The Forest for the Trees
New Haven, CT, USA
14 x 14 x 1.5 inches
hand-made ceramic pieces, Mexican smalti, stone, beads, millefiori, broken pottery
I created this piece to try to capture the feeling one gets when wandering through the forest. As you walk, the trees begin to merge into one another, the details sharpen as you get closer, and then blur again as new images emerge. The colors melt together. My mosaic art is often inspired by what I see in nature — a pattern in a leaf, a texture on tree bark, or simply a piece of stone.
I begin the process by first creating the ceramic tiles. I roll a slab of stoneware clay and cut out tiles, adding textures and curls to capture the qualities of a piece of bark or leaf. Once fired and glazed, the ceramic tiles become the backbone of my mosaic. Pieces that were cut randomly begin to fit together and the design of the mosaic begins to take shape. I then add other materials such as smalti, broken pottery, beads and shards, to connect and link the ceramic pieces. I add one piece at a time to form a path, a road, an andamento or flow as each tile or tesserae speaks to the one next to it. I discover connections between the tesserae exploring the texture, the color, or the shape, while continuing to pay attention to the whole.
My art is a journey without a predetermined endpoint. The process is as important as the product. I am intrigued by the interplay of materials and the interstices between them. I play with perspective, scale and shadow, creating landscapes – both realistic and abstract – to reflect or make sense of what I see in the world around me.