River Valley Coop, Part 2

After taking a few years off from commissioned work and teaching, I just finished installing a new mural I am very excited about, in the entrance to the new River Valley Coop in Easthampton MA. The coop opened last June

The design features Ursula, the coop’s beloved black bear, paddling a canoe to the shore of Nashawannuck pond, along with a bear cub who is reaching for fish in the water. They are being welcomed to Easthampton by a crew of animals, including a rabbit, fox, deer, dragonfly and turtle. The “everyone is welcome” banner is being pulled by a red tailed hawk, which is a favorite of Easthampton’s mayor, Nicole LaChapelle. Mt Tom fills the background.

I enjoyed designing this, as it was a continuation from the first mural I designed for River Valley Coop’s Northampton store back in 2015. This design shows the growing coop family and celebrates Easthampton, which is where I lived for 10 years.

The mural is 8′ long and 32″ tall. I’ll post a better photo once I have a chance to go there with proper lighting.

2017: The Year in Mosaics

Happy New Year!

This post is dedicated to everyone who took a class in my studio this year and helped to make it a year filled with mosaic inspiration for me. Please enjoy this album I created, with just some of the many many wonderful pieces of art created in 2017.

Thank you for your continued support of my work!

Happy 2018!






Special Workshop with Martin Cheek, Visiting Artist from the UK

Visiting Artist Martin Cheek:

2 Day Portraiture Workshop: Plants, Animals and More

April 7 & 8, 2018 (Saturday & Sunday) 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

This class is now full. Please contact me to be added to the  wait list.

Visiting Artist Martin Cheek:

2 Day Portraiture Workshop: Plants, Animals and More

April 7-8, 2018 (Saturday & Sunday) 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Martin Cheek, a British mosaic artist who has been making mosaics for 30 years, and has written 7  best selling books about mosaics (which you’ve seen in my studio!) will be on a 3 month teaching tour in the US and I’m thrilled to be hosting him to teach in my studio on April 7-8, 2018.

For the past twenty seven years, Martin has run mosaic courses all over the world with the intention, as he says, “to enable others to share in this wonderful medium”. Over two thousand students have participated, many of whom have continued to make mosaics either as a hobby or as a profession.

Martin is known for his sense of humor and his “cheeky birds” that are so well-loved. He is also known for pioneering the use of handmade glass fusions in his work. He will be providing custom made glass fusions for all students, and is ready to start working with you now via email, to create the fusions you need for your mosaic idea. This is a unique and rare opportunity! To read more about Martin and view his amazing mosaic work, visit his website.

For this class, participants will think about what it is they would like to make a mosaic of, and bring with them to the workshop this inspirational reference image. During the workshop we will be working with various materials including stained glass, vitreous glass, ceramic tile and pottery shards, along with Martin’s own hand made fusions to create pieces full of texture, dimension, originality and color. Using examples of Martin’s own work, he will show you how the various materials affect your finished piece. Martin will have on hand, many fused glass pieces to choose from that you can experiment with in your own creations during this workshop, and he can custom make fusions for you ahead of time, based on your specific subject idea for your mosaic. (orders for custom fusions must be placed by January 20, 2018)

No matter what your experience is with mosaic art, Martin addresses each student at his or her level of experience from beginner to beyond.

The course will be lots of hands on work creating mosaic pieces, practical demonstrations, slide-show presentations, and individual instruction, all of which are aimed to ensure that each student learns the art of creating mosaics and learns more about their own creative, personal style.

Glass cutting, shaping techniques and design elements and techniques will be covered. Choose between 2 size substrates: 12 x 12 inches or 16 x 12 inches to work on over the course of the workshop.

Course Fee: $350

Materials Fee: $60

Register now, space is limited!

A deposit of $100 will hold your spot, with the balance due by March 1, 2018.

Pay $100 Deposit

Pay in Full












Fall Mosaic Workshops: Register Now!

Happy Summer Everyone!

These long slow days have finally given me time to plan out my schedule of classes for the fall. I’m taking the summer to work on my own projects, but I’m looking forward to having the studio full of awesome people making a spectacular variety of beautiful work in the not so distant future.

Click here to read full class descriptions and to register.

I’m offering a 6 week series, called the Mosaic Free for All. It will be on Wednesday evenings (6-9 pm) from September 13- October 18.

Also, back by popular demand are Mosaic Stepping Stones workshops. I’m offering this one-night course on 5 different dates. August 30, September 12, October 23, November 16 and December 5.

Please visit my workshops page for full class descriptions and to register, or contact me with any questions. And remember, if you refer a friend who ends up signing up, you’ll receive a 10% discount on your own tuition!

Public Art in Holyoke, Made by Teens


This spring, I had the pleasure of working to create public art with some amazing students at Lighthouse Holyoke.

This program was supported in part by a grant from the Holyoke Local Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


For the past year, students at Lighthouse have been working with the Holyoke Parks Department to secure state funding to renovate a run-down city park around the corner from their school. The school occupies a suite in one of the renovated mill buildings on Race Street by the canals. Soucey Park is just around the corner on Main Street and is in need of some TLC. The students took this on and secured $60,000 to make improvements to the park. They did community surveys to determine what the neighbors want out of their park. Many of the improvements are still in the planning stages, but one thing they agreed upon was public art.

This is where I came into the picture.

The Holyoke Local Cultural Council awarded me a grant to work with the students to create mosaic stepping stones for the park. The students, for whom it was their first mosaic experience, jumped right in and began creating. We discussed public art and the positive impact it can have on a neglected area, making people care more and take pride in their surroundings. The students’ work depicts imagery ranging from a Puerto Rican flag, to the elements of earth, air, fire, water, to landscapes with trees, to hands reaching out, to rainbows, and a yin/yang symbol of balance. They took to heart the impact that their work can have on this public space. I’ll wait to share pictures of these wonderful pieces, until the unveiling in the park later this summer.

In addition, the students each got to make their own small mosaic. The imagery ranged dramatically, including an impressive self portrait, a chili pepper, and more abstract designs.

I loved the opportunity to get to know these students and to experience the culture of their school, which is vastly different from a traditional school setting. Lighthouse Holyoke is about “self-directed learning” where teens choose their own path and are in the company of others doing the same. The school just finished it’s 2nd academic year and held it’s first graduation ceremony last Friday. I feel honored and thrilled to be a part of such an innovative and diverse community, and I salute all of the graduates, especially Alexis Dias, who was one of my students.

Stay tuned for photos of the stepping stones, once they’re installed in Soucey Park later this summer!






Belchertown Library Mural

My Experience as a Visiting Artist in Belchertown

For 6 weeks this past winter, I had the pleasure of working as a visiting artist at Belchertown High School with 3 art classes (a total of 34 students) to design and create a mosaic mural for the town library. The students were a mix of grades 9-12, students of Lori St. Pierre. Lori and I wrote a grant together to the Massachusetts Cultural Council to fund the project.

For many of the students, this was their first awareness of mosaics, though some had seen mosaics in parks or in airports before. We talked about how mosaic art can teach us about a culture. Each student made his or her own mini mosaic- a 4” x 4” work that they got to keep, that also served as a way to practice working in the medium- cutting glass, learning about the way shapes fit together, and the technical aspects of how it all gets attached and grouted. Here are just a few of the wonderfully creative pieces they made:

Then, together as a class, we made lists of ideas of what is special about Belchertown. For some students, this was a challenging exercise, and I can appreciate how hard it is to recognize the uniqueness of where you’re from if you haven’t yet lived in other places! But we came up with lots of subject matter, and the students spent a few days sketching out their ideas. Here are just some of the sketches they made:

Then I worked in my studio, using the students sketches to compose a scene depicting Belchertown. For me, this was the hardest part of the whole project, figuring out how to include a representation of every category of items the students had drawn. I decided to feature the landscape, the Quabbin Reservoir and Swift River, wild animals, farm animals, an apple tree, a maple tree with taps, a ferris wheel to represent the Belchertown Fair, a soccer player and band member, and of course, the Clapp Memorial Library– which was to become the destination of the mural. I had design input from Lori, as well as my mother, Cathy Kenneally, who is somewhat of a legend in the Belchertown schools, having been the elementary art teacher for 20 years. She retired last June.

After February break, I returned to school with a full size color rendering of the design (3’ x 4’) and students got to work making the mosaic.


One at a time, as the sections were completed, we assembled them onto a “master” and students began to work on the background areas. It was a wonderful example of teamwork, compromise and collaboration.


When the whole mural was completed, I did the job of attaching it to a lightweight board, called WEDI board, through a series of flipping sections, spreading mortar to the right thickness, and then assembling a team (including Lori, my mother and one of the school custodians) to help flip the whole thing back over, because by that point it was heavy!

On the last day, we grouted the mosaic:

The installation at the library happened one evening after closing. Greg, the library custodian lent his assistance and my husband Bill was there to help (as he often is when I’m doing an installation). The frame, which was made of steel, by my friend Pat Bennet, was bolted to the wall, and the mosaic secured to the frame with a cleat system. In this way, if they ever need to take it down, it will be easy to do so.

Finally, on April 6, it was time to have our celebration of the mural. We had covered it with paper, to allow for a dramatic unveiling and many of the students and their families attended the event, along with many members of the community- the school board, library trustees and even a photographer from masslive.com. A local baker decorated a big sheet cake to look like the mural, which was so awesome!

I could not be more pleased with this experience, and with the outcome. Belchertown now has a piece of public art to be proud of, and the students who made it will be able to come back year after year, eventually bringing their own children to see the work they participated in. I am so grateful to all who made this possible, especially Lori St Pierre, Sheila McCormick, the Library Director, and to the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Click here to read the article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette about this project.

Click here to read the article in the Belchertown Sentinel about this project.

Click here to view photos of the reception on MassLive.com

Students at the reception


Lori St. Pierre and I, at the Clapp Memorial Library

Spring Workshops! Refer a Friend, Save 10%

With spring VERY MUCH in sight, it’s time to register for mosaic workshops!

Click here to read the full descriptions and to register

I’m also offering an incentive for you to spread the word. If you refer a friend who signs up for a workshop, you’ll receive a 10% discount on your own tuition.
(discounts are given as partial refunds after you sign up)

Here is a summary of what’s being offered this spring:

Mosaic Stepping Stones (several dates to choose from)

This is a popular class because you can finish a project in just one evening. Learn about shape and pattern by creating a unique design to enhance your garden. You can leave them outside year round.

Mosaic Tables (Tuesday evenings, beginning April 18)

In this 8 week series, you’ll create a personalized piece of furniture for your home. Everything is provided, including the handmade wooden table frame. Make something you’ll treasure forever.

New Class: Mosaic Free-For-All (Wednesday evenings, beginning May 17)

This is your chance to make the project of your choice- a mosaic wall panel, house number, flower pot, mirror frame, etc. The possibilities are endless!

New Class:  Mosaic Trivets & Coasters- Earth Day Up-cycling Special! (April 22-23)

Spend Earth Day weekend up-cycling beautiful glass and other materials to make functional mosaics for your kitchen table and coffee table. Great for beginners, but open to all levels.


Visit my website to read the full descriptions and to register.

Remember to tell your friends! Mosaics classes are a really fun thing to do with friends, and you’ll get 10% off your own tuition when your friend signs up for their first class with me. Or, get a group of 6-8 friends or coworkers together and I’ll schedule a class for you at your convenience.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you this spring.

Enjoy the sunshine!



A Collaboration 30 Years in the Making

About a year ago, I was visiting some friends, Laurie and Dan, and we were talking about mosaics.

Dan showed me a couple of mosaics made by his father, Seymour Zukergood, who was a Junior High Ceramics Teacher in Flushing, Queens back in the 70’s. Here is one of those pieces, about 8″ x 10″, made with beautiful, carefully cut ceramic tiles, all fitting together tightly, with precision.



I admired it, and then was even more interested in the next mosaic Dan brought out from a closet. Seymour had begun a replica of a famous painting. He had been working on this shortly before he died in 1976 and it was unfinished. I recognized it as being based on a painting from the Mexican Revolution, but didn’t know who the artist was. We discussed the possibility of me finishing the mosaic.

I took it home that night to see if I could figure out what painting it was based on. I posted the above photo on Facebook and tagged some artist and art historian friends of mine to see what came up. Within a few hours, my friend and former drawing teacher Christy had identified it as a painting from 1931 by Jose Clemente Orozco called Zapatistas Marching:

Orozco was known as one of ‘los tres grandes’ (the big three) Mexican muralists, along with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Each of their styles differed a lot but contained similar content: they depicted Emiliano Zapata, the main leader of the peasant revolution, who had been killed in battle in 1919. This particular painting depicts Zapata’s followers, known as Zapatistas, marching to their death. There is a somber darkness and heaviness to the piece, with a lot of black and red.

So, I began the search for tiles that were similar in thickness, color and texture to the ones Seymour had used to begin the piece. Laurie even searched the attic of Dan’s mother’s house to see if he had stored away the rest of those tiles, but did not find any. I visited with the good people at Arrow Tile, the local specialty tile store, to see if they could help. We did not find anything suitable in ceramic tile, mostly because the tiles he used were extremely thin.

I decided to use glass to finish the job because the thickness matched perfectly and the colors were pretty close. The daunting part for me was getting the pieces to fit together with as much precision as Seymour had. His cuts were beautifully shaped and the rendering of the figures in the bottom was beautiful. He had left me with a couple of large faces to complete, which are the hardest subject matter for me in a mosaic.

I worked to the best of my ability and finished this piece in time for Laurie to surprise Dan with it for Christmas this year. While working on it, I imagined Seymour and his incredible technical skill, patiently piecing together the crowd of peasants marching, wondering what his particular interest was in that subject. I thought of my own grandfather, Edward Sussmann, who, during that same time in the 1970’s, was teaching art at a high school in Forest Hills, less than 5 miles away. Something about the smell of the wood reminded me of my grandfather’s paintings, which are all I have to know him by, because he died when I was only 3 years old. He had spent years in his earlier life hitchhiking and painting his way across the country, his paintings in a large trunk. I’m now imagining that he and Seymour knew each other, though I will never know.

My work as an artist has always made me feel connected to my grandfather and I felt so happy that, in some way, he showed up for me in this project. I am happy to share the outcome of this collaboration, 30 years in the making, and I am grateful to Dan and Laurie for the chance to bring this work up out of the closet to where it now hangs on the wall in the main entryway of their home.

From Trash to Treasure: The Making of a Mosaic Quilt

A few months ago, a woman contacted me and said that she had been looking for a local mosaic artist. She told me that for the past 10 years or so, she had saved the pieces of every special piece of pottery or dish ware that had broken in her house. I was immediately intrigued.

Her idea was to have me make a mosaic out of these treasured bits, to give to her daughter for her 16th birthday, which was just after Christmas.

Beautiful broken bits

I found myself wanting to know all about this young woman, her interests, her style, etc. so that I could create something she would love. Through our conversation, we determined that the mosaic would be in the design of a quilt, somewhat abstract and without a lot of rigid repetition, but with a lot of color. Here is the color drawing we settled on.

There is a parallel between quilting and mosaics, both follow a process of taking objects that previously held one form and function, and cutting and piecing them together to take on a new form and a new significance. This new form becomes a keepsake, telling a collection of stories, old and new. I really enjoyed the quilt research I did for this design.

I wanted this young woman to be able to look at the mosaic and find beauty in it as a whole- in the shapes, colors, textures, and also to be able to look up close at the pieces and recognize them from their ‘past lives’, thus recalling memories she had from those times she used them.

Here is what I created:

And I was thrilled to get an email from my client, the mother of the young woman, right after she had presented the gift. She said that her daughter “loved it, and could not believe her eyes at how so much of our broken pieces could be re imagined so beautifully.  The rest of my family was in awe at how beautiful it is.  Thank you a million times over for the best gift and work of art ever.”

Make a Mosaic House Number This Winter!

Add Fun & Creativity to Your Monday Evenings this Winter

Do you want to spice up the front of your house in a really personalized way? If so, then make a mosaic number plaque for your house!

In response to numerous requests, I am offering this course as a 7 week series on Monday evenings in my studio, beginning January 30. There are a few spots left so I wanted to make sure to get the word out. This will be a really fun way to use a variety of materials (glass, pottery, tile, stone, etc), while working in the indirect method, and creating a functional, customized piece of art for the front of your house. You can include imagery that is special to you, or that reflects the landscape, in addition to the number itself. These are going to be true works of art.

Another special feature to this project is the frame: handmade by local metal sculptor Pat Bennet from Holyoke. You will have your choice between a couple of different sizes of these beautiful steel frames to attach the mosaic to your house.

Read the full description and sign up here. Or contact me if you have questions.

And… gift certificates are available in any amount, so you can gift this class, or a portion of the tuition to a creative friend or family member.

Make this a winter filled with creativity!

Happy Solstice!

Tufted Titmice by Noel Watkins, Student