Tuesday, July 9, 2013

5 Questions with Nola

Not long after relocating to the current postcode, the 2095 decided she wanted learn something she had always had an interest in.  The art of Mosaic.

Not sure as to why it had to be mosaic, but as the 2095 had recently gone through a life changing experience, she learned simply to acknowledge the desire and follow through with it, if nothing else other than to not have that "I wish I had" regret.

Decision made, the only thing left to do was work out exactly where workshops like this were held and no matter how many different directions the 2095 explored, all roads led back to Mosaic Madness.

Money duly paid, nerves kicking in (as the 2095 had this ridiculous inner self-pressure of "if I can't get it 100% perfect the first time then I simply will NOT to do it"....which over time thankfully has abated to lesser degree), she rocked up, tentatively signed in and awaited the beginnings of what would soon become one of the most amazing experiences of her life.

Nola didn't just walk in to class...she bounded in full of energy, life, enthusiasm, positivity and creativity. No barriers, no "let's see what this class is like before I adapt myself"...she simply was being Nola.

We had been told to select a subject, do a reverse image of it and bring it in to class. The 2095'ers choice was simple "Peace & Harmony" as it was a place that she spiritually and emotionally reached after a tumultuous couple of years.

Through guidance, patience and positive reinforcement the 2095 felt at home.  Here was this woman who was not only dancing around (literally), singing away in Greek to one of the 2095'ers Dad's favourite artist's Cat Stevens' "Ruby Love" (whereupon the 2095 simply got up and joined in the dance as she loooves music with a passion) the 2095 let out a sigh of relief (albeit internally)..."finally someone else is out there who is like me. Someone who doesn't give a toss about what others think.  If I want to dance I will dance, if I want to sing I will sing.  If I am a square peg then so let it be".

As a means of thank you for being such a complete inspiration to the 2095'er in so many ways she will never fully realise (even to this day), here are my 5 questions with Nola.

Before becoming the queen of all things mosaic you had another "life".  Can you pinpoint the exact moment when it became a necessity to follow the creative dream and leaving the world of corporate and how difficult was the transition

Oh I remember that time very well - around the age of 37 I became unusually restless. I have always invited change, however this time the change I was experiencing was a restlessness. I realised that I was moving out of my career and launching into something of my own.

During this time I had begun painting on ceramic tiles - my own attempt at iconography - the images were not very good and because I felt they weren't good they never got the chance to improve - however what the experience gave me was a desire to draw more - Oh Dear!  I'm now leaving my career to become an artist.

Actually it was more like I'm leaving my career to pursue art, to pursue a life of self expression and self discovery.  I was too excited to be scared (scatter the letters in scared and you will make sacred)

You are without a doubt, one of the most energetic, positive and encouraging people I have ever had the pleasure to meet and continue to  have in my world.  What is it about teaching others that inspires you

At teaching!  You see I am really the student...the students are really the teachers. Simple!

Your mosaic madness world includes many incredible aspects including that of community works.  When did this segment of your world come in to being and how has this movement "grown" over time

When I started my studio and called it Mosaic Madness it was hard to find or learn of anyone who mosaiced.  Some artists incorporated mosaics into their projects from time to time but no-one I knew called themselves a mosaic artist.

So I learnt the art form from the raw basic roots: from substrates up by connecting with wordsmiths, swimming pool installers, tilers etc.

I bought every single book on mosaics: this was pre-Google, so getting info was challenging.

In 2002 I started the Mosaic Association (www.maanz.org) and now there is around 600 mosaic artists, teachers and enthusiasts sharing their passion for this art form.

As an aside it must be noted that after her first "workshop" the 2095 went "mad" and started to produce project after project such was her addiction. These are only a sample with the Venezuelan Flag as homage to the 2095'ers beloved sister-in-law

Mosaic Madness is now the Mosaic Art School of Sydney and teaching this art form is now more than a weekend workshop and has moved into sculpture and public works.

Personally, I love the mosaics in public spaces and I am now pursuing conversations with local government to make more of this happen.

Commissions and installations.  Which has been your biggest AND most satisfying to date

I feel my most satisfying commission to date is the work I did for the Catholic Cathedral in Goulburn.

A massive work on the outside of the Church paying homage to Caroline Chisholm in mixed media and semi precious stones. 

This project challenged and grew me the most.

If you were to sum up the wonderful world of Nola in 5 words, what would they be

Smiling goes a long way


Oh teacher/mentor of mine, you will never know how much you have impacted the life of the 2095 chick.  You arrived at a pivotal time which was destined to "be". Since then you have and will continue to be a source of inspiration in SO many ways.

To see read more about this amazing person and want to enrol in any of her classes or be part of her community works it's pretty easy to do

Mosaic Art School of Sydney click "here"
Spontaneous Creativity click "here"
The Corporate Buddah click "here"

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