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Social media, teaching and me

How beautiful is this?!! I want one, or at least, I want to make one.

Olivier Gramond, a French amatuer mosaic artist, exhibited this piece at the Rencontres Internationales de Mosaique (International Mosaic Encounters) exhibition in Chartres, France. This bi-annual event is a celebration of contemporary mosaics, and attracts entrants and visitors from all around the world. I particularly love this piece. Mosaic is usually mounted on a two or three dimensional substrate. This mosaic IS a three dimensional substrate all on its own. I think it is very exciting.

I found this Gramond artwork when a member of one of the FB groups I follow posted it on Facebook. You know, this social media stuff is pretty funny. I haven't been using it for very long but already I can feel the pull of the addiction. I have gone from being loathe to look at it at all to being almost incapable of controlling myself. Hours and hours can be wasted, and I use that term advisedly, on Facebook alone, just keeping up with what is going on in the world. I am particularly addicted to news feeds. I follow news organisations from all over the globe. News organisations and political parties. I usually end up yelling at my i-pad in anger or disgust at the things I am reading, but I keep going back. It's like I can't bear to think of missing out on something that everyone else might already know! Which I guess is the power of the whole social media phenomenon. I mean, that is the point, right?

One of the best things I have found about Instagram and Facebook and Linked In and other social media platforms, is that I get to look at other artist's work. Pieces that I would normally not get to see without some hardcore research or a good deal of luck are available for me to view all day every day. I see sculpture and painting and drawing and mosaic and embroidery and photography and all kinds of creative work, all being produced by people tucked away in studios or loungerooms or spare rooms or warehouses or collectives or anywhere, really, from every country in the world. There are truly so many talented people making beautiful work that sometimes it is harder to tear myself away from looking at their work than it is to be making my own.

And it is SO inspiring! Every day I see work that is just joyful to behold. New techniques or a really original style or an old material used in a brilliant new way. After I look at so much magnificence I am desperately keen to get back into my studio and play. Not necessarily with tesserae for a mosaic, but it could be with fabric or charcoal or paint. I also often need to pop out into the garden and plant something or sow some seeds - it's all creation, isn't it? The making of something from inside yourself. (And by the way, the veggie garden is raging along in this beautiful Indian summer we are having. Huge broccoli and caulis and so on. Yum.)

And speaking of creating new things, I have been really enjoying my mosaic class at the Byron Community College. I have a great class of beginner mosaic artists, all women, who are exploring the medium for the first time. I have spent quite a bit of time discussing andamento and opus, and the importance of including the flow and the working of the tesserae in their design. It is such a fundamental part of mosaic creation, and also the hardest bit. The rest is relatively easy, so much of it is mechanics, but both expressing and creating one's design through the flow of the pieces is the tricky bit. I think my class will create some nice pieces, and hopefully we can run another class where, now they have some basic knowledge, they can pursue more complex designs using a greater range of materials and some different techniques. I think that would be fun.

Dynamic drawing class tomorrow with Ron Curran. Can't wait.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Leave a comment in the box just there --->

I leave you with a pithy little quote from psychologist and digital media consultant Jocelyn Brewer. “The real question is why the person chooses to engage in social media over real-life communication, and what might be missing from the quality of the real-life connection.”

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