Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An Orsoni Mosaic Class with Italian Smalti

I had the incredible opportunity to spend 5 days in Venice at the Orsoni Master in Mosaic class.  It was a week of uninterrupted making surrounded by creative people that value both art and the process of conceiving it.  My teacher was an invaluable resource and my classmates were amazing.

orsoni finished burano mosaic smalti venice class master italian italy flutterbybutterfly flutterbyfoto Sharon Warren
Finished italian smalti mosaic of Burano

This is my first time working in mosaic.  I have spent the last few years working in fused glass so this mosaic required a major shift.  Quite a bit of time was spent thinking about my project, finally settling on a photo of Burano that my husband took last November.  I painted it in watercolors to get more comfortable with the perspective and the lighting.

orsoni watercolor burano mosaic smalti venice class master italian italy flutterbybutterfly flutterbyfoto Sharon Warren
My husband's photo of Burano
orsoni watercolor burano mosaic smalti venice class master italian italy flutterbybutterfly flutterbyfoto Sharon Warren
The watercolor inspired by the photo

Before starting, I made the conscious decision to focus on gradients and take advantage of the enormous color library at Orsoni.  All of the glass we used is made on site at the Venice foundry so you are surrounded by glass on shelves, in bins, in barrels, rainbows of color are just everywhere. 

orsoni color library venice mosaic master glass smalti italian italy
Orsoni glass library in Venice, Italy

We shaped our glass with wheeled nippers, a hammer and a hardie and in a classroom across from the furnace building.  The teaching style of the class was completely hands on.  You arrive at 9am Monday morning and start picking glass almost instantly.  Antonella allowed each person to find their individual style, providing knowledge and support as each person needed.  I struggled some in the beginning to come up to speed on how to use the hammer and hardie but finally got the hang of it.

orsoni classroom color library venice mosaic master glass smalti italian italy hardie hammer
Orsoni mosaic classroom

Slow progress was made the first day, placing the smalti cut side up as I worked out both size, pattern and color placement to get the depth.  I worked pretty late most nights and started pretty early every morning.  Here's my some pics of my progress over the week.

orsoni progress burano venice mosaic master glass smalti italian italy flutterbyfoto flutterbybutterfly
My progress over the week

This mosaic class came at a time in my life when I really needed a shot of inspiration.  This Navy move hasn't been easy, it's our tenth home and our third time living out of the US.  I have been unable to find much of a maker community and my windowless workshop is in a closet between the toilet and the washing machine.  This has left me in a kind of funk and feeling pretty unimaginative and unmotivated.

Thank you to all my classmates and to Antonella for rousing my artistic spirit!  I wish everyone happy creating!

orsoni progress burano venice mosaic master glass smalti italian italy flutterbyfoto flutterbybutterfly
My amazing classmates and all the work we created

The Orsoni Master in Mosaic Class is a once in a lifetime experience and I loved every moment of it.

orsoni progress burano venice mosaic master glass smalti italian italy flutterbyfoto flutterbybutterfly
A heart carved into the stones in the tunnel outside Orsoni