Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interview with Lilian Broca - Συνέντευξη με την Λίλιαν Μπρόκα

Queen Esther via

Queen Esther revealing her true identity  

While going through the interview and translating it in Greek, Maria Callas came to mind. I remembered one of her famous quotes. You are born an artist or you are not. I did not know that Lilian Broca, prize winner, accomplished mosaic artist from Canada is actually SELF TAUGHT. I did not know of a movement aiming to face and hopefully vanish prejudice against mosaic. All mosaic artists and those wishing to enter into this remarkable and highly rewarding art form, hold dearly these words into your hearts. MOSAIC IS ART. For me, it is something more than that. It is the ONLY ART FORM on which you can WALK (mosaic floors) while it is still ART. The only art form on which you can EAT (mosaic tables) while it is still art. Its perfect functionality does not and should not condition its character, integrity, value and its class. Amen to that.

Lilian Broca via
1. What is it that distinguishes mosaic art from other art forms?

    Unlike most other artistic disciplines, the making of glass mosaics is governed by the will of the medium. The material itself possesses an integrity that can never be subdued; whereas oil paints, acrylics, pencils, charcoal, and conte all obey the will of the artist, the artist need only think and instruct the hand to achieve the expected result. Not so with glass and mosaic: the material dictates the outcome and must be obeyed. Even with this limitation, artists can still express themselves in glass or stone and in abstract or figurative form, and create works of contemporary meaning and impact. One learns how to “think mosaic” very quickly.

    2. What was it that attracted you to mosaic ? How did you start ?
    In my 3rd year of the Concordia University BFA program I got permission from the prof. to try this unusual medium after seeing a mural in progress. Without any instruction I learned the technique by trial and error. The left over glass was carefully saved and only after 30 years or so I decided to use it in a new series on Queen Esther as the biblical story implied the palace where she lived with her husband the King of Persia, had mosaic floors. I then bought more glass and several how-to mosaic books. The rest you know from my website....

    3. How do you see mosaic art and mosaicists in the future ?

    In my forthcoming book The Hidden and The Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca  which gets released in August of 2011 by Gefen Books Publishers, I wrote about a new international movement called TE21 (Tessellated Expression 21) launched in 2008 solely to counteract mosaic’s marginalized position and promote it as a buona fide discipline of fine arts. Its prominent founders are Elaine Goodwin (England), Toyoharu Kii (Japan), Lucio Orsoni (Italy), and Dugald MacInnes (Scotland). According to a 2010 article about the group’s founding,  Elaine Goodwin had repeatedly appealed to Sir Nicholas Serota, a curator at the Tate Gallery, London, but his response had always been the same: mosaic works belong solely in the applied and decorative arts institutions, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum (also London).

    TE21 was founded specifically with the purpose of reversing such attitudes and giving established professional artists who work with mosaic, such as myself, a distinct voice and an opportunity to exhibit together. I am not a member, but I believe all mosaic artists will have a better opportunity to obtain a deserved platform within the often elitist fine arts intelligentsia. I anticipate that in the coming years less biased and more enlightened museums and art galleries will support the re-emergence of this ancient and spectacular artistic discipline and give weight to exhibitions of contemporary mosaic art.

This Interview was given exclusively to Mosaicology Blog with all rights reserved. Images credit Lilian Broca from her website. If you wish to publish this interview please contact me.

Μετάφραση στα ελληνικά

    1. Τι κάνει την τέχνη του ψηφιδωτού να ξεχωρίζει από τις άλλες μορφές τέχνης;

Σε αντίθεση με τις άλλες τέχνες, η κατασκευή ψηφιδωτών από γυαλί καθορίζεται από τις προσταγές του μέσου. Το ίδιο το υλικό διαθέτει μία ακεραιότητα που ποτέ δεν μπορεί να υποταχθεί, ενώ η ελαιογραφία, η ζωγραφική με ακρυλικά, τα μολύβια, κάρβουνα και conte crayon υπακούουν όλα στην θέληση του καλλιτέχνη, ο καλλιτέχνης χρειάζεται μόνο να σκεφθεί και να καθοδηγήσει τα χέρια για να κατορθώσει το αναμενόμενο αποτέλεσμα. Όχι όμως με το γυαλί και το ψηφιδωτό: Το υλικό υπαγορεύει το αποτέλεσμα και πρέπει να υπακούεται. Ακόμα και με δεδομένο αυτόν τον περιορισμό, οι καλλιτέχνες μπορούν κάλλιστα να εκφραστούν μέσω του γυαλιού ή πέτρας και σε αφηρημένες ή παραστατικές μορφές και να δημιουργήσουν σύγχρονα έργα με νόημα και απήχηση. Κανείς μαθαίνει να σκέφτεται με γνώμονα το ψηφιδωτόπολύ γρήγορα.

2. Τι σε τράβηξε στο ψηφιδωτό; Πως ξεκίνησες;

Στο 3ο έτος του προγράμματος BFA στο Concordia University πήρα άδεια από τον καθηγητή να δοκιμάσω αυτό το ασυνήθιστο μέσο μετά που είχα δει μία τοιχογραφία (μουράλ ψηφιδωτού) υπό κατασκευή. Χωρίς κανένα μάθημα έμαθα την τεχνική μαθαίνοντας από τα λάθη μου. Το γυαλί που έμενε το φύλαξα με προσοχή και μόνο μετά από 30 χρόνια αποφάσισα να το χρησιμοποιήσω σε μία νέα σειρά με θέμα την Βασίλισσα Εσθήρ καθόσον η ιστορία στην Βίβλο άφηνε να εννοηθεί πως το παλάτι όπου έμενε με τον σύζυγο της τον Βασιλιά της Περσίας, είχε ψηφιδωτά δάπεδα. Μετά αγόρασα περισσότερο γυαλί και διάφορα βιβλία εκμάθησης για το ψηφιδωτό. Τα υπόλοιπα τα ξέρεις από τον ιστοχώρο μου...

3. Πως βλέπεις την τέχνη του ψηφιδωτού και του ψηφιδογράφους στο μέλλον;

Στο προσεχές μου βιβλίο The Hidden and The Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca  που θα κυκλοφορήσει τον Αύγουστο  από τον εκδότη Gefen Books, έγραψα για μία διεθνή πρωτοβουλία που ονομάζεται TE21 (Tessellated Expression 21) που ξεκίνησε το 2008 με αποκλειστικό σκοπό να αντιδράσει για την περιθωριακή θέση που κατέχει το ψηφιδωτό και να το προωθήσει σαν ένα buona fide κλάδο των καλών τεχνών. Οι εξέχοντες ιδρυτές της κίνησης αυτής είναι Elaine Goodwin (Αγγλία), Toyoharu Kii (Ιαπωνία), Lucio Orsoni (Ιταλία), και Dugald MacInnes (Σκωτία). Σύμφωνα με ένα άρθρο του 2010 σχετικά με την ίδρυση της ομάδας, η Elaine Goodwin έχει επανηλημμένα αποταθεί στον Sir Nicholas Serota, έφορος στο μουσείο Tate Gallery Λονδίνο, αλλά η απάντηση του ήταν πάντα η ίδια: τα ψηφιδωτά έργα ανήκουν μόνο σε ιδρύματα εφαρμοσμένων και διακοσμητικών τέχνων, όπως το Victoria and Albert Museum (επίσης στο Λονδίνο.) 
Η κίνηση TE21 ιδρύθηκε ειδικά με τον σκοπό να αντιστρέψει τέτοιες νοοτροπίες και να δώσει μία αισθητή φωνή και μία ευκαιρία για την πραγματοποίηση ομαδικών εκθέσεων για καθιερωμένους καλλιτέχνες που εργάζονται με το ψηφιδωτό, όπως είμαι εγώ. Δεν είμαι μέλος, αλλά πιστεύω ότι όλοι οι ψηφιδογράφοι θα έχουν μία καλύτερη ευκαιρία να αποκτήσουν ένα επάξιο πλαίσιο εντός των συχνά ελίτ διανοουμένων κύκλων των καλών τεχνών. Αναμένω ότι στα επόμενα χρόνια λίγοτερο προκατειλημμένα και πιο διαφωτισμένα μουσεία και γκαλερύ τέχνης θα υποστηρίξουν την επανεμφάνιση αυτού του αρχαίου και καταπληκτικού καλλιτεχνικού κλάδου και ότι θα δώσουν βάρος σε εκθέσεις σύγχρονης τέχνης του ψηφιδωτού.

Η συνέντευξη αυτή δόθηκε αποκλειστικά στο Mosaicology Blog, που έχει όλα τα δικαίωματα. Οι φωτογραφίες ανήκουν στην Lilian Broca από τον ιστοχώρο της. Αν θέλετε να δημοσιεύσετε αυτήν την συνέντευξη επικοινωνήστε μαζί μου.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Fabergé mosaic egg

The Mosaic egg is a jewelled enameled Easter egg made under the supervision of the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé in 1914. The egg was made for Nicholas II of Russia, who presented it to his wife, the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

The Egg was crafted by Albert Holmström (1876–1925) under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé and is made of yellow gold, platinum, brilliant diamonds, rose-cut diamonds, ruby, emerald, topaz, sapphire, garnet, half-pearls, moonstone, white enamel and opaque pink enamel. It consists of a series of yellow gold belts which are pave-set with diamonds and a variety of gems in a floral pattern, providing a look of petit point tapestry work. The pattern contains five oval panels bordered by half-pearls set in enamel, with brilliant diamonds placed at each intersection. At the apex of the egg is a moonstone through which can be seen Empress Alexandra's initials in Russian characters. The floral tapestry pattern was designed by Alma Pihl, who was inspired by needlework fire screens found in aristocratic sitting rooms of the time.
image and text via

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Turtle and Rooster mosaic from Aquileia

image creditt Andrea Bertolazzi
This is the stunning turtle and rooster theme from the mosaic floors of the Aula Theodoriana (in the Basilica) in Aquileia in Italy dated 4th cent.AD. 

How delightful and playful!

It would make a great theme for a backsplash mosaic above the cooking area! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Alexander McQueen Fall RTW 2011 and Sara Burton's "broken pottery" garments

 I am positive that more people will appreciate mosaic art after seeing this. Textiles made of smashed pottery, a mosaic technique often practiced today.

Read Vogue Review to find out more about the collection and the inspiration behind this and other pieces.

For more mosaic with broken tiles and china, you can check older posts on this blog Eco park garden, and mosaic e cards and in the meantime I am attaching some new images.

What do you think? Is there something you particularly like, prefer or even reject and dislike?

table, via
Gaudi, Barcelona, via

flower pots


table (with matching chair covers)

silver plated mosaic tray

image credit for the last 4 images

I would like to thank Little Augury for emailing me the link to McQueen collection.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Instinct (is basic)

We are told to use our logic and to calculate every single thing in our lives. Our next step, our home furnishings, our meals, our education, our careers. We forget that most of the time if only our instinct was nourished and "taken care of" like we would take care of a small plant or a bulb, we would benefit from what it has to say to us. I had once read in a book by Clarissa Pinkola Estes that in order to identify and follow your instinct you first have to nurture it, to know you have it and work on it, not to suppress it. Quote of the day. By Mosaicology. With some mosaic work there of course (look carefully on the border meander).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

An inspiring quote by Coco Chanel

You may have guessed I have a thing for quotes and design. It is like a virus. I realise that a design is never "perfect enough" and that you constantly need to change and improve it. Today I worked a little bit on this one here and I am sharing it with you. This result was totally unexpected for me.

Be determined. Carry a sword.

{notice the sword in the background}

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do not disturb my circles!

Do not disturb my circles! Reportedly Archimedes last words, said to a Roman soldier who, despite being given orders not to, killed Archimedes during the conquest of Syracuse. Archimedes is generally regarded as the greatest mathematician and scientist of antiquity and one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time.

The mosaic, showing Archimedes death, at first thought to be of ancient times, was later considered to be an 18th copy or falsification.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kinect limited edition studded with swarovski and dance central with Kylie's autograph

Beautifully decorated gadgets to win on the internet and great marketing for Kylie's Aphrodite Tour. Apparently she is coming to Italy. However, I am having trouble to understand the Aphrodite concept.

What is miraculous about this surely talented girl is that (as I have known from the 80s) she did not know how to dance. I consider dancing to be something natural and spontaneous. You either have it or you don't. How did she learn how to dance and how did she transform like that? I guess hard work pays off.

Here's the MSN link. It's the Italian version.