, and to register. Or contact me with questions.

Students in a Stepping Stones class in my former studio (in Florence) last fall. Students in a Stepping Stones class in my former studio (in Florence) last fall. Stepping Stones made by students last fall. Stepping Stones made by students last fall.

Wild about Local: Entryway Mural at River Valley Co-Op in Northampton

Wild About Local! Meet the Bear, Fox, Squirrel and Rabbit

As a member owner of River Valley Co-Op, I learned this summer that a re-branding and renovation was planned for the fall. As a mosaic artist, I began to think about how exciting it would be to create a mosaic mural for the entryway of the store, depicting the adorable new black bear logo with a “wild about local” theme.

Mosaics are made by cutting and assembling many small pieces of various materials into patterns and designs. They are so intriguing to look at, possibly because of how the brain and the eye work together to discern images, pulling together all the disparate pieces. They call to mind how each of the many parts of the whole are so important to the overall design, and how they work together synergistically. It’s a great metaphor for community, unity and diversity.  It is also exciting to look at a mosaic and find recognizable materials, used out of context. Many types of recycled materials and found objects can be used in mosaics, including pieces of broken pottery and china, ceramic tiles, stained glass, figurines, game pieces, stones, beads, cutlery, keys, bottle caps, plastic lids, and other odds and ends from the junk drawer. Thus, mosaic is an art form that can be economical, and environmentally friendly, turning life into a treasure hunt of sorts. These are just a few of the many reasons why I have chosen this as my medium, and why I thought it would be the perfect medium for a welcome mural for River Valley Co-Op.

My initial meeting with Rochelle and Natasha filled me with excitement about all of the possibilities for the design. Our conversation led me toward a cartoonish style, that would be kid-friendly but not too childish, including animals eating and harvesting vegetables. The new Black Bear with asparagus was destined to play the lead role, but I had to cast the other characters, and ultimately decided on the Red Fox, the Rabbit and the Squirrel. Of course, there was no shortage of locally grown vegetables to include in the design. I chose some that would give a variety of colors to enhance the design.   Here is a picture of the sketch that became the blueprint for the mosaic. Some changes were made to the design, such as the wording.

Mosaic drawings are called “cartoons” because they are meant to be nothing more than a simple line drawing. The detail and texture come from the careful arrangement of the mosaic tesserae, or pieces.

After the design was approved and the colors chosen, I set about collecting the materials. I used recycled stained glass for much of the background, and I ordered glass tiles for the areas where I needed specific colors, specifically for the animals’ fur and some of the veggies. Then my friend Steve Theberge, who is a local potter, gave me a box of his mugs, bowls and vases that he had determined to be “seconds”. Some of them were perfect for making tree bark, with great textures and streaks. I did a combination of smashing with a hammer, and careful cutting with a nipper to turn the pottery into perfect mosaic materials. 

Box of Steve Theberge's pottery seconds ready to be cut up and made into pieces of trees.  Box of Steve Theberge’s pottery seconds ready to be cut up and made into pieces of trees.

Arranging the pieces of mosaic on contact paper to form the design. Arranging the pieces of mosaic on contact paper to form the design. Arranging the pieces on the contact paper to form the design. Arranging the pieces on the contact paper to form the design.

Working in this method, called the double indirect method, I have the flexibility to move the pieces around until I’m happy with the arrangement. The contact paper holds things in place just enough for this. When it was all laid out, I covered the top surface with frosty contact paper, so it was sandwiched between two layers.  I took an exacto knife and cut the giant “sandwich” into about 25 large puzzle pieces, cutting through just the contact paper.

Cutting the mosaic into sections like puzzle pieces. Cutting the mosaic into sections like puzzle pieces. The mosaic cut into sections, secured to the contact paper and flipped over.  The mosaic cut into sections, secured to the contact paper and flipped over.

One by one, I flipped the sections over, braced between sheets of cardboard, and peeled the backing. Now the pieces were face down with the back exposed.  Then I prepared my adhesive, which was a cement-based mix called ‘thin set mortar’. I spread it in small sections onto my substrate, a 3’ x 5’ sheet of WEDI board, which is a compressed Styrofoam coated in cement, making it lightweight and rigid.  I have a special technique to make sure I have just the right amount of mortar on the board to hold the sections of mosaic in place, and one section at a time, I spread the mortar onto the board with a notched trowel, tested the thickness, and attached the mosaic. 

Attaching the sections of mosaic to the board. Attaching the sections of mosaic to the board. Securing the sections of mosaic in the mortar. Securing the sections of mosaic in the mortar.

After the adhesive set for about 15 minutes, the tesserae were secure enough that I was able to peel the contact paper off the surface and allow it to continue curing for at least 24 hours. Then it was time to grout. Grout is the colored cement based substance that fills the gaps between all of the tesserae and serves to unify the design a bit more. I used a few different colors of grout for different sections of the mosaic, carefully smooshing it into place in a circular motion, and then wiping the surface clean. Then, 72 hours later, after the grout cured completely, I gave the surface of each piece a final polish. Then it was ready to install! I was so excited to collaborate with my friend Pat Bennet, a local sculptor, who built the steel frame and cleat system to attach the mosaic to the wall in a way that leaves almost no mark and can be easily moved if it ever needs to be.

Pat Bennet securing the steel frame to the wall in the entryway of River Valley Coop. Pat Bennet securing the steel frame to the wall in the entryway of River Valley Coop.

I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to create this mural for River Valley Coop, a store I love to shop at, with a mission I’m passionate about. I also have a passion for spreading awareness about the art and technique of mosaics, which has been practiced for centuries and is now going through a contemporary resurgence of popularity. In addition to designing and creating custom mosaic installations, I teach workshops for adults and teens on the process described here. I hope that this mural will make people smile when arriving at River Valley Co-Op, and feel welcomed by all of the friendly animals. 

Holiday Show Schedule

Introducing the Bits of Bling Series! Mosaic Jewelry Set in Sterling Silver Introducing the Bits of Bling Series! Mosaic Jewelry Set in Sterling Silver

I can’t believe that it’s already time for this, but it’s happening!

I hope to see many of you on the holiday shopping circuit over the next several weeks!

Here is a list of where you can find me and/or my work. (jewelry, stepping stones, greeting cards, herbal skin care products, and more)

Snow Farm Seconds Sale
November 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29. 10am – 4 pm each day. This is a fundraiser for Snow Farm and a wonderful way to visit the beautiful campus, shop in the ‘studios-turned-galleries’ and have lunch in the café.

Arts & Industry Open Studios in Florence
November 14 & 15, 10 am -5 pm. 221 Pine Street . (I’ll be in the hallway on the 2nd floor)

Holiday Craft Sale, home of Laurie Herrick, Glassblower
December 5, 3 pm-8 pm.
231 Madison Ave West, Holyoke. (Please RSVP if you plan to come to this event since it’s in a private home. We’ll have food and drinks for everyone too!)

Small Works Show & Sale, Easthampton City Arts+

December 10, 6:30-9:30 pm (Holiday Bash) and December 12, 5-8 pm (Art Walk) Old Town Hall, Easthampton

Sticks & Bricks Trunk Show

December 11, 5-8 pm (during Art’s Night Out)
Market St, Northampton

Thread Arts Collective Holiday Pop-Up

December 12, 12-9 pm, Cottage St, Easthampton

Cedar Chest, Thorne’s Market, Northampton
Beginning in mid-November, my stepping stones will be for sale on the 2nd floor, as part of regular store merchandise, not just for the holidays!

My greeting cards are always for sale at:

Cup & Top Café, Florence

Acadia Herbals, Northampton

 

 

My Upcoming Show at Sticks and Bricks

My Upcoming Show Description:

Smashed and Whole Again

Christine Kenneally creates mosaics that are both expressive and functional.  She works with beautiful, yet often discarded objects like stained glass, broken china, and ceramic tile. She transforms these materials by either smashing them or very carefully cutting them, and giving them new life in a completely different arrangement of pattern, line and movement. This process represents the ebb and flow of nature and our lives; birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Come explore nature, wildness, joy and the amazing flow of our lives with Christine’s mosaic tables, stepping stones, jewelry and framed wall hangings. Opening reception on August 14 during Arts Night Out, 5-8 pm. Sticks and Bricks is located at 9 Market Street in Northampton. 

 

Skin Therapy, The Story Behind My New Line of Herbal Body Products

Skin Therapy: My Story

Making mosaics involves a lot of repetitive motion. Nipping glass and tiles causes continuous contraction of the muscles and tendons in the hand. About a year and a half ago, I was working on a very large commission (a total of about 35 square feet of mosaic) and this repetitive motion caught up with me in a painful way. I had a tight deadline and so I was working 10 + hour days. One morning, I found that I couldn’t lift my coffee cup (a tragedy) and so I knew I needed to take action.  I had to keep working so I could finish on time!

The back story here is that for the past three years, I had been studying herbal medicine with a wonderfully wise and gifted herbalist, Brittany Nickerson www.thymeherbal.com and so I had learned how to use plants to make home remedies for many common things. I already believed in the power of plants to enhance our lives and our health. I had been reading about the importance of paying attention to what I put on my skin- as the skin is so permeable and whatever goes on the skin goes right into the bloodstream.  Avoiding products with unrecognizable and harmful ingredients was important to me. I’ll talk more about the specifics of this in another post.

I went to Cornucopia, a local health food store and asked for a skin salve that would help tendon pain. They recommended a wonderful product made by a company called Kuumba. Massaging this onto my hand, wrist and forearm (along with altering the way I used my glass nipper) reduced the pain in a miraculous way. Looking at the list of ingredients and seeing that they were all familiar to me, I began to think that I could make my own blend.

Over the past 10 months, I have been crafting a variety of herbal body products, using a few of my favorite plants and sharing them with friends to get feedback. The consensus has been “You have to start selling these products!”.  I”ve made salves for reducing repetitive motion strain and bruising, salves for cuts and cracks in the skin (grouting mosaics causes this in a big way!) salves for itchy heat rash and bug bites, lotions and body butters for moisturizing and nourishing the skin, lip balms, room sprays and massage oils. I feel really good about all of the ingredients I use. My rule is: if I wouldn’t eat the product, then I wouldn’t put it on my skin! (not that I necessarily recommend eating them, but it’s not out of the question!).

After months of trying out various formulations, recipes and having fun being creative, I am now finally launching my first two products, with a third on the way very soon and more to follow hopefully in the next few months.

My line of products is called Skin Therapy and the first two products are: Whipped Body Butter, and Hand Repair Moisturizing Salve. The label features a mosaic that I made of a calendula flower (one of the main ingredients!).

I make both of these in very small batches (6 ounces of product at a time) so that I can have a high level of control over the outcome. I infuse the calendula and comfrey into the olive oil in a way that does not involve heating the oil (which can cause the oils to break down and lose quality). I work in a professional and very clean manner, in my home kitchen. I infuse the products, and the process with love and the intentions of helping and bringing happiness to people. This part is important to me, regardless of whether you believe it makes a difference or not. I am happy to answer questions you may have about the products.

You can read all about these products on my website, including information about how to purchase them, as well as profiles of each ingredient. Click here

Please contact me with any questions.

This is my personal story and it is not meant to treat, diagnose or cure any illnesses or diseases and should not be used in the place of medical advice.

 

Teaching and Learning

I was at Snow Farm again this weekend, teaching a 3 day class. While no two groups are ever the same, I am struck by how distinctly different this group was from my last group 2 weeks ago. This weekend, the studio was filled with a palpable sense of curiosity, experimentation and willingness to take chances. There were five amazing women in the class, each with varying levels of experience. They supported and helped each other in a way that was inspiring and made me feel very proud. One student, who has taken several classes with me, even helped me do some of the demos. The learning, I believe, went way beyond the stunning finished works, but was evident in the way each person embraced the process- asking questions, pushing through moments of uncertainty, and even deciding to change direction completely.  I was reminded of my own beginnings with mosaics and the excitement I felt about the process of playing with the arrangement of shapes and allowing myself to react to it. I am so grateful for the experience and for the chance to work with and learn from such exceptional women. 

Here are the finished works!

And here are a few pictures of the work in progress.

The magic of teaching and learning really came alive for me this weekend. 

I will be teaching two more classes at Snow Farm this year, August 2-8 and October 24-25.

Starry Night Sky with Ocean

Mosaics at Snow Farm

Student work, made by Kate M. 

Student work, made by Kate M. 

I just got home from teaching a weeklong class at Snow Farm. What an incredible week! Even though it’s only 25 minutes from my house, I decided to live there for the week to make it as much of an immersion experience as possible. So basically, I got to spend my week in the most beautiful place in the world, with other artists and students, doing what I love most, and not having to worry about cooking or washing dishes!

The group was organized through Road Scholar, so it was ages 55+. There were 8 students in my class, with various levels of experience.. About half of them were brand new to mosaics and  the other half had some experience, including one woman who has taken my weeklong class at Snow Farm for the past 3 years in a row. Everyone was from out of state, including 2 women from the west coast and one from the south. 

They  all made beautiful work, and demonstrated one of my favorite things about mosaics: everybody has a different style and approach to this medium, and the work is always so varied and exciting! I learned new things from the work they did, particularly through problem solving some of their ideas about using unorthodox found objects, like beaded chain to make a flower, and adding raised components. One guy even found a rock outside and turned that into a base for a mosaic! 

I taught them both the direct and indirect methods. Most of them preferred working in the indirect method (building a mosaic temporarily on contact paper, flipping it over, and then attaching it all at once to the final substrate from the back side). Four students made stepping stones. My proud teacher moments came when I saw my students helping each other, and overheard them explaining the process to others, which told me that they really understood and took pride in what they were learning.  

We finished the week with a Gala and Auction, where they got to display their creations. Some people donated a piece to the auction to raise money for improvements to Snow Farm.  The class collaborated to make a stepping stone to donate to the auction. It turned out beautifully!

I left with a feeling of tired contentment. 

And I’ll be back in just a few days to teach the Memorial Weekend Intensive (Saturday thru Monday). My class still has a few spaces, so this is your chance to get in on the Smashing Good Times. 

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