Gillian allard, mosaic artist and educator
In previous lives, I was a costumer and a quilter. Upon seeing the work of Anton Gaudi in Barcelona’s Park Güell, I fell in love with mosaics. I knew it was my art form, never looking back. The energy released by breaking tiles and dishes, then recreating some different is what attracts me to mosaics.
My first mosaic art pieces were broken household ceramics recreated into steppingstones, then I progressed to tabletops, picture frames and mirrors. Today I create one-of-a-kind functional art for the home and garden, including but far from limited to indoor and outdoor tables, birdhouses, signs, mirrors, holiday ornaments, magnets and jewelry. In addition to broken china and pottery, I use a variety of beads, ceramic shapes and glass in all its forms: tile, shaped, stained, tempered and fused. I created both traditional grouted mosaic in which the grout lines are negative space. I also love to create tapestry mosaic using many items that can’t be grouted such as broken jewelry, plastics, acrylics and other found objects. The pieces are placed so close together the spaces for grout disappear.
Recreating memories by reusing materials are an important part of my work. The best of this art is when someone gives me a broken dish, a single earing or beloved out-of-style necklace and I can give it back reimaged ready for another life. Participating in community art projects and creating architectural instillations also make me a happy artist.
Teaching the art of making mosaics to others - both kids and adults - is one way to show how things that are broken can be made whole again. My teaching experience includes working with kids from ages 6-15 in classroom settings. For over ten years, I have taught adults beginning to advance mosaics classes including creating outdoor mosaics, sign making, tapestry mosaic and mosaicking 3-D objects. I enjoy working with adults to create new memories with the objects they have collected or to celebrate lasting friendships while creating personalized gifts for a bride, or a special birthday.