A Real Glass Act After visiting friends in Bredon recently I was spell bound by the mosaic behind their Aga. I had never seen anything quite like it in a private house. The mosaic is of a cockerel and three hens in a field and is the work of Birmingham artist Claire Cotterill. I decided that I just had to catch up with this very gifted and talented lady and get to know more about her and her work. Claire is a warm and engaging lady and like most gifted artists quite self-effacing which is both frustrating and charming at the same time. This is what she had to say about her work.
for the British Association of Modern Mosaic an organization promoting the work of contemporary mosaic artists and I’m still a professional member today. What inspires your work and designs? My background has very much leant itself to providing access to participatory arts projects, using mosaic as a medium. I’ve worked with people of all ages and abilities, so their ideas have always informed my work. More recently I’ve gained Public and Private commissions which have involved working integrally with a client to create something special and unique for their home or garden. In the Public Arts sphere, I’ve recently created a series of panels celebrating local history and people in Wolverhampton. I’ve really enjoyed the process and loved researching the relevant social history, specific to the site. Another commission was for Scottish Water for a new water generation plant in Stranraer – This was based on a child’s winning entry in a local school competition. I also enjoy creating new work for exhibition, most recently producing a series ‘Natural Fractals’ drawing my inspiration from nature. My work is very varied and I enjoy the various challenges this presents.
me currently is Isiaih Zagar, an amazing and inspiring artist based in Philidelphia, who’s created public mosaics in the city for over 40 years. What is the most difficult aspect of your work? I suppose, like many freelance artists, you have to be constantly on the look out for new opportunities, while managing the work you already have – then there’s the need to keep up with social media, to share with others what you’re doing. I also run private courses from my studio at The Custard Factory, so time management is always an important issue, there are only so many hours in the day!
How did you get started in working with mosaics? When I finished my degree in Fine Art, I wanted to learn more about How long do most of your funding for the arts and involve commissions take? people in creative projects. Following This is always varied, depending on placements at West Midlands the detail and size of a commission. Arts and ‘Different Aesthetics’ a For example my recent Public Art cultural and multi art form agency, commission ‘Diamonds In The I conceptualized, fundraised and Rough’, took over six months to organized a visual arts exhibition and research, design, produce and free participatory multi art form event install. The ‘Cockerels’ Aga private at The Arcadian in Birmingham city commission took about three centre. I’m happy to say it was a great months – It was very detailed! success and drew more people to Take me through the process of the Arcadian than any other event what designing and creating a at that time. During the event I met mosaic involves. artists Maureen Black and Rebecca I always start with a consultation with Garner who’d been commissioned to the client, discussing ideas, themes create a mosaic at the Arcadian. We Who or what has been your and colour schemes, so I can really immediately hit it off and I became biggest influence? get a feel for what they’re after. I then very involved in the project, bringing I draw influence from a number sketch some ideas, often painted community groups in to participate. people, those people I work with and and get further feedback and then The commission involved people other artists, all the time. Most recently the go ahead from the client. The of all ages and from all walks of life I’ve been inspired by Grayson Perry’s design (traditionally known as a and resulted in a stunning permanent ‘The Vanity Of Small Differences’ a cartoon in the mosaic world) is then artwork. I was captivated from this series of tapestry’s that explore class drawn to scale. I use the traditional point! That was 1993... I then became and taste. Another artist who inspires Italian ‘indirect’ or ‘reverse’ method a founding committee member Page 22 To advertise call 07939 802 384 or 01242 500 028 or visit www.cheltenham-magazine.co.uk