Glass mosaic image from / colorbuilding

By Linda Fahey

Art has always been a big part of my life. I’ve worked in many different art forms, from pottery to computer graphics. For many years I’ve admired mosaics – with my interest in collage and composition, I guess it was perfectly natural that mosaic art finally got my full attention. I’ve been a mosaicist for over six years now. I’m lucky to have been able to travel Europe and see so many ancient Greek and Roman mosaics. These trips are always humbling: great mosaic pieces seem to stare back at us from over 2000 years, defiant of time. They are a great inspiration, a great example.

I love working with glass. It has great life to it. It has great range. As long as you know the installation recommendations for a particular type of glass (and the proper safety precautions are seriously observed), it’s a material even a novice can be comfortable using. I love working with it; I also enjoy teaching students on the art of glass mosaics. This type of work has no end. The material selection today for the mosaicist is limitless, as glass is one of the most malleable industrial materials available. Especially now that the internet has been widely adopted, mosaic glass can easily be found in every possible shape and size, not to mention the staggering range of color and texture. Maybe I’ll always remain an innocent when it comes to mosaic pieces – going to a glass store or shopping for glass tile is one of my favorite pastimes, and although I don’t use it exclusively, I use glass in nearly every piece I create.

Working from my art studio in Pacifica, California, I’ve recently developed an interest in creating ‘movable art’ – mostly hanging pieces, a perfect format for glass. I find it a remarkably user friendly material to work with and feel inspired to use it in all of my work.

At this stage of my career I’m branching out into larger format installations like swimming pools and oversized installations. One of my goals as an artist and also as a businesswoman is to keep up on what’s new in the glass industry. At first it was a stretch for me, but now I enjoy attending industry trade shows; most recently I was at Coverings 2004 in Orlando, Florida. For me, staying on top of the industry is not a compromise. More than important for business, meeting the people in my industry and developing relationships generates more ideas, more creativity. The glass industry has grown exponentially the last five years or so, and I’m naturally excited to see what new products glass manufacturers and artists are creating for us to enjoy.

When I meet with clients and talk about new designs, or when I’m teaching new students the art of mosaics, it’s easy to get them motivated to use glass. It really speaks for itself; it sells itself. Just about everyone I deal with develops a great appreciation for it. It will continue to inform my pieces in the years to come.

Linda J. Fahey is owner of Marco Tilearts Design.