Light and Colour

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When I first began making mosaics I started by scrounging scrap stained glass and ceramics from tile and glass shops. With the tools I had at the time it was easier to use the glass and I think this helped set me on a particular course…At first I learned the “indirect” method where pieces are made face down and then cemented into a mold. Of course this didn’t let light through the glass and I soon realized that I wanted to see the glass doing what it is supposed to do. So I moved to the “direct” method, fixing tesserae (mosaic tiles) to a backboard. It’s an easier method in many ways and allows you to use clear glass as a backboard and make mosaic stained glass windows. At the time I hadn’t seen  this kind of work in any of the books on mosaic I’d read.

The upshot is that I got very excited about the potential of marrying the sumptuous colours of stained glass windows with mosaic technique, allowing me to do things with glass that cannot be done in the more traditional techniques of using lead channel and copper foiling or painting on glass.

So it became clear to me very early on that the main ingredient of my art is light. Art-making is in many ways a spiritual process. The use of creative imagination is largley a matter of inspiration and it’s axiomatic that artists often feel more like a vessel or conduit for ideas rather than the originators of them. When I am in the grip of such inspiration it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that in some way I am accessing something divine. Because of this there is – often – a profound spiritual component to what I do and what I try to express. My hope is that something of this excitement and joy is communicated to the viewer.

Obviously there is much that can be said about the divine nature of light. Light is the “essence of god” (the Life Force, Great Spirit etc., etc., whatever you want to call that). Without light there is no life. We ourselves are made of light.

Colour is how we see light – it is what light is “made of”. Colour makes you feel. Colour heals. Colour reveals. And it is perfectly adequate, by itself, to express ideas, to communicate Truth. If you look at colour, really look at it – and kind of “listen” – you can feel it vibrating and feel your own energies harmonize with it.

My mosaics, to me, seem like beacons or even mandalas. They take light and focus it into colour, shape, texture, movement. They express succinct ideas simply and powerfully, eliminating distraction and clutter. There is sublety there too. Subtle shading of colour – a piece may contain a thousand or more tesserae, each one a unique shade of, say, pink (universal love), or green (peace). Subtle changes happen as the light of the day changes and when the lights come on in the house and the piece is both backlit and forelit they seem to radiate light from within – a very cool effect. Because light is constantly changing every time you look at a piece you see something different, something you didn’t notice before, a shade of colour, a different pattern within the tesserae. It makes them a living presence in the room – they bring into the space the light, the energy of life and this is incredibly refreshing and uplifting.




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