Category Archives: mosaic classes

Chorlton Central Church Community Mosaic


In spring 2016 the committee of Chorlton Central Church, where I run my weekly mosaic evening class, commissioned me to design a large exterior mosaic to cover the old church hall entrance.

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The New Glass facade with artwork by Steve Raw, photo credit Andrew Stuart, MEN

The church had undergone extensive refurbishment works completed in 2015. These  included the construction of a large new glass facade incorporating entrance doors within the south elevation. Architect Mick Timpson, who also runs yoga classes in the church, was responsible for the refurbishment and artist Steve Raw was commissioned to create the design for the glass treatment. The old entrance doorway – you can see on the left in this photo – became redundant and was blocked up to make a storage room.

The first stage of the commission was to consult with the church committee to agree the theme for the mosaic. They wanted the design to reflect the values of the church whilst having universal appeal and represent the church being part of Manchester’s multi faith network. Due to its position, we all agreed that we also wanted it to relate to the garden and convey a sense of welcome – ‘the door is open’. Referencing the bible’s creation story,  tree of life (Genesis) and the water of life (Revelation) provided ample imagery. Following a presentation to the church congregation and ensuing feedback, modifications were made to create a final version of the design.

From the end of June and throughout July, I hosted seven workshops which allowed approximately 100 local participants to take part in the making of the mosaic. With fabulous assistants from Chorlton Mosaic Group on hand to help, each workshop started with a lesson on how to use the tools to cut and arrange the mosaic pieces. Using patterns cut from our full size cartoon, participants patiently started to make component parts of the design, just like a paint-by-numbers technique. Every piece was referenced and carefully stored.

In September I packed up all the mosaic contributions and took them to my studio. With two brilliant studio assistants, Karen Nolan and Karen Allerton, working with me, the parts were assembled, completed and all background areas made up within three weeks.

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The completed mosaic in the studio, faced with tile tape, ready for installation.

Prior to installation I was lucky enough to meet master mosaic fixer, Walter Bernadine in London after he made a presentation at the BAMM Annual Forum. We had a good chat and with Walter’s tips in mind, I subcontracted Manchester dream team Andy Carroll & Son to install the mosaic with me. Thanks to their expertise, the installation was like poetry in motion…

On Sunday 16th October , which was also the Reverend Bob Day’s retirement celebration, the mosaic was officially unveiled by local MP Jeff Smith. The event was well attended by many of those who played a role in its realisation and after the formalities we all enjoyed a lunch in the church hall, generously provided by the Central Church committee.

The Chorlton Mosaic Group continues to meet every Thursday at 7.15pm and welcomes new members at any time. For more details, check the website or get in touch with me by email at this address: tracey.cartledge@icloud.com.

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Tracey with the completed mosaic. Photo by Vincent Abbey.

Through the Looking Glass, Adventures in Mosaic Glass Appliqué


We love receiving visitors at Last Loft Studios in Manchester. It is an opportunity to share the fondness we have for our working environment at Talbot Mill and the respect, admiration and affection we have for our fellow artisans with the rest of the world.

Even better, are the occasions when visitors attend a weekend workshop to spend a joyful day with us exploring creative possibilities using the techniques that we can teach and share.

This Saturday, we had the pleasure to welcome five wonderful women into our studios, each bringing their own talents, experience and ideas to the table as we worked together to make glass-on-glass mosaic mandalas.

Caroline Channing – our resident glass expert – kicked off the day to a fine start with a meticulous demonstration of glass cutting techniques and a clear explanation of which tools to use for each purpose and how and why each specific method works. The group then practised and fairly quickly mastered the basic skills required for the day ahead.

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Test piece by Deborah Pitman, photo by Deb Pitman

Each participant made a small test piece that was grouted and finished before the day ended. They went on to create their circular mandala using their newly acquired knowledge. We think the results are stunning…

 

 

 

Manchester Mosaic Winners


We did it AGAIN!!!!

Sheenaanne receiving her certificate at Topps Tiles Salford

Sheenaanne receiving her certificate at Topps Tiles Salford

Topps Tile Mosaic Competition Winners

Tracey (me!) receiving the £300 voucher to spend on materials for the Chorlton Mosaic Group

For the second year running, my mosaic evening class in Chorlton, Manchester has produced the North West regional finalist for the Topps Tiles Award for Achievement in Mosaic. Our winner this year is Sheenaanne with her ambitious outdoor mosaic dining table, entitled “Fortunate Dining”.

Fortunate Dining by Sheenaanne Law

Fortunate Dining by Sheenaanne Law

Fortunate, indeed. Sheenaanne receives a certificate of achievement and a prize of £100 voucher to spend on mosaic supplies at Topps Tiles. As her teacher, I receive a voucher for £300 to spend on materials for the class, which will boost our resources again!!

Judge David Tuhill (RCA), selected this entry reporting “The blue water shimmers, the border with the many luminous circles echoes the white fishes which are so very artistically rendered…..a tremendously skilful piece of work merits you the first prize Sheenaanne”

Peaceful Chui by Sheenaanne Law

Peaceful Chui by Sheenaanne Law

Other entries in the class portfolio included Sheenaanne’s “Peaceful Chui”, Christine Hyde’s abstract “Glacial Fragmentation”, Susie Wakefield’s colourful “Tutti Frutti”, Sue Glenn’s “Summer” and Mary Pye’s delightful “Apricot Tree”.

Apricot Tree by Mary Pye photo Tom Spawton

Apricot Tree by Mary Pye, photo Tom Spawton

“Apricot Tree” was inspired by a nursery song. Mary has created a lovely stylised Apricot Tree in this mosaic table stand.

Glacial Fragmentation, photo Tom Spawton

Glacial Fragmentation by Christine Hyde, photo Tom Spawton

All of these received excellent comments from David and demonstrate the imagination and variety of work that is made in our weekly Thursday evening class – a great place to enjoy the company of fellow mosaic enthusiasts and find creative inspiration.

Tutti Frutti by Susie Wakefield, photo Tom Spawton

Tutti Frutti by Susie Wakefield, photo Tom Spawton

Tutti Frutti was Susie’s first piece of mosaic work. I love the harmony of blues and the rectilinear composition, interrupted with the contrasting red tesserae.

Summer by Sue Glenn, photo Tom Spawton

Summer by Sue Glenn, photo Tom Spawton

If you have been inspired by Sheenaanne’s lovely work and fancy making a mosaic table, you can buy a kit here or contact me to enquire about the next Mosaic Tables workshop. For details of the class in Chorlton, click here.

Thank you Topps Tiles!!!

Mosaic Frenzy, Firenze


A stunningly beautiful Tuscan hilltop location, a pretty village hall, a bubbly group of enthusiastic Italian youngsters keen to make mosaics with an English Mosaic Artist…

…invitations to host workshops like this don’t come too often!

So, how did I get the gig?

In 2011, by chance, I met Debora Chellini and a group of visiting Italian students whilst working at a primary school in Knutsford on a school mosaic project. I invited the youngsters to join in and work with us and it was great to see them working side by side with the English children, who happily explained and showed them what to do. That was the beginning of an exciting new collaboration that Debora and I are continuing to develop, the basis for which is Debora’s simple but effective principle of learning through experience. More specifically, in our project, it is a case of learning language through creative experience.

Debora is a lecturer at the Richmond University in Florence and at weekends she runs her own language project StoryTime working with children aged from 5-13 years old. The children are encouraged to use English whilst enjoying a range of exciting workshops and activities. This fresh approach ensures that the youngsters are keen to learn the language as they need it in order to understand and achieve the task in hand and interact with others in a creative, sociable and supportive environment. Mosaic projects fit perfectly with this brief.

My visit to Florence this October gave Debora and I the opportunity to discuss a range of options for next year’s programme with the aim of developing the approach further, incorporating more arts and crafts workshops. There was time to visit some of the finest Florentine artisans continuing the traditional crafts of the region and I also visited the university and met some of Debora’s colleagues and students.

Enrico Giannini demonstrating the technique of paper marbling

The visit culminated with the workshop you see here in the nearby Tuscan village of Montigufoni. Each participant produced a small mosaic fridge magnet to begin with. For this, they were all provided with the same set of materials, design and instructions. They very quickly learned all the new vocabulary associated with the activity: the names of the tools and materials; the way to ask for help with specific processes and checking with each other (in English!) if they were doing everything correctly.

Next, the students were rewarded for their efforts and given a little more freedom. This time, with a wide selection of materials to choose from and the aid of drawing templates (if they wanted to use them), they were encouraged to create a larger mosaic of their own design.

 

You can see some of their fabulous work here.

Our Topps Tiles Prize Provides…


I recently accepted a fabulous prize from Topps Tiles: a voucher to spend on coursework materials for the evening class worth £300 – how fantastic!

The prize, as you may have read, was awarded to me as part of the “Topps Tiles Award for Achievement in Mosaic” because one of my students – Vicky Crosby – was the regional finalist for the North West.

Here’s some of the items that we have chosen so far:

 

in addition, we have a 10kg sack of Bal Wide Joint grout in grey; some sample ceramic tiles in new colours; two new grouting sponges and a new grout float…

DIDN”T WE DO WELL?!!!

Mark’s Sea Monster – finished!!


Congratulations to Mark, who recently completed this wonderful mosaic, diligently worked on over a number of Thursday evening classes before the summer break. With his trademark patience and precision, Mark has recreated this ancient mosaic sea monster and cared to observe the Roman rule of the borderline device. The original mosaic is a floor fragment in black and white found at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, dated 3rd century AD.

MOSAIC TABLES – additional course of three workshops this October/November in Chorlton


If you’d love to make a mosaic table, either for your own garden or as a special gift, all you have to do is sign up. The rest is easy…………

Over three consecutive Saturdays, you will be guided through the design and making processes and will end the course taking away a stunning and unique piece of garden furniture that you can be proud of. Contact me for further details on 0161 860 0387 or e-mail traceycartledge@o2.co.uk.