My Work

I create one-of-a-kind mosaic platters, dishes, and boxes in my studio, Mad Platter Beaded Mosaics, in La Jolla, California. Uniquely, most pieces are grouted with seed beads rather than standard grout.

In the "pique assiette" tradition of mosaic art, I use chipped and broken antique china plates that have retained their exquisiteness despite having lost their value to serious china collectors. I scour antique stores and estate sales to find these "fragments of beauty", looking for such well-known makers as Wedgewood, Limoges, and Royal Doulton. I delight in recycling them into new patterns that give them a renewed context. I am especially enamoured of seashells, collecting them since I was 5 years old, and often incorporate them in my work.

I substituted beads for traditional cement grout when I began looking for something that would complement and be more compatible with the delicate look of the china patterns. I love beads and since I had already used this medium to create jewelry and related beaded art pieces (including an armoire), it was the natural choice for me.

Contemporary Mosaics and Pique Assiette

Most people are familiar with traditional mosaics as an ancient art form. Especially remarkable to me are the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Italy. At the turn of the 20th century, modern mosaics were created by such masters as Gustav Klimt , Antonio Gaudi, and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Today, mosaics are enjoying another revival, incorporating old techiques and materials with mixed media, new imagery, sculptural themes, and the reinterpretation of old forms.

My work represents a contemporary redefinition of the "pique assiette" tradition in mosaics, a folk art popular in Victorian times which utilized broken shards, pottery, dishes, and porcelain in decorative objects for the home. "Pique assiette", literally meaning "stolen from plate", dates back to the 1930's with the work of an eccentric named Raymond Edouard Isadore in Chartres, France. Isadore obsessively covered every surface of his house, interior and exterior, with mosaics made of pottery shards and glass.

About Me

Fine art was not something that was always on my agenda. I began working as an urban planner with an emphasis on urban design and historic preservation. I subsequently held several positions as an arts administrator, including director of a museum and an international organization for children's museum professionals. My childhood interest in painting and creating art was rekindled in 1995 when my two young sons and I lived in Florence, Italy for a year. There I attended the Florence Academy of Art and trained in classical realism drawing. I also studied maskmaking from a maestro in classical Italian technique. The incredible mosaic work I saw in my travels throughout Italy, France and Spain inspired me to create mosaics myself when I returned to California.

Commissions

I can create a custom art piece for you incorporating your own broken china heirlooms or specific color scheme.


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