LMA: Tell us a little about your artistic background:
Linda: I was born a craftsman, and I am particular about my home. I rarely save money doing things myself, but I have a hard time finding someone willing to work asymmetrically or with irregular shapes and fussy details. Because of this, I taught myself a little bit about a lot of things. Mosaic was one of those things, but I enjoy it enough that I keep doing it. Anyone that does something a lot gains a level of skill and style.
LMA: Do you have any professional art training?
Linda: I have no college degree in anything, and a few glass workshops under my belt.
be the change by Linda Billet
LMA: How did you get started in mosaics?
Linda: Over 20 years ago, a water pipe in one of our bathrooms leaked and the floor was ruined. I knew I could easily tile the floor but decided to break up the tiles and mix glass in with it. I didn’t really think about this till now but the difficulty working with materials that were two different thicknesses to make a level surface is what I now enjoy.
LMA: How long have you been creating mosaic, art, etc?
Linda: I quit my job to do glass full time professionally around 2008. At that time, I had just started transitioning from fused glass bowls to 2D fused glass panels. Occasionally, I would make a mosaic but kept going back and forth between fusing and mosaicking. An unfortunate (or fortunate) break in a really good panel sparked an idea for me to use my fused glass as tiles. Combining the two gave me greater possibilities than I had in either discipline.
gram's wish by Linda Billet
LMA: What about mosaics resonates with you?
Linda: The thing I like best about art is combining diverse things. I find it fascinating that two fabrics that would never be worn together somehow work when they are sewn together. It’s the same in a mosaic. I love to combine stripes and dots with the features in my work. Some patterns and features are better illustrated in my style of fusing, some are more easily fabricated with mosaic. When possible, I have strong representations of each discipline.
LMA: What is your favorite part of the mosaic process?
Linda: Honestly, I thoroughly enjoy all of it, but the grout is the magic. My style of mosaic looks like a kids’ camp project until the grout goes in. Grout is an enormous part of the design and in some mosaics, grout lines are a feature. I frequently lose sleep the night before grouting an important project because I’m so excited.
shaka by Linda Billet
LMA: Do you have a favorite subject matter? What is it?
Linda: I never get tired of trying to represent water. Clouds are a close second, but they are actually water. Nothing in nature is more fascinating than water.
LMA: What is your favorite thing you have created and why?
Linda: My favorite project is always the last thing I have finished or the thing I am currently working on. Maybe it is because I love the process so much but I fall in love with each mosaic. That doesn’t mean my work is fabulous. It means that I’ve made it exactly how I like it. There would be a problem if I didn’t love a mosaic by the time I am finished with it.
always working by Linda Billet
LMA: What would you like to learn/add to your mosaics experience?
Linda: About ten years ago, I started working with groups of people to make mosaics. I go back and forth between my work and community projects’ work that I facilitate. Just as I have combined mosaic and fusing in the past, I now want to combine my work and community work into the same mosaics. The two parts would be combined but distinct.
LMA: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of mosaics?
Linda: Since I only use glass, I have to use the colors available. Shading is often a challenge. I might have a fantastic red but only in one shade so I would then have to alter not only that red part of the mosaic, but the rest of the mosaic in relation to the new color chosen.
any way you can by Linda Billet
LMA: What is your least favorite thing about mosaics and why?
Linda: At my age, I’ve been grumbling about transporting heavy materials and whining about the bulk and weight of a finished mosaic. I get frames custom made with metal reinforcement, and keep a beat-up old van to move these monsters. Really though, the logistics of moving big mosaics is a nice problem to have.
LMA: Tell us a little about your studio and attach a photo or 2 of your studio space.
Linda: My commute to work is a stroll over my deck, and down steps to a boardwalk leading to my studio. I tiled the outside of my studio but the inside is just bare cement. It’s my sanctuary. I keep things organized and efficient for my work so I don’t waste space or time. My tables have hinged tops so they lay flat or sit upright like an easel. My double doors are glass and I can watch birds, deer, squirrels, an occasional snake, and nature in general. I keep my floor clear of glass shards so my dog can safely accompany me.
LMA: Do you listen to music while creating (what type/bands)or do you prefer the TV(what shows/genera/channel)? Silence? Pod cast? Etc.?
Linda: If I am doing fast background or making mindless repetitive parts I listen to wordless music like Booka Shade, Tycho, or Big Wild, but also soundtrack stuff like Ramin Djawadi or John Williams. Most of the fusing I do takes all the focus I possess so then I work in silence. The tiny details take far more time than the rest so the bulk of my work time is in silence.
LMA: What is one of your favorite quotes or sayings?
Linda: My Grandma used to say “Matching is boring.” I agree.
fungus and fauna & milkweed and monarch by Linda Billet
LMA: If you could give readers one single piece of advice, what would it be?
Linda: Find satisfaction with what you have, and where you are, and what you are doing while you are on the journey to bigger and better. Often a really crappy event will stretch you or set you up for future glory. In hindsight, a leak in my bathroom and a broken glass panel worked for me.
LMA: Tell us about your single greatest mosaic moment:
Linda: There’s so many! Cherie, I don’t know if you remember when we ran into each other at a mosaic event in City Hall, Philadelphia. I had said I was trying to get over to Magic Gardens in hopes of possibly meeting Isaiah Zagar. Moments later, you spotted him close to where we were standing and took me over to introduce me to him. What was so surreal was that all three of us had a bit of our hair dyed blue at the time.
Cherie: Yes, I remember that night! But I totally forgot about all of us having blue hair dye!
LMA: Attach 3 of your favorite mosaics by someone else…Why do they capture your interest?
Linda: Maybe I’m attracted to these three artists’ work because it is so different than mine.
by Donna Van Hooser
Donna Van Hoosier’s skill is beyond my comprehension. It’s hard for me to choose which of her works is my favorite, but this bulldog is both hilarious and meticulously crafted.
by Helen Nock
Helen Nock’s work seems divinely inspired to me. I appreciate her little videos that point out minute details.
by Giulio Menossi
Giulio Menossi’s dimensional abstract style amazes me. I love that he uses many patterns and colors but still stays monochromatic.
LMA: Who are your top 3 favorite artists or top 3 most influential artists in your work?
Linda: Danny Amazonis’ work fascinates the fabric-olholic in me. Sometimes he’s cutting patterns down so small that they are unrecognizable and sometimes flowers, dots and stripes are evident. Just like a mosaic, his work looks abstract up close.
Beyond obvious art skill, James Hance has a brilliant way of mashing up pop culture. His art exudes happiness. One of my mosaics, “Meep Believing,” is a tribute to both Jim Henson and James Hance.
Yulia Brodskaya is a quilling artist that has expanded the possibilities of paper. She makes me want to do the same for glass.
LMA: What made you want to participate in the Diversity Mural?
Linda: This project was essentially what I appreciate about a mosaic. It was a lot of diverse things coming together. Each artist was given the opportunity to do whatever they wanted with few parameters.
Finger Print Heart by Linda Billet
LMA: What is the meaning behind your heart you created for the Diversity Mural?
The heart I created had a fingerprint on it. My message was about touching someone’s heart which is what is needed to change things. Ironically, a fingerprint is the subject of the mosaic I am working on at this moment and it is actually the same concept as the heart mosaic. Staff members at a hospital close to me are assembling glass on their breaks. I will fire that glass it into tiles to make a giant fingerprint!
imagine by North Schuylkill Junior Senior High School Linda Billet