I wasn’t the only member of BAMM attending the Annual Forum in London for the first time this year and by all accounts the turnout was exceptionally good this time round. It was a real treat for me and I was delighted to see and hear all the news and exciting presentations, pick up a couple of new books and make new friends and contacts.
There was a table and wall space above in the reception area where members were invited to place small mosaics to show or photos of their work to share, creating an instant display and helping us all to find out who was who.
We were entertained throughout the morning with lively reports from the treasurer and other BAMM officers about progress and balance sheets, increased membership and other such matters of concern to the AGM. This was more interesting than it might sound, as there were plenty of questions, exchanges and witty remarks and the atmosphere was very light-hearted.
Lunchtime gave us the opportunity to shop for mosaic supplies and books and to network and in the afternoon we enjoyed some inspiring presentations. Gary Drostle talked us through his fantastic project to create ‘River of Life’ (above), a large floor mosaic feature commissioned for an Iowa university sports centre. It’s well worth taking a closer look: http://www.drostle.com/WORKS/iowariveroflife.html# It was fascinating to hear in detail about how the design evolved, the highs and lows of realising the work and the installation process.
The highlight of the afternoon (for me) was listening to the endearing Charles Lutyens talk about his ‘Angels’ mosaic commission for St. Paul’s Church, Bow Common that he worked on for five years in the 1960’s. See more images here. Charles completely captivated us with his story, speaking openly and honestly about his experience in a most personal way. I felt like a child again, listening to my Grandad in his front room. Acknowledging that a three year apprenticeship prior to starting this commission would have been beneficial, Charles described the mixed feelings of anxiety and enthusiasm that accompanied this first venture in mosaic. However his natural flair and keen eye for colour and composition were in evidence and he clearly mastered the mosaic medium with relative ease.
Next year’s British Association for Modern Mosaic Annual Forum might be moving to a new and more prestigious location. The idea of hosting the event at a large national gallery or museum was discussed briefly during the morning and this would, as Norma Vondee pointed out, provide an opportunity for more mosaic enthusiasts to join us for another round of inspiring and motivating presentations. Maybe you’ll come along next October too?