Alie Kruize – Mosaic Artist Spotlight



How did you get started in mosaics?

Seven years ago I started dabbling with a mosaic house number for our holiday shack. Obviously my four daughters didn’t think much of my attempts and for my birthday they booked me into a studio called ‘Workshed Mosaics’ in Western Australia, where I did my first mosaic project.  Paul and Lisa Petale were fantastic teachers and got me off on to a good start.

I feel so blessed that my girls exposed me to this wonderful medium.  I am forever grateful to them.

My first mosaic is still hanging on the wall of our holiday house and it’s pretty gross.  I have improved somewhat thankfully!!

How long have you been doing mosaics?

I have been doing mosaics for 7 years.  I am passionate about it and mosaic whenever I have a spare moment.  In a month I am retiring and we are building a new house with my own mosaic shed/studio. Can’t wait to get to work on all the ideas I have in my head.

Why mosaics?

It’s just something I love.  There are so many different colours and designs – opaque and translucent, glass tiles, brilliant metallic’s, cool and expensive marble, fabulously coloured smalti or broken ceramics.  I love the designing aspect and working out what tiles to use, the buying of tiles, the sorting of tiles then putting it altogether.  I love every aspect and feel am totally happy when I am working on a project.

I also love fossicking for tiles and materials at second hand shops, tips, roadside collection, old abandoned houses and my family and friends are always giving me treasures.  Even the grandchildren bring little gifts that they think I may be able to use.

How have your other interests, hobbies, career influenced your mosaics?

I have worked in many art forms – drawing, painting, sculpture, pottery and lead lighting.  These past pursuits have helped me greatly with the whole process of making a mosaic.

How or what inspires you?

Lots of things inspire me.

I live in a seaside town and get inspiration from the coastline, houses on the canals, nature, birds, sunsets, plants and gardens. I am always inspired by visits to Art galleries and exhibitions and also paintings and mosaics on the internet.

What makes your work unique from everyone else’s?

I’m not sure if my work is so unique but I do hand paint some of my own tiles to include in some mosaic projects.  I buy large greenware tiles and either paint the whole tile and then have it glazed etc and then smash the tile or I cut the tile into whatever size tiles I need and paint, glaze and have them fired.  This is something I really enjoy doing.

I also had  two opportunities to be invited as an ‘Artist in Residence’ at two schools in the Northern Territory.  The first one was at Gawa Christian School on Elcho Island, a very remote Island off the coast of Arnhem Land.  My brief was to teach 60 indigenous students to mosaic and to teach the community members living in Gawa, Nanginburra and Ban’thula.  Three large panels were designed by the local Yolnu artists.  It was wonderful to see traditional aboriginal art being created using a totally new medium.

The second School was in Nhulunbuy a remote mining town in Arnhem Land.  This time my brief was somewhat larger in that I had to teach 200 students from the age of 4 to 16.  The students made trivets, stepping stones, ply cut outs and the older students made a huge panel 1.2m x 6 metres.  I also ran a class for 11 adults.  The work they produced was amazing especially as they had never done mosaics before; this was such a highlight for me as I know that many of them will continue with this art form.

What is the strangest thing you have ever mosaiced?

I would love to mosaic strange things but haven’t had the time to do so.

Whose work mosaics or otherwise do you most admire?

Gustav Klimpt,  Elaine Goodwin, Irina Charny, Kaffee Bassett, Elizabeth De’Ath, Gordan Mandich, , Laurel Skye, Laura Rendlen, and many more.

Do you sell your work?

Yes and no.  I have had commissions from family and friends and end up doing the work for cost only as it’s a hobby and not my source of income yet.

What I would love to do once I retire is run small classes for mentally challenged people or people who are troubled in life.  If time permits I would like to do some projects and sell them rather than do commissions.

What advice would you have for other mosaic artists?

Many novices say to me they cannot design a piece of work and feel that their work is inferior because they have not designed it themselves. I always tell them that if it gives them pleasure and satisfaction keep at it because you can never copy of piece of work exactly and will always put your own ideas into the project.  Generally once you have done a few projects you will find that you will come up with your own ideas and if not why worry!!!

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The Mosaic Store Gallery

Marian Shapiro – Mosaic Artist Spotlight


How did you get started in mosaics?

In 2003 we were living in the USA and working in the computer industry.  My Australian husband decided he wanted to come back and live here, and we both decided to reinvent ourselves at the same time.  David decided to import Turkish tile to Australia and I started making mosaic. 

How long have your been doing mosaics?

Full time since 2004.  I started by going on a course in the UK and have continued my mosaic education ever since in various countries.

Why mosaics?

I love the way the materials work directly with light, either reflecting or absorbing it and the way that the look of mosaics can change at different times of day and at different seasons.  There’s also a satisfaction when you finish something and you know you couldn’t have achieved the particular effect in any other medium.

How have your other interests, hobbies, career influenced your mosaics?

I’ve always liked making things and went to art school a million years ago in the 1970s.  Later I worked in the theatre in stage management and lighting design before making a 20 year detour into the computer industry.  I am a sometime quilter, and the interest in fabric shows in the mosaic work.

How or what inspires you?

Oh all sorts of things.  I like to work in series as that enables me to explore an idea thoroughly.  Recent series include Forbidden Fruit; a series of plant forms inspired by nature but not limited by it and The DNA Sequence, which explores visual representations of DNA.  Many of my textile pieces explore the tension between making things appear soft and flowing from hard and unyielding materials.

What makes your work unique from everyone else’s?

I like to play with illusion and hidden meanings, to take the ordinary and twist things a bit.

What is the strangest thing you have ever mosaicked?

I’m not sure I’ve ever mosaicked anything that strange, but the strangest material I have ever used was carpet tile, when I was commissioned to do a piece for a carpet tile manufacturer.

Whose work mosaics or otherwise do you most admire?

I’m inspired by and admire lots of people, but I try not to be too influenced by them.  I think it’s very important to try and find your own voice, and vastly more satisfying as a process.  Having said that the people on my admiration list range from the painter Mark Rothko to the glass artist Dale Chihuly and the art quilter,  Jenny Bowker.  In mosaics, I always find it inspiring when people take the medium to a new and interesting place.

Do you sell your work?

Yes I do.  About 70% of my work is on commission, both private and public.

What advice would you have for other mosaic artists?

Well personally, I don’t feel you can go wrong by grounding yourself in technique and giving yourself a solid base to make your artistic choices from.  I try, but I’m sure I don’t always succeed, to do my best work in each piece.  Keep looking and keep learning; buy or borrow books and get involved in the mosaic world either physically if you are lucky enough to have a group or association, or join an internet mosaic group.

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Marian teaches regular classes and workshops in Sydney and is also happy to travel to teach.  Teaching commitments for later this year include Western Australia and New Zealand.  If you would like to be on her mosaic mailing list, drop her an email.

All mosaic work in this article © Marian Shapiro 2008-2012.  Not to be reproduced in any form without permission from the artist.

Julee Latimer – Mosaic Artist Spotlight

Mosaic Handbag - Rosie

Mosaic Handbag - Rosie

How did you get into mosaics?

I saw a ‘How to Mosaic a Mirror Frame’ in a magazine and thought ‘I can do that’

How long have I been doing mosaics.

About 15 years or so.

Why mosaics?

It is the most exciting art form I have ever come across. It combines texture, light, colour and durability with plenty of bling. Its meditative most of the time, but like a good novel it can bring you to tears. After time away, I yearn to create, my fingertips itch and my mind overflows with the possibilities.

How have other interests / hobbies / careers influenced my mosaics?

The colour of emotions, the drama of theatre, the spirituality of yoga, the fun of fashion, the influence of astrology, the texture of knitting and the elusiveness of dreams combine with those heart stopping highs when I just know this is what I am meant to do.

That’s the good days. On the bad, I simply can’t fathom why I don’t do a normal job and I fantasize about a regular wage that doesn’t leave me wondering.

How and what inspires me?

The above influence me, they are my interests, my hobbies and my various careers. A line from literature or a song can spark many ideas Something overheard in a conversation can get me sketching. My inspiration comes from my sub conscious but is interwoven with my reality.

The world is a mosaic. When in harmony everything is balanced and fitting together perfectly. I strive for that.

What makes our work unique?

Mosaic offers so much more than other arts and crafts I have practised. How else to create a masterpiece and then expose it to the heat of an Australian summer or the intense cold of a Swedish winter. What other art form looks different depending on what time of day you view it, yet you didn’t imagine it. And what other art form can you use and abuse.

The time consuming nature of mosaic ensures thought, consideration, deliberation and soul go into each piece (and in some cases, a little blood thrown in for good measure).

And what other art form allows you to go completely bonkers, placing way too many tesserae on a piece and
then have viewers exclaim ‘how wonderful you are with stacking glass’ Love it.

What is the strangest thing I have ever mosaiced?

I make all my own substrates so I haven’t mosaiced anything unusual. I have sculpted chairs, handbags, shoes, busty ladies, enormous flowers and ladies in hats in the last few years.

Whose work, mosaics or otherwise do you admire?.

  • Verner Panton for the wacky retro patterns
  • Chanel in the Art Deco period for the incredible jewellery.
  • Burlesque theatre for the risqué
  • British Vogue for the edgy fashion
  • Bollywood for the gorgeous colour combos.

I have many mosaic books and look at mosaic images on various forums but, I don’t tend to look at mosaics for inspiration as such. I don’t teach that way either. If a student comes to class with mosaic pictures, I encourage them to use the images as a springboard only. I feel it destroys self exploration and doesn’t allow their work to evolve. This is always my biggest concern, for art of any medium and at any level to work, it needs to have personality and that should come from its maker. However, I do like the work of the following mosaic artists.

Sonia King for the use of one colour at a time Guilio Menossi for the portraits that rival photography and the remarkable abstracts Yulia Hanenson for the stacking
Lynne Chinn for the mix of tesserae Angela Zimek for the incredible ‘is it 3D’ ? Kim Wozniak for the concete panels Luz Mack-Durini for the elegance Jacqueline Isklander for the refinement and so many, many more that have slipped my mind at this time.

Do you sell your work?

At first this appeared to be the simplest of questions but I realise now its impossible to answer simply.

Do I?, have I?, do I want to?, do I yearn to?

Yes, yes, yes and yes. Are my works leaping off the studio shelves and gallery walls. Hmmmm…. I wish.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort on my business marketing and publicity. My work has been in local papers numerous times, on the cover and inside ‘Mosaic Fine Art Abstracts’ and due for publication this year in two other books.

I am represented by respected galleries, enter numerous exhibitions, teach mosaic art and work with schools/colleges/communities and private clients yet, still, frustratingly have to work a part time job to keep it all together when I am sliding down instead of soaring up. I dream of assistants who are in love with computers and are friends with photoshop. Such is the life of a professional artist.

What advice would you give to others?

If you are in it for the money or enjoy a beautiful manicure or have limited patience or wish to retain some semblance of sanity, give up now. If however you are in it for the passion, the incredible flights of fancy, the wonderful way it transports you to another reality then keep on practising. Practice, practice, practice.

Always learn something from each piece. If its not working, start something else. I am at my best when I have 4 or 5 pieces on the go at once. Don’t overplan, step back and let your work evolve, be open to the possibilities.

Work in silence all (or at least, most) of the time. Your art is speaking to you, but are you listening?

Also (and I have to add this as it is one thing that I find so irritating about mosaics), don’t listen to others when they say portraits are the hardest mosaics to do. Everything is relative, try them if you wish. Don’t put them off because you feel you are not good enough. Or, if you like, don’t listen to me….. I only do the easy stuff!!

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Images by HONEphotography







CAE (Centre for Adult Education) Melbourne Mosaic Fine Art Abstracts – Pam Givens and Irit Levy

International Contemporary Artists Volume Four (May 2012)

WIP Yourself Into a Mosaic Artist – Rayna Clark (Oct 2012) – This book will have chapters dedicated to different mosaic artists. In our chapter we will take you through the making of one of our pieces, from inspiration to finished artwork. Mine will be the making of Celeste (lady in hat – see above). If you wish to be informed when this book is released, please email me.


Show Us How You Made It

Mary Foley recently won our ‘Mosaic Garden Art’ Competition and has very kindly agreed to share how she created the ‘Fiesta Table’.

Glass on Glass (glued with Macglue)

This is a four seater glass topped garden table, but any size with a glass top is perfect for the glass on glass method I used. I started from the centre using a large round agate surrounded by a few more petal shaped agates in different colours. Then using some petal shaped stained glass in different sizes( mainly using scrap glass that l got from a leadlight artist) which I cut using an oil glass cutter, I just worked outwards leaving enough space for the tempered glass fill in. Before doing the tg area I glued the ball chain on the very edge and added the blue and green glass tiles for a border . Whilst laying the stained glass shapes of iridescent , textured ,and mirror , l added various size glass gems, fused glass pieces, iridescent nuggets, mini gems, glass rod, etc. The table was grouted by black grout.

I usually lay out my mosaic before glueing so l can have an idea of what it will look like, makes a bit more work but l find l shift things around a bit so then take a picture when happy and then proceed to glue using the picture as a guide of my layout.

Mary Foley

This is the first project in this section but we’d like to see many more. If you have a project you’d like profiled, please email the details together with a photo to

Legal Disclaimer: No warranty is implied by these instructions. Use at your own risk. Specialty Art Glass and its proprietors are not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of this information, or for any omission in the advice. Please wear appropriate safety equipment when cutting mosaic materials and using grouts and adhesives. Keep out of reach of children. This newsletter is copyrighted and is made available for personal use only. Please ask permission if you wish to copy any part of it.

Mary Foley – Mosaic Artist Spotlight


How did l get into mosaics ?

When l retired l was looking for something creative to do. l had done quite a few different crafts, Polyclay, Jewellery making, painting and decorating half-dolls , bead knitting, wire wrapping , embroidery, and tile transfers. l wanted something that wouldn’t cost the earth but was challenging. Incorporating some clay , transfer on tile, stained glass squares and some new nippers and mosaic glue l made my first mosaic. I WAS HOOKED!!

How long have l been doing mosaics?
My first mosaic was done in September 2008.

Why Mosaics?

Firstly l love working with all the different tesserae, tiles, gems, ceramic pieces, glass gems etc, doing different colours and designs. As well, unlike leadlight work, when using glass, as in glass on glass , the glass doesn’t have to be precisely cut. It is great seeing the result of the GOG after grouting! Lastly many different substrates can be used. Glass , wood, cement sheet, concrete, recycled frames , foam balls are some l have used to work on.

How have my other interests , hobbies, career influenced my mosaics?

Being retired means l have lots of spare time. Leftover beads, tiles etc from my previous hobbies have also been very handy to use in my mosaics. l have been interested in all types of art from an early age.

How and what inspires me?

Being a very active member of the mosaic flickr group inspires me to try different styles . There is a challenge group that nominates different mosaics each month or so, that really motivates me and l love to participate. “Patterns” is one that is on at the moment.

What makes our work unique from everyone elses?

l think we are unique because most of our work is “one of a kind” and it encourages all kinds of creativity.

What is the strangest thing you have ever mosaiced?

Mistakenly l did a mosaic of a lady with six fingers on one hand, didn’t notice until someone pointed it out (embarrassing).

Whose work mosaics or otherwise do you most admire?

I admire all mosaic artists from the beginners to the professionals, l know how much work goes into them. But l am in awe of those who do portraits so well. Haven’t tried one as yet!

Do you sell your work?

Up to date l have given lots to family and friends but may have a stall at a market one day, BUT I have been saying that for years.

What advice would l give other mosaic artists?

Try to complete one mosaic at a time and go with whatever you feel like doing whether it is different or not!Also don’t panic when it is in the work in progress stage and not looking so good, after grouting it all comes together.