I thought it would be nice for you all to get to know the person behind the "Featured Artist" articles. I first discovered Sally in 2010 when I searched flickr for mosaic art and I instantly fell in love with her style, her use of colors and materials. She had a unique style that was different from other mosaic art I'd seen! We got to know each other a little bit through flickr and became friends.
I finally got to met Sally in person at the Artists Reception for the Mosaic Arts International show during the 2011 SAMA conference in Lexington, Kentucky. Sally's piece “I Tied a Yellow Ribbon”, which I had watched her create on flickr was on display and she won an award. I was so excited to get to meet her in person! She greeted me as if we have known each other for years! She's one of the nicest people I've ever met!
When I first told her I was starting this on-line mosaic supply website, she was quick to say if you need help with anything let me know! And that's when I thought of the idea to have "Featured Artist" of the month. I asked Sally - "Now you can say No to this or if you want we can do this quarterly." But she was excited to take on the project once a month! And I am very grateful for her help with it! I think she does an awesome job! Well enough about how great and wonderful I think Sally is (because really I could go on), here's a little bit about her and her art.
LMA: What is it about mosaic art that resonates with you?
Sally: I really love jigsaw puzzles, and mosaics are like jigsaw puzzles to me. Putting pieces together that will eventually create a larger image… a great form of meditation! I also like that there are really so many other art forms that can be used in the process. Ceramic artists can make their own tiles, painters can paint under glass, if you are into beading you can use beads, and drawing skills come in handy as well. I also love the feeling of “constructing” when making mosaics. I like to build and be productive!
LMA: Do you practice any other art forms on a regular basis or have a hobby when not making mosaics?
Sally: I used to make beaded jewelry in my 20’s. I had a trunk show at Nordstroms and thought I would be making jewelry forever! Unfortunately I had bills to pay, but I do still play with beads a lot, and clay from time to time. I recently started painting occasionally as well. I hated painting when I was younger! I was into hyper-realistic pencil drawing, chalk pastels and metal-smithing then, and it was all I wanted to do. Mosaics really satiate the need to create, and gives me so many options.
LMA: What is your favorite subject matter?
Sally: Hmmm… I don’t know… If it strikes me emotionally, I like it. Although not subject matters, things I like to create are patterns, usually circles in circles in circles, (like madalas), and I really enjoy creating gradients. I like creating movement… radiating, expanding, exploding, spilling, flowing… I like these…
LMA: Do you have a favorite color palette?
Sally: I have 2… Hot and cold. Actually, I was living in South Carolina Low Country when I really started doing mosaics on a regular basis, and the ocean had a great effect on me. I have a fondness for coastal décor, so anything in blues and greens works for coastal colors. Funny though, my home is mainly earthy beige and greys with lots of natural elements. Not very much blue, but I love working with it.
LMA: Have you taken any mosaic classes and who were they with?
Sally: I took my first mosaic class after I had been making mosaics for about 4 years. It was Carol Shelkin’s portraiture class. I had done a portrait of my daughter, (Irish Muse), and wanted to learn more about how Carol uses color. Carol is an incredible teacher! She is encouraging and really helps you to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. She covers ALL the bases!! Color theory, design elements, etc.
I took a class at the Lexington, KY SAMA conference with Laurie Mika. Super fun!! Totally different than anything I have even done. It gave me so many ideas! The techniques that Laurie has developed and teaches are food for every type of creative hunger. Laurie is also a very generous teacher in sharing her experience and knowledge.
I attended an independent study session with Susan Weschler in Cincinnati a couple years ago and began a shrine. Susan really got me outside of my comfort zone, using china, jewelry pieces, etc. which I had not previously done. Susan is great fun to learn from!
Last year I had the privilege of taking Bonnie Fitgerald’s, Exterior Mosaics, Architectural Installations and Community Projects class at Touchstone Center for Craft, last year. Wow!! Bonnie has to be one of the most positive, encouraging and uplifting people I have taken a class from! She, too, is an incredibly giving teacher.
The last class I took was earlier this year. I took Michael Kruzinch’s Drawing Andamenti and Tessellation for Mosaics class through Maverick Mosaics in Virginia. Again… Wow!! Michael is a teacher who really cares whether you “get it” or not. He is structured, exacting, technical and gracious. He is so adept at teaching the “why” of andamento and tessellation, that I have not been able to make a mosaic since his class without considering how the placement of every piece effects spacing, flow, shape, direction and over all feeling of the “big picture”.
Next month I will be taking Donna Van Hooser’s pet portraiture class. She is an amazingly gifted artist, and a truly genuinely nice person. I am TOTALLY looking forward to it!!
LMA: Do you support any charitable causes? Which ones and why?
Sally: I do. My top 3 are:
Roanld McDonald House: www.rmhc.org
They are an organization with amazing heart. What they do for parents and families of ill children is truly amazing. Unfortunately, I think it is sort of sad to think of loving and helping those in true need as an amazing act of kindness. In this day and age, where celebrities are making it “hip” to be kind, so many people are still walking around feeling entitled, and with the attitude of “what have you done for ME lately?” I don’t think that self made conditions and situations are necessarily “in need”. In need of learning to make better decisions maybe, but not enabling. When an unexpected, unpreventable illness strikes your child? I could not image feeling anything but paralyzing devastation. The volunteers and folks of Ronald Mc Donald house go to great lengths to let these families know they are not alone and that they can make it through whatever the ultimate outcome may be for their child. Awesomeness x 10!
Eldeheart and Mission 22 are brother organizations born from the same founding members, with slightly different purposes and goals. Elderheart brings veterans and community members together through art in an incredible way. Through art and healing, wisdom and grace, community and strength, they are building relationships between military veterans and their communities. VISIT THE LINK!!! Amazing group!!
Mission 22: www.mission22.com/#ourcause
I believe we all really, really, really, need to let our veterans know they are not alone in their experience and struggles post military service. I have not been in the military, but have many family members who are veterans, and have seen firsthand some of the emotional, mental and physical struggles post combat. These are people who have given so very much that we may enjoy the lives we lead in the U.S.A. Mission 22 is bringing an awareness to the fact that twenty-two U.S. veterans commit suicide a day. 22 A DAY!!!! Next time you are at work, the park, in school, or the grocery store, count out 22 people. That many are killing themselves everyday because death appears to be a better choice than living one more second with the mental and emotional burdens they carry post combat. AND THIS IS PREVENTABLE!!!!!
LMA: What would your dream mosaic experience be?
Sally: Getting to mentor under Laurel True. I think what she is doing with mosaics and communities is not only brilliant, giving, and driven, but the true reason we are all on this earth… To be of service to others and make the world a better place.
LMA: What is one of your favorite quotes or sayings?
Sally: “The choices we make today will dictate the lives we lead tomorrow”. I find it powerful and profound, simple but not easy. Fear holds me back many times. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of not knowing…So I try to take the people in my life into consideration in decisions I make, as well as what I think my spirit is being guided to do, then do my best at that time to do “the next right thing”. I accomplish this better some days than others. ;o)
LMA: Tell us about your single greatest mosaic moment: Sally: I received the inaugural “Innovation in Mosaics” award at the 2012 Mosaic Arts International exhibition in Lexington, KY. At the artists reception, a gentleman introduced himself to me as a Vietnam veteran. In tears, he thanked me for creating “I Tied a Yellow Ribbon”. It affected me deeply! I felt was compelled to make that piece the entire time I worked on it. When I met this man, it was confirmation that I had listened to the “correct” inner voice. I knew I had been true to my creative spirit, and had confirmation that creating art really is not about me. It is about what it does for the beholder.