"There's a moment in the long, painstaking process of constructing a mosaic that contains a touch of magic. It happens when the work is almost done; the tesserae fixed in place, the shapes and textures built up, colour set against colour, and the stage is set for the final part: the process of grouting. However unglamorous it sounds, this is where the mosaic 'becomes' itself. It takes on that air of permanence, that sense of being frozen in time that is the essence of mosaic. Here are pure, embedded fragments of colour. Whether the effect is of a clear-cut design, or a more impressionistic approach, the mystery is the same.
Mosaic is a distinctive medium; it's not a substitute for painting or other mediums and when treated as such it loses impact. A mosaic gains much of its energy from the flow and direction of the tesserae - the andamento - which can vividly express that which is felt but unseen: the living energies that make up and surround the things of this world. The scale of the tesserae is also important: larger pieces might be chosen to give emphasis, or smaller pieces to make an area recede. By such tools as these are the dynamics of a mosaic controlled: mood, emphasis, emotion, composition, and movement.
The excitement of mosaic in the present day lies in the tension between the powerful roots of its glorious history and the recent upsurge of interest in the medium. As a creative force, the art of mosaic has come to life again, and is without doubt a medium for our time." Roz Wates - Artist's Statement
NORTH UIST FISH - Taigh Chearsabhagh Art Centre, North Uist, Outer Hebrides
Rosalind Wates is an artist who specialises in mosaic. She works mainly to commission: for private clients, public bodies, arts organisations, and schools and communities.
Projects range from small exhibition pieces to larger work: mosaic floors, swimming pools, and mosaic sculptures for public areas. She uses glass, ceramic, marble, slate, gold and natural stone and often employs a workforce on larger projects.
Although versed in traditional mosaic techniques, Rosalind constantly explores the creative possibilities of the medium to produce new work, travelling around Britain and abroad. During her career she has written for magazines, given lectures, taken part in television and radio programmes, and produced a book on mosaic design.
Brought up in the English Lake District, Rosalind attended Bedales School in Hampshire and went on to study Decorative Arts in London before specialising in the art of mosaic. Since then she has carried out a wide range of mosaic projects. As well as the various town centres up and down Britain that play host to her work, her clients include Michael and Shakira Caine, Jeremy Irons, Cameron Mackintosh, and Lloyds Bank.
Being able to pass on her passion for mosaics through teaching is important to Rosalind; she runs courses in Oxfordshire and annually on the Greek Island of Skyros.
Rosalind’s work has been influenced by the natural world she finds herself in, sometimes employing found materials to create mosaics. The other strong influence is the work of her uncle, the late artist Patrick Heron. Brought up surrounded by his abstract expressionist paintings, colour has always played an important role in her work.
In the early 2000s, Rosalind lived in the Auvergne in France for four years, where she continued working, eventually giving mosaic workshops in French. She is currently based in Buckinghamshire, England.
Essex Skipper Butterfly Sculpture, Colchester
Details from the Coventry Canal Basin Mosaic Map
Rosalind Wates has written a book entitled ‘The Mosaic Decorator’s Sourcebook’ which features over 100 mosaic designs to inspire the reader as well as a section providing technical advice and information. It is published by David & Charles and costs £15.99 in the UK.
In America it is entitled ‘The Mosaic Idea Book’, is published by North Light Books, and costs $24.99.