Sunday, May 11, 2008
Colleen Sands - Art through the Pain
First, I'd like to wish all you Moms out there a Happy Mother's Day! I thought the above-image of some bona fide "mother art" by Colleen Sands was the perfect one to use on this occasion!
Today's entry is about a mosaic artist who used mosaic art to fill the void in her life when she was forced to quit her job because of arthritis. Colleen Sands serves as an inspiration in the beautiful way she chose to channel her energy during this painful time in her life.
Colleen had mosaics on her mind years before she finally picked up a pair of nippers and gave the art form a try. Her resulting work is a florid adventure in highly textured surfaces, confetti-like color application and whimsy. Her signature style is modern and full of energy.
Who couldn’t love these playful purple boots?!
Colleen’s first teacher was her sister, who taught her the basics of mosaic application. Subsequently, increasingly serious arthritis prompted Colleen to quit her job. During this time, she found that she needed some creative endeavor to occupy her mind. Mosaics did the trick!
Struggling with her arthritis, Colleen would work, rest and go back and work some more. Out of necessity, her husband devised a special way for her to cut tile by attaching a pair of nippers to a board to help relieve the pressure on her hands. Never giving up, she persevered through the discomfort, practicing regularly and refining her skills.
Eventually, Colleen learned that working with glass was easier for her than working with tile, so she began to created mosaic art using stained and vitreous glass tiles.
She added making her own substrates to her talents and eventually started working with cement, making concrete hearts and her “mini people” series of concrete people. She also made a number of mosaic snakes!
Colleen eventually took a number of classes from my Australian friend, Brent, and learned to work with Darjit!, one of my own favorite mediums. (Darjit! is the cement sculpturing compound made of about 90% recycled materials.)
Applying tesserae to her Darjit! items remains a project that Colleen has reserved for the future.
Colleen Sands serves as a perfect example of how, when faced with difficulties, we can turn our energy away from the illness and toward making the world a more beautiful place.
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