Wednesday, August 24, 2016

yes, this is a real place.... and you can go there and make stuff!

 Yes, my friends, this is a REAL PLACE... where you can go, and MAKE STUFF!!!
Please join me November 18-20 for a weekend mosaic workshop at the John C Campbell Folk School.  This Friday-Sunday offering will concentrate on using nippers to cut tile and glass to fit a focal design, and a couple of methods for inclusion in architectural work (like a backsplash project--you can TOTALLY do this!)!  For more info, please go to for class info, lodging, pricing, etc. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

summer catchup

Ok, I have been seriously neglectful of this blog for the past year.  Sorry.  Many of you have heard bits and pieces so I will update the highlights and lowlights:

I was contracted  for a couple of awesome school residencies at Wendell ES, Lucas MS, and Sheep Harney ES.  Several more schools asked, but I had also been notified of ....

...A PUBLIC ART COMMISSION!  However after many months, we could not come to a contractual agreement mainly regarding copyright and construction (biggies in the mosaic art world).  Meanwhile another public opportunity sprouted... and is still on hold (as they tend to do)....  I am grateful for the opportunities, but spent some time frustrated about things beyond my control.  I have a better grip on it now. Looking forward to catching up on some of the local residencies this upcoming school year!

In the summer of 2015 I started the process of building a studio on to the house, as many of you read on FB.  That process was longer and more tedious than expected, but by November, I was able to "move in"! It is infinitely better than my dungeon room inside the house, and my spider laden garage.

Since then, I have been working on a new mosaic series of gallery work, been juried into several shows, and joined several community shows,  and have been constructing a mosaic sculpture for a neighborhood in Salisbury (which will be installed early Aug).

So now we are up to date....

Sunday begins a new adventure.... more about that next week, promise.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

science and art at Wendell ES

I've been back to school for Sept, working at Wendell Elementary, a science and art magnet A+ school.  This residency was another multiple grade science integration adventure.  This is the 3x5' mosaic assembled by 3rd grade, "Lifecycle of a Seed".  We learned about how a seed grows in the soil (humus, clay, and sand), needing water and sunshine, develops a root to absorb minerals in the soil, and shoot that pushes out of the ground, and then a flower or fruit develops with seeds, to start the process all over again.

This is the 4th grade panel, showing different types of fossils to align with their rocks and minerals curriculum.  We learned about how fossils are formed; trace fossils (dino footprints), casts/molds (trilobytes and ammonites), carbonization (fern and ginkgo leaves), and permineralization (megalodon teeth, petrified wood, mammoth bones).

This 5th grade panel depicts the three main ecosystems in NC; mountains, piedmont, and coastal.  We learned about how features in an ecosystem work together, and identified landforms, animals, and plants specific to each region.  The mountain region shows a mountain and waterfall, trees (there are over 100 different species, which is more than all of Europe), monarch butterflies, and salamanders (another strange fact, more diverse species of salamanders in NC than all of the world). The Piedmont region has rivers and rolling hills, with dogwoods (state flower), oaks, grassy meadows, and our state fish.  The Coastal region shows sandy dunes, venus flytrap and insects, the ocean, Scotch Bonnet (state shell), and shore birds.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

the collector

This mosaic is inspired by the story out of the UK recently about a young girl who likes to feed the crows in her backyard, and they began to bring her shiny treasures.  They are extremely smart birds, and this is a documented behavior, usually collecting their finds in their nests or gifts to mates.

The work is approx 32 in H x 24 in W, iridescent and dichroic stained glass fusions, vitreous glass tile, unglazed porcelain tile, large milifiore, found objects, chandelier pendant.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

two elementaries two mosaics

Club Boulevard Elementary, Durham NC, 5th grade legacy mosaic project 3x5', exterior, humanities focus.

Hillandale Elementary, Durham NC, 3rd grade mosaic and math (pattern, area, rotation), hurricane mascot.

ONE MORE TO GO for the school year 2014-15!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


"Ms. Brossart, our mosaics are MAJESTIC!" is what I heard today from a 5th grader at Douglas Elementary School as I was finishing up grouting and cleaning them.  What a compliment!  I have been working with these students 3rd, 4th and 5th graders for several months now and finally their mosaic panels are up on the wall in their courtyard.  They pass through this area every day to go to the cafeteria.
The 5th grade panel science theme is "force and motion".  We looked at abstract and geometric art and how simple shapes can tell a story.  The first column of green arrows shows gravity, the blue circles depict friction, the yellow arrows show force "push and pull", and the red shows inertia with the forces in balance.
The 3rd grade panel science theme is "phases of the moon".  All of the stages are shown, new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, last quarter, and waning crescent.  The Earth and stars added for additional sections to mosaic rather than just night sky.  You can tell the work has been "portioned" by the grout lines.  This is important to me for several reasons.  When kids are working collaboratively on a big artwork, they always want to be able to identify "their" work.  When the sections are blended, this becomes very difficult for young children to clearly identify and remember what they worked on.  Generally, they only concentrate on their own section, so when they see the final work it can be overwhelming.
The 4th grade panel science theme is "geodes" to go along with their rocks/minerals curriculum.  Besides cool circle art, each geode is designed with specific rocks/minerals in mind.  The black/brown outlines stand for igneous/sedimentary rock, each has a white "quartz" center, and the interior colors all match up with a mineral or stone, for example, purple= amethyst.  Another reason I like to portion the work is to keep it a manageable classroom activity.  125 students can not crowd around one 3x5' panel, with glass and cement flying to create a work.  They work at their own tables on patterns, and then the mosaics all get adhered to the panel at the end of each session.  It would take countless hours on my part to additionally "stitch" together the pieces to make a "seamless" work.  I prefer to let kids work be kids work.  For these kinds of projects, it does not distract me at all.
I also just grout over the screws so that the school can figure out where they are if they ever need to relocate the mosaic panel.  If the screws are countersunk and a tile placed over before grouting, they would not be able to remove it if necessary.  These are really important considerations when working with schools and students.  Thanks Douglas Magnet Elementary!  It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and your students!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

studio assistant

Here is my finished "Studio Assistant".  I am pleased with the light minty green background and the andamento or flow of the pieces is just right to enhance the roundness of the "dung" ball of mosaic scraps.  I also exchanged a couple of pieces in the beetle leg shadow to elongate the line.  These two pieces were already glued, and I 'almost never' pry up pieces that are glued, but it was bugging me (pun intended).  Unlike painters, who can constantly rework their art by applying more paint, working with hard materials is quite different, and once a piece is down... it usually stays down.  I normally respect this aspect of mosaic, but occasionally a couple of changes can make a big difference.  Additionally, the light tan grout complements this mosaic perfectly.  It neutralizes the background, and lets the color and texture of the ball, as well as the beetle take center stage.