Anne Cardwell of Making Mosaics
My name is Anne and I turned my illustrative eye to mosaic about 20 years ago. Inspired by the textures and colours of the materials, I make collections of jewellery and mosaic pictures. Originally a graphic designer I have always worked with colour and form – but increasingly weary of staring at a screen I happily exchanged my keyboard for a pair of nippers.
I love working with and inspiring others and teach mosaic courses from my studio in the beautiful market town of Saffron Walden in Essex. Mosaic has been an art form since the Greeks used pebble and stone, the Romans adding a touch of glamour with the addition of glass and many cultures embracing it over the years. It is an enduring art form and still employs the same traditional methods as it did all those centuries ago.
Aside from mosaic making I am also a print maker and ceramicist – these art forms end up married together in my mosaics.
I have been making (and teaching) mosaics for about 15 years - but making a mosaic in miniature in the form of jewellery is relatively new – I started looking around for beautiful bases and continued from there. I started my mosaic career with giant pieces for schools and have been working downwards size wise – much more practical! Aside from jewellery my mosaic designs pictures are presented in box frames and are made with Italian smalti glass and my own hand printed and fired ceramics including lettering, I seem to have got a bit stuck on birds!
What inspired you into your line of business?
Previously a graphic designer I was always looking for an artistic career that was going to take me away from my computer. A one day course with a mosaic artist inspired me immediately to set up a mosaic studio and teach – partly as a means to collecting and storing all the fabulous materials that can be bought or found on beaches or car boot sales and turned into something beautiful to wear or admire. Shortly afterwards I wrote a book called Stylish Mosaics, full of contemporary designs for homes and gardens.
I am making with my hands every day – with clay, with tiles and I am also a printmaker - I can’t imagine spending my day doing anything else.
How do you find the Things British retail concept? How has it helped your brand?
It is a small space in which to display your favourite and most popular pieces – it does tend to focus your mind on what is selling well and looks best - and to keep re evaluating your work. Presentation is very important so packaging and beautiful display do help.
Britain is admired world wide for it’s vibrant craft industry selling stylish, innovative products, from fashion to music and art. It’s wonderful to be part of this big community and it’s competitive nature keeps artists on their toes. British-made means the very best in handmade.
What advise would you give to anyone who is keen to step into retail?
To come along to Things British – it could start here!
What are the next big plans for your brand?
As a graphic designer I am excited about developing my packaging and brand identity and creating more targeted products - I can hand print for specific occasions and places – watch this space.