by Jeannette Brossart
I just returned from a 10 day trip to Italy. I had saved and planned for sometime, mainly going for a mosaic course, but also a couple days in Venice. I am a mosaic artist. I do many types of mosaic work from jewelry to large scale architectural and sculptural work. It’s really the MAKING that I love so much, assembling the pieces in infinite combinations. Each experience and outcome is unique.
I did see a wealth of beautiful mosaics on my journey. There are amazing Byzantine mosaics from the 5th century in Ravenna (where the course was), and also an incredible International exhibit of contemporary mosaic works . Of course there were some breathtaking mosaics at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice. These works are masterful and iconic, a perfect meld of art and craftsmanship, durable and beautiful with their 24K gold highlights.
You would think that I would come home with my camera’s memory card full of mosaic photos…
What I came home with was photo after photo of windows, doors, porticos, roof lines, cobblestone patterns, architectural details galore. The color and texture combinations were eye catching at every corner. Peeling paint, damp with Venetian fog and sea, juxtaposed with crumbling brick and green algae, wrought iron hardware and hard lines blending with curved glassy panes… this is what drew my attention. Reflections of bubbles, iridescent against the brackish water of the canal, shiny black lacquered gondolas enveloped in the mist. A store selling bath soaps that looked like pastry with crumbly edges and whipped toppings. These are the images that stay with me from my trip. These are the images that are already swirling and working their way into mosaics in my head.
Maybe it was the richness of contrasts that made such an impact on me. Maybe I was taking comfort in the mundane in a place so potentially overwhelming with beauty and art. Whatever it is, I will embrace it, and will challenge myself with the residue of this unexpected inspiration in my work for the new year.
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