Teaching Ethos

Hammer and Hardie Sonia King Mosaic ArtistThe goal of my workshops is to offer both skills and knowledge that will be of benefit to students over the long term. I hope to impart an elevated sense of what mosaic art can be as well as both practical and artistic insights, enabling participants to push their work to the next level. The focus is on the development of each student’s artistic voice. I don’t want teach how to make one of ‘my mosaics’, but rather the skills and expertise that have helped me succeed using mosaic as the medium for my personal self-expression. I am happy to share everything I know to help people in developing their own unique voice, figuring out what mosaic can be for them and moving closer to discovering their place in the world of mosaic art. The workshops are empowering and encouraging to mosaicists at all stages. Some prior mosaic experience is recommended.

Technically, there is extensive work on cutting techniques, various materials, laying styles as well as discussions covering a variety of topics including ergonomics, adhesives, substrates, tools, framing and hanging, the business of art, etc. Critical thinking and problem solving strategies for design and implementation will be used throughout the class. Participants work on projects of their own choosing with lots of individual attention, dealing with issues specific to their own work. However, all class members are invited to participate in the discussions so there is a high level of learning from each other. Diverse levels of expertise encourage a wide variety of discussions. Expect to leave the workshop with a great deal of meaty knowledge that will be useful long after the class.

There are several ways to think about your project. It might be an abstract or representational piece, in glass, smalti, ceramic, china, any combination or any material you want. You may choose to explore something new (a technique, materials or style), or to push your existing style and materials to new places or to just soak up the experience. It doesn’t matter what style you work in or your preferred materials. Some participants will come with a fully thought out idea/design while others will choose to be inspired by the materials or the discussions. You can create what strikes you, what inspires you, what is fun for you. I’m there to help you explore new things, learn new skills and assist in taking your work to a new level, if that’s what you want. The atmosphere will be relaxed with no pressure. Possibilities include creating a work exploring light, reflectivity and transparency; a sampler of different laying styles; working on cutting with a variety of tools or even an inquiry into textural and surface techniques. If you want to try new things, I would consider limiting the number of those. Trying to learn too much at once often means not learning any of them in depth. For many, the project will evolve during creation. If one is creating to a definitive plan, it often doesn’t leave a lot of room for artistic interpretation. Therefore, even if you have a design or a plan, I recommend staying flexible about the process. That allows you to make decisions in class where we can talk about various possibilities and their implications. That process will help you make decisions on your own for future projects.

Please be open to the possibility that you may not finish your project in class. (If you don’t finish, we’ll certainly discuss how to proceed so you don’t go home with unanswered questions). Focusing on finishing can mean missing some real learning opportunities along the way, limiting the knowledge you take with you that will be helpful over your lifetime in mosaic. I certainly will give you all the technical information possible but I hope a lot more than that happens. I want to help you think like an artist, understand what certain choices mean and move closer to finding your own personal expression in mosaic. I want you to learn techniques/principles and thought processes that will continue to serve you over the long term. After the workshop, I hope you’ll ‘see’ mosaic in different ways, understand the impact different choices can make and ‘think’ about mosaic in a deeper way than before. Mosaic is different for every one and I want to help you find your individual way in mosaic.