Oh the frabjous day! I’ve been pausing at the glittering windows of Merryl’s Mosaics – filled with awe at the beauty she and her students create – for as long as her studio has graced Glenhuntly Road. Several times a year I pronounce to Julian and Abby “That’s it! I want to go to Merryl’s and learn how to make mosaics!” And yet it’s never happened.
But with the end of our time in Melbourne rushing towards us, and the recent death of Grandad, there was no more waiting for the right moment. It had to be done! Mum was coming from the sadness of Brisbane to spend a week with us before returning to her home. Abby was on school holidays. I had a week of days off before starting another fortnight of night duty (ugh!). Perfect opportunity for finally calling Merryl and finding out just how her workshops ran and what we needed to do to start laying tiles.
It was ridiculously easy. Isn’t that the way? I always um and ah and um and ah and fret and hesitate … and yet, when I rang, she invited us to attend that very evening – no tools or supplies needed, she supplies everything, the workshops run for 2 1/2 hours, there’s a flat workshop fee that reduces when you bring family members and when you visit more than once in a week. And there are sessions offered 3 nights a week and 5 mornings. So delightfully flexible.
And you just have to visit Merryl’s website and read how she came to start her mosaic workshop – very inspiring :-) A passion for colour and design! A desire to create a community of supportive creativity for women! Merryl’s a woman after my own heart indeed.
Within moments of arriving, we were settled at her huge work benches, our chosen wooden boards in front of us, tools by our side, and a breathtaking array of tiles and pebbles and glass laying before us. The ultimate child in a candy store experience.
I’m making a Hamsa (found in Jewish and Middle Eastern cultures) which represents the Hand of God and is said to protect your home from the evil eye. Traditionally, they are highly decorated with an eye nestled into the palm. Mine has a much simpler design – inspired by the beautiful art of Tomie de Paola, I’m creating a Hamsa that represents our little farm and when we settle in just 26 days, I hope to take my finished Hamsa and hang it on the walls of our little farm cottage.
Mum’s making a striking platter based on a Moroccan design. She has cut and laid her tiles with painstaking precision – it is beautiful! And I can’t wait to see how those rich blue stars leap when she’s filled in and grouted her background.
And Abby – she’s making a wallhanging based on a design from one of her favourite web based graphic novels. You should see her in action – within moments of starting she mastered the tile cutter and grinder, carefully shaping her sparkling purple tiles to fit her meticulously measured curves.
Oh we are so looking forward to returning next week! And my pinterest boards are filling up with favourite pieces and designers … and birds. I’d like to start a series of round pieces inspired by the work of the English mosaic artist Martin Cheek and representing the birds of the Sapphire coast. And pieces for the garden. And for the bathroom and kitchen of our strawbale home. And for our paths. And our exterior walls. And …. And …. And … :-)
Thank you Merryl!