Tuesday, December 18, 2012

final touches

My shopping is done.  Just finishing up a couple of projects this week.  Thanks Northern Granville Middle School! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

saturday afternoon

Firebird popup on collage board
collaboration introduction
Diamond quiet, shyly cutting
twin birthdays plus or minus one
overlapping initials DJB
mentorship begun

Thursday, December 13, 2012

fitting it all in

This time of year is always so crazy busy.  It starts just before Thanksgiving and then in a whirlwind of rushing around, the holidays are over and I usually feel let down, and winter blahs find a very easy target.  It is mainly my own doing.  Patterns of behavior and personal stress quirks become illuminated and magnified with every LED twinkle light.  Trying to fit it all in is exhausting.

This Fall I've had the great pleasure to be involved with Communities in Schools of Orange County.  I am finishing up a 12 session residency with a Middle School after school program.  CIS facilitates opportunities for kids to have additional educational opportunities and resources via this casual learning environment, plus they get a nutritious snack, and some supervised afterschool TLC.

Besides creating a  mosaic artwork I have incorporated as much as I possibly could into these 12 sessions; world cultures/history, literature, math, science, computer skills, working with tools, brainstorming and planning, working individually and collaboratively, creative thinking/play with recycled and non/traditional materials, hands on art activities, and photography.  There have been a few challenges, not all students come to all sessions, the time is condensed due to their bus schedules, and several of the students do not speak English.  I have learned so much from these kids.  I'm so glad I took the time to fit it in.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

not quite turkey

Thanksgiving week residency,"tessellating falcons".  Tessellations are shapes that fit together without any gaps, and can continue to infinity.  In nature, the perfect tessellation is a bee's honeycomb design.  A checkerboard pattern is the most simple... repeating squares in rows and columns.  The abstract shapes above represent soaring "falcons", middle school mascot. Did you notice the white falcons too??  Sections were created by 175 8th graders, panel is awaiting installation, then I'll go back to finish/grout, hopefully this week.  Maroon and gold are their school colors.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

happy mosaic makers

Hardworking, happy, smiling, focused, awesome mosaic makers... just how I like it!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

bad blogger, bad bad blogger

Super busy. Sculpture shows. Planning residencies. Family activities and obligations. PTA.

Beautiful weekend for a stepping stone workshop at NCBG.  Community project to create 10 stones for the garden.  Ahhhhhh, thanks new friends!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Since school started back, I've been delinquent. 

Delinquent but busy.  Working on mosaics, old and new.
Two kids, two schedules, two sports (like many of you).
Trying to enjoy some beautiful late summer/early fall weather outdoors.
Visits to special destinations....   So, I'm sorry I've been delinquent with my blog, and computery connections. Well, not too sorry.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

bragging on a friend

This is my friend Paula MacLeod, and her "Lady Carolina Bloo" mosaic cow for CowParade.  Today, about 80 cows were on display at Durham's Golden Belt Studios for a one day exhibit before the herd trots off to their individual pastures before auction (to benefit UNC Children's Hospital in Jan).  I met Paula briefly at a SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) Conference in Washington DC, and then struck up a friendship with her 7 years ago when I moved to Durham.  She is also a professional mosaic artist and teacher, and has really done an incredible job with this Cow.  She estimated that it took her over 160 hrs (40 days at 4hr work session) to complete this mosaic mainly of cut and broken tableware as well as porcelain tile.  She has several UNC logos (approved of course, she is a professional), as well as hidden barnyard animals and delicate lacy white and off white patterning.  Lady Bloo is covered horn to tail, and udderly every curvy square inch in between.  It will be on display at the Carolina Inn this Fall.  Please take some time if you're in Chapel Hill to see her, photos can't do good mosaic justice.

This is Steven Ray Miller, and his "Heartstanding Cow".  He has had quite a career in art, and was recently voted one of the most favorite artists in Durham.  His business is called Art With Hearts, and paints beautiful landscapes and florals with hidden hearts.  He also does custom framing, and is a delightful person and kind friend.

This is Emily Eve Weinstein and her cow.  It has delicate silhouettes and gentle gradations of color.  Besides a painter and author, she spends countless hours fostering, advocating, and raising money for local animal rescue organizations.

There were also fantastic cows by some of my other local artist friends, Jane Filer, Freeman Beard, Rachel Campbell, and Andria Linn. Keep your eye out in the triangle area this Fall, and if you see one of these pieces of art, take a few moments to consider the time, expertise, and creativity that was given to it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Asheville weekend

I lived in Asheville in the 80's.  I met 4 girls that first year (6th grade) who have remained my dearest friends for over 30 years.  None of us live there now (although one is in WNC), but we do continue to have family and friends in town or nearby.  I stop through several times a year on my way to teach mosaics at John C Campbell Folk School, but this weekend was a real treat.  All 4 of us girls were able to clear our calendars, make arrangements for kids, spouses, and pets, travel from near and far, to converge near Asheville at the Pisgah View Ranch in Candler ("enka stinka", for those in the know).  I learned to horseback ride there with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin, and a couple of the girls had youth group retreats there many years ago.  It is still in operation, and a rustic mountain getaway.  We spent all day Saturday in Asheville, checking on new developments, like the River Arts District, as well as old favorites, like Wall Street, and coincidentally, Shindig on the Green.
We had gloriously cool temperatures, and were amazed at what our hometown has been up to in the last 20 years.  Of course, we were aware that Asheville had seen some amazing growth and increased tourism.  Frankly, I was totally surprised at how many families, young and old couples, tourists, and locals were peacefully and happily strolling the downtown streets, storefronts open for business and lines out the doors.  It was great to see. 

The wonderful character and spirit of the city was evident on every corner and reflected in the people we passed.  Then, we retreated back to the ranch (literally), and awoke to a serene mountain view, country breakfast, and scenic horse trail ride.  Who could ask for more. 
If you get a chance, check out Asheville for a weekend.  I highly recommend the fish tacos at White Duck Taco Shack.  Or, revisit your own hometown and take a second look.  You might fall in love.

Monday, July 23, 2012

people's choice

It's been a strange week.  An opportunity came along that was going to be great, then was miscommunicated, then on hold, then shut down.  Sort of to my relief, but I'm kind of angry about it too.  It's funny why things do or don't work out the way we would like.  Sometimes our fault, often times not. 

I did get notice that 2 of my sculptural mosaics have won the "People's Choice Award" for 2 different exhibits.  It is a bummer to never (almost never, I did win once) win a top prize in the sculpture shows.  It's usually men, with big metal structures (no pun intended).  Everyone, besides judges apparently, loves my work.  It's different, colorful, playful, appealing to all ages...  easy to understand.  It is very rewarding to win People's Choice... I make art for people, not art judges or critics (well, I guess they are people too).

I've been asked this week to be on a judging committee/panel soon.  I wonder how I'll feel about the process.  Can I remember how it feels to be judged during the action?  How does one be compassionate when there can only be one winner?

Thanks friends for your support and hug an artist today... they probably need it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

beach week

Family beach week has come and gone.  It's too easy to take our NC geography for granted, especially when the Piedmont summer temps get so hot and muggy.  It's usually 10 degrees cooler on either end of the state, whether mountains or beaches.

Here's a few quick glimpses of the things I saw this week.  Mermaid weather vane.

Antique bottle collection in window with awesome bonus sky reflection.

 Soaring birds in a golden sunset.
Historical architecture.  It was a good week.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I have been fortunate to have pretty steady mosaic work (residencies, workshops, commissions and shows) in this economy.  I love the variety and really couldn't sustain my business or personal creative interest on just one avenue.  So before I jinx myself into oblivion, THANKS universe for providing all the wonderful opportunities I've been able to receive lately.  That being said, I'm free this week.  No meetings, no pending workshops, no tile orders to check on or total up.  No sketching, no proposals due, no paperwork (OK, a little paperwork, but so far I'm successfully procrastinating on that).  No planning or preparation.  I'm free.  Free to experiment and explore.  Free to arrange and rearrange.  Free to choose what I like and what I don't.  Free to create without needing to have an agenda or please anyone but myself.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

sculptor's 4th of July

who needs sparklers when you have a Dremel and some rebar......  Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I submitted for this mosaic book about 18 months ago and was notified in Jan or Feb that my work would be included.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but knew that at the very least I would have one photo and name recognition.  I have been waiting very patiently for it to arrive, and ordered an extra for my parents.  When the UPS man came today I told him what I was waiting for--- usually he lugs large heavy boxes full of tile to my garage.  He was surprised and curious too, so he helped me open the stubborn taped box right on the porch.  To my delight, a photo of my "Currently Nesting" is on the back cover (along with a few other works), and I have a 6 page spread.  Just me and my mosaics.  The book is layed out by artist, easy to read with big beautiful photos of mosaics.  This is not a crafty how-to book, this is a full fledged coffee table art book.  Wow.  If you love mosaics, and are curious what is being created in this ever changing medium, this book will not disappoint.  Even the UPS man was impressed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


 I just got back from another incredible week at the John C Campbell Folk School in Western NC.  It was a very special week called "Little Middle", one of two weeks per year when kids have classes on campus.  This was my third time teaching mosaics to "littles" ages 7-11. 
 The thing that always strikes me during this week is how uninhibited kids are in the creative process.  Most times, they are unaware of the things they CAN'T do, and just go for it.  We start with paper mosaics, then small individual projects, and group activities, then build up to collaborative grand finale mosaics for the last 2 days.  This year each group of 6 kids had to brainstorm, make design decisions, draw a pattern, create a mosaic with pre-cut and tumbled stained glass pieces glued to plexiglass. 
We talked about how ancient mosaic were made thousands of years ago out of stone.  Each of the 48 kids were able to learn how to safely use wheeled nippers to cut tile to specific shapes (eye protection is the first rule).  They worked on both individual projects and group projects.  They used several different materials and adhesives.  Learned 48 names, cooled off with misting spray, and had a great week together.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Light From Above"

4x4' glass mosaic with/for Delrayno Baptist Church VBS program.  About 50 participants, age range 3-83!  What a wonderful project with those folks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

a good day at the office

Outdoor installations have many challenges.  But a week like this, in a location like this, with weather like this,  is heaven.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

gazebo visitor

Installation has commenced on the gazebo mosaic floor.  I started Saturday, couldn't believe the perfect temps and lovely breeze.  Got both borders and trim, plus a few extra sections, then tarped it overnight.  This morning when I lifted the tarp, there was a visitor checking out my work.  I think he/she was pleased. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

weather dependent

Once again, waiting on rain (beryl remnants) to go away for an exterior mosaic installation.  It's a gorgeous swirling festival of color for a gazebo floor in a glorious garden setting (private, sorry).  Not sorry that I can work on some more fabric creations in the meanwhile.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

koi pond

I got a new sewing machine after 20 years of hating my old one.  When I was a girl, I loved browsing through the material store, feeling all the textures, seeing all the patterns and colors.  This week I needed a little mosaic diversion.  Something new to inspire and concentrate on.  I love the tradition of quilting, but not the strict adherence to specific measurements and precise sewing.  I just started sewing (mainly) scraps together, cut, rotated, added, subtracted and pieced until I was happy.  Hmm.. sounds suspiciously like mosaic making....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

magnolia secrets

I walk in the mornings, after the school buses roll through the neighborhood, with our dog, Sam.  The magnolias are starting to present their gorgeous blooms, and a neighbor working in her yard today, gave me one that was just barely starting to open.  She said to put it in water, and that it would be open by day's end.   But I had to take a peek.

Have you ever really looked?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012


I turn 43 this week.  I usually look forward to birthdays, this year I'm just preoccupied.  I've been thankfully and wonderfully busy, both with my art and family.  I've had some grand adventures, met some delightful new friends, and still trying to balance home, kids, obligations...  Sometimes it's good to start on the outside and work toward the center, sometimes it's best to start at the heart of things and work outward.  Sometimes you just have to go for it and see where it leads....

Friday, May 4, 2012

on the grid

OK, so I'm not talking about electricity or energy savings... simply creating unlimited mosaic designs based on a grid pattern, rows and columns.  If you think that's boring.. please reconsider.  I have been doing mosaic workshops with young children, I'm talking 3 and up, using grid trays and colorful tile.  This sampler is the product of 4, 50 minute workshops with 5th graders.  They had a brief introduction to mosaic, including a sample NOT made on a grid, then had a really fun activity creating their own pattern based on a 7x7 grid square.  Budget constraints prevented me from capturing all of their creative designs, but believe me when I say that not one of the 100 or so mosaics were the same.  The students had their own peer review and were allowed to vote for their top 4 favs per class.  Those 16 mosaics are now glued and grouted, ready to be delivered back to the school on Monday.  If you don't have a grid tray, or real tile, get some old fashioned grid paper and markers, and color to your hearts content.  Colored construction paper works well too.  These pattern ideas can be translated dozens of ways from quilts to crossstitch, paint to photo montage.  Designing on a grid breaks complex patterns down to manageable ideas.  Can you see the black and white smiley face in the photo? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

tree peony

Finally..... I bought these peony bulbs about 4 years ago.  The bulbs were shriveled and dusty, down at the bottom of the past season, super clearance, you're crazy if you buy me bin.  They said "tree peony" so I planted them underneath a large oak in my backyard (yes, that was my non-scientific botany reasoning, not the package directions).  They did sprout the next spring, but no buds.  They have steadily gained strength, and last year I had one flower.  This year there are about 7 buds and it actually is big enough to need some gentle support.  Today my patience (and luck) was rewarded with 3 gorgeous open blooms.  I love how the centers are frilly and there are just a couple of petals that are fringed.  First I thought that was damage from critters, kids, or who knows what, but each of the blooms has the two fringed petals.  So lovely.  I think I feel a mosaic coming on...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

flytrap in motion video

Scrapel Hill IV, University Mall, Chapel Hill April-July 2012
Go VOTE for 'People's Choice Award', enter your ballot at the customer service desk for #3 Venus Flytrap by Jeannette Brossart and Glenn Walters!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

mechanical flytrap sculpture installation

You may recognize this.  When I was in Italy, I created a small  Venus Flytrap sculpture with the intent of it serving as a model for a larger version.  This is the larger version, installed today at the University Mall in Chapel Hill for the 4th Scrapel Hill Exhibit.  A show of artworks made from repurposed, recycled, and scrap materials.

Each half of the "trap" is 2 ft wide plus the additional length of the wine bottle "teeth".  They are made from waste polystyrene, cement and fiberglass layers, then applied scrap and recycled glass mosaic.  The support structure mimics the plant structure with a large broad leaf (made from garage rails and patio umbrella supports).  There are some "swampy" details such as flowers and a snail.

It does actually move, thanks to my collaborating friend and co-designer/fabricator, Glenn Walters, and his assistant, DJ Fedor.  It works on "people power" and a repurposed air compressor system.  When you spin the flower wheel, air pumps through the green tubing to a piston mechanism.  When enough air is is the system, the piston activates, opening and closing the top half of the "trap" about 30 degrees.  Just enough to catch a pesky insect.

It will be on exhibit for a couple of months, then looking for a permanent home.... or swamp.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

for Dad

My first memory of formal art is at the Gainesville (Florida) Museum of Art.  Our family would go there on Sundays for something free and educational.  We went several times, but my brothers and I were always more excited to see the alligator pit on the grounds, than step foot into the museum to see the art.  One trip, my Dad just took me inside while Mom and brothers were waiting at the alligator pit.  My first impression was that the exhibit was just a bunch of boring line drawings...   He said, "no, look closer".  So I did.  And to my amazement I saw little men walking up and down endless staircases, birds that turned into lizards, and a dizzying assortment of optical illusions.  It was an exhibit of MC Escher.  Dad is a bit artistic himself, he liked to draw and sketch, woodcarving during our teenage years, and now in retirement years, painting.

He is also my favorite assistant.  He is helpful with ideas and structural considerations.  He is strong and able to help lift some of my sculptures for installations.  He cuts wood panels for me and other related tasks.  He has a truck and is willing to volunteer when I need him.  He is proud of me.

His favorite flower is a dandelion.