"There is something very appealing about coaxing fluidity and expression from rocks and glass, and assembling apparently unrelated pieces to form a single comprehensible idea.
My work, as well as work experience, is most harmonious to me when I achieve a sense of ordered unity from such chaos, and when I am in accord with seemingly rigid and unyielding base materials. May this harmony be reflected in my work."
Jackie Iskander comes loaded with a hefty educational background in mosaic art. She studied at Chicago Mosaic School and Scuolo Orsoni in Venice…no doubt, the two best mosaic schools you’ll find anywhere.
She went on to pursue additional art endeavors in Italy,France, in Egypt, Ecuador…and these experiences helped inform her art to speak a universal language of unified beauty and appeal.
Jelly of the Sea
She works primarily with glass…Orsoni smalti, piastrina, 24kt mosaic gold...and the results are incredible! She is currently working on a series called, “Rhythms”.
Jackie writes, “I have started a new series which I am calling rhythms. I will make one piece for each month, inspired by the natural environmental rhythms happening around me at the time. This one is for January.”
About her piece, “Pulse”, Jackie says:
“There are 2 primary aspects to this work.
First, I wanted to explore texture in a relatively spontaneous fashion, using only materials on hand. The idea for the black and white, and shades of gray, with the pulse, just came to me in an instant as soon as I opened the door in considering the possibility of doing this piece. I tried not to question or doubt myself on this... which would have compromised the spontaneous spirit, and to approach the project with a sense of adventure and experimentation.
Secondly, inspired by the political, social, and religious climates of our time, this work is a meditation on extremes: right and wrong, good and evil, left and right, conservative and liberal, etc.
I find this poem by Rumi especially meaningful:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
There is a great variance in thickness of materials, which is very challenging. of course, i wanted texture, but i wanted controlled texture. beads can be very small... but they need to be raised high enough to catch the light... this is pretty tricky when working with other thick materials like marble. likewise, vitreous is thin and flat... how recessed do i want it for enhancing the textural look, without it looking sunken? and then, I wanted the pulse line to be raised above everything else.”
Jackie doesn't limit her work to flat surfaces. She is also crafts delicate and beautiful vessels. This one is called, "Skin Deep"
“Beauty is but a mere skin-deep perfection.” Samuel Richardson
"I came across this vase... it was and naked and fragile... exposed for all the world to see. For beauty’s sake, I dressed it in gold and polished onyx. Transformed on the outside, yet inside it remains unchanged... naked and fragile."
This mosaic represents Jackie’s first attempt at the traditional, ungrouted smalti method.
“One of my objectives when attending the Orsoni mosaic master course was to get a better grasp of shading and color blending.
...nippers - often the cutting tool of choice for American mosaicists - are not allowed. a traditional technique using a hammer and chisel (i.e.hardy) is used, and can prove to be a steep learning curve for someone dependent primarily on nippers for 10 years. Needless to say, for the first few days, I felt somewhat incompetent, and struggled with achieving the fine cuts I crave.
Fortunately, I started with the leaf and stem. by the time I got to the flower, I had acquired some skill with the hammer, and was able to focus more on the shading. I used some red and orange colored gold in the petals, which is difficult to capture in a photo."
Work in progress
Orsoni Master Class masterpiece
To read more about Jackie and to enjoy additional photographs of her work, please click HERE to be directed to her web site.