Friday, March 7, 2008

Laurie Mika - Expressive Mosaics...and everything else!

Last night, when art goddess, Laurie Mika, told me that she lived very near where I will soon be moving, I thought to myself, "Woo hooo! Easy access to eye candy!" I'll be calling her whenever I need a fix. I love her work! She performs real magic with polymer clay and other media turning it into artful juxtapositions between old and new...order and complexity ...with a look that is unmistakably Laurie.

Art Goddess


Laurie Mika's work doesn't stop with just mosaics. This artist is as diverse as she is creative. She is currently on board with a number of collaborative projects that involve painting and collage without mosaics. She paints banners. She creates art furniture. Is there anything this artist cannot do? I'm not the only person who stops drop-jawed, dead in her tracks every time she sees a Laurie Mika work of art. There are plans for her artful endeavors to appear in four or five books within the next year or so and if you find *that* exciting, get a load of this! Laurie will soon be teaching workshop in Tuscany... and there are still openings! It will be held in Cortona (Think, "Under the Tuscan Sun") on September 20-27 and will be a collaborative workshop team taught by Laurie and her art-partner-in-crime, Lynn Leahy who does reverse glass painting. The name of the workshop is Mixed Media Mosaics: Window to the World. Participants will be working on a Mosaic Icon, the focal point of which will be a piece of glass that will be painted and collaged, etc. (ie, the "window") The workshop will include a day trip to Florence to visit the Uffizi Gallery and other fun activities. Pricing, itinerary and registration forms can be found at the Toscana Americana website HERE Oh...and wine will be flowing along with the creativity!!! Packed yet??
Renaissance Banner
Laurie Mika table

Although a worldwide traveler, Laurie has spent the majority of her life in Southern California.
Laurie Mika

She earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts at the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya in the early 70's, then went on to a graduate level Art History program at San Diego State University. During this time, Laurie worked in the Gallery at Bazaar Del Mundo in Old Town, San Diego. This work experience along with her education and extensive travels to places such as India, Nepal, China, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Europe, Mexico and South America have all informed the ethnic influences seen in her work today.

Heart in Hand

Laurie began making commissioned paintings in the mid-1970's. Since then her work has progressed toward embellishing a variety of different surfaces contained within her trademark geometric sensibility. The work that has caused such a stir among a lot of my own artist friends (such as Enchy in Washington State, who took one of Laurie's Art Fest workshops), is the eclectic approach Laurie takes with her own unique handmade tiles. She combines these in mosaics treatments that include beads, and jewelry to create the contemporary icon pieces that I've just shown you. They perfectly exemplify Laurie's interests in Byzantine art, Illuminated Manuscripts and Mexican folk art.

Aside from the many paintings and pieces of furniture that have been privately commissioned, Laurie's work has been featured at Trios Gallery in Solana Beach, Carlsbad Village Faire Gallery in Carlsbad and the Next Door Gallery in San Diego. She has also participated in many group shows including Designer's Workshop, Designer's Showcase, Carmel Valley Artists, Artwear, Artisans Del Mar, Talmadge Art Show, Art in the Burbs, Artwalk, and The Society of American Mosaic Artists show, Earth Elements, in Miami, Florida. At this time, she is participating in an annual show, Dia de los Muertos, at The Next Door Gallery and at The ArtBar in Santa Ana, California.

I happen to own a copy of her great instructional book, Mixed-Media Mosaics: Techniques and Projects Using Polymer Clay Tiles, Beads & Other Embellishments which is offered on

She is also published in the premier issue of Expressions magazine, 400 Polymer Clay Designs, a Lark book and in New Techniques for Wearable Art by Rice Freeman-Zachery, published by Rockport in 2004.

For more information about Laurie Mika, her upcoming workshops, current art for sale and photos, please visit her web site at Mika Arts...oh, and sign up for that Tuscany trip! I'm thinking of doing that myself. What fun!


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jen said...

Oh Stacy! Laurie's work is stunning! I'd seen the book before (it's a title amazon keeps recommending actually) and I was all, "What do I want with a mosaic book?!?" (no offense - I just don't need another direction right now. ;) but seeing these shrine/assemblages?!? Oh! OH!

Stacy Alexander said...

Isn't her work fabulous! I can't wait to move down to Southern Cali so I can see more of it and take some of her workshops!


Saints and Sinners said...

I ADORE Laurie!!! She is one of the sweetest women on earth and so friendly. You 2 will be great friends when you move!!!

freebird said...

I've got her book. Wish I could see her (or anyone) handle the Sculpey she talks about using. I find it so soft I can't pick up my piece after cutting it. I plan to work my way through her book as I love the idea of making my own tiles. I really need a frame for a cross stitch picture I made 2 years ago for my bathroom. I made an odd sized square picture so need to pretty much make my own frame or pay a lot for one to be made. I figure her book should help me enhance my picture and my picture gives me the perfect reason to try her book.

Cindy Lietz said...

I love Laurie's art... it is as creative and expressive as Laurie herself! I like what she said in the video, about being a "supply junkie". I am one of those myself, having a studio crammed with every possible type of art supply you can think of. Especially polymer clay and all the accoutrements. (Of course there is always room for more!)

Being able to work with a lot of different materials can lead to some very creative ideas and I love where Laurie's ideas took her!

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