Looking for mosaic artists in the region I scanned the list of names of former students of the Scuola Mosaicisti who have their own studio lately. My eyes immediately got stuck on a name: Dagmar Friedrich. A German with her own private laboratorio, here in Spilimbergo? Of course, I was curious to find out more about her. A few days later I was standing at her front door.
Dagmar’s studio is bright and friendly. The large windows let plenty of light fall on the mosaics which are partly finished and partly in work. I wander around on the beautiful terrazzo floor, designed and partly realized by her. Texture samples are distributed in the room. Dagmar tells me stories of past and new projects. And the way she speaks of her work shows how much she loves and understands it.
If you look at her work, you realize quickly that Dagmar has a penchant for natural and bright materials like pebbles from the river Tagliamento or lighter marble. The textures of her mosaics play with the mix of rough and smooth surfaces, and the contrast of shiny and matte. Overall, everything looks very classy to me. Also because Dagmar enjoys working in matching tones and sometimes works tone in tone to let the forms and the material itself make the rhythm. Therefore you will find little figurative works in her studio.
For Dagmar, the fascination for mosaic begins with the collection of the material: “I love to collect pebbles in the Tagliamento for my work. Some people here don’t even know what treasure this river is. Every time I arrive at his bed after walking over the fields that surround him, I am overwhelmed by its beauty.”
The river is one of the few that spring in the Alps and their own course looking through nature. As its name says , it cuts itself again and again through the countryside. And washes the calcium and silicon containing rock masses to a huge pool of pebbles of different color and texture. But even if Dagmar is on her way to other places, she searches for new material. “After years and years of working with different material my eyes scan the landscape unconsciously,” she laughs .
In addition to commissions for special occasions such as weddings, she has specialized in small jobs. “It came naturally. As I’ve got the children quickly after school, I had to find projects I was able to work on during my free time.” Among these are small inserti: details, for example of Klimt paintings, implemented in mosaic fitted into a specially treated background of cement. Sometimes a little piece like glass from defective productions build the beginning of a composition.
But Dagmar has even worked on large format mosaics. In general, in cooperation with other mosaicisti. “It’s nice now and then to work with other artists. Such projects always bring me new inspiration ”
One of these works is the mosaic for the primary school of the village Taio in South Tyrol. An ABC, implemented in smalt, marble and pebbles meander over an area of 2 x 10 meters on a wall of the auditorium. Again this work reflects Dagmar’s preference for the interplay of different materials and mortar textures.
“I started experimenting with the structures and composition of the mortar in smaller works. I learned a lot about it with Marco De Luca, who gave a 2-year restoration course here in Spilimbergo. This experience has influenced me a lot.”
Among her teachers at the Scuola Mosaicisti were Castellan, Pauletto, Pastorutti, Pighin and Miorin.
In 1999 she took part in a stage with Giulio Candussio.
How did it feel at that time as a German to take part in a mosaic training right after graduating from high school?
“For me, it was clear: I want to learn a craft. Mosaic had already fascinated me so I decided to try it out. At school I was one of the few from students from abroad, and the proportion of male students was much higher than today. During the lessons which were all held in Italian language I sometimes didn’t understand a word. But that did not stop me, because I always enjoyed the practical part. ”
Since she has completed the formation a lot has changed in school, she tells me. “For example, we didn’t work a lot on contemporary mosaic, but almost exclusively worked using the Facchina method and classic style. It took me some time to develop my own mosaic language.”
As for the language of our conversation, we can not really decide and switch from German to Italian and back. Meanwhile, Dagmar’s dog Billy rushes through the doors that separate the work space from the storeroom . Tail wagging, the half-breed with black fur early indicates when a visitor approaches. And this happens quite often, because Dagmar is known here in Spilimbergo.
Not least because she works as a teacher at the Scuola. During the summer months she offers courses for beginners and advanced. Even in primary schools and in collaboration with organizations in the region she has carried out courses. But also the tradesmen in town appreciate the works of the German mosaicista: The most popular bakery in the village is already provided with a sign made of smalts and marble.
Dagmar also offers workshops in her own studio. And has just returned from one in the United States, near Boston. “I like the exchange in doing mosaic. Many of my students come back regularly to continue their training. Which is great, because we can devote ourselves to specific topics and bring forward the formation.”
I guess this won’t be my last visit here in the studio, I think. And she promptly asks if I want to drop in once in a time to work on my own projects. I am very excited about this offer and will bring my martellina next time.
Dagmar Friedrich (1967, Ulm) completed her education at the Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli in 1989. Shortly thereafter, she built up her own with her own studio in Spilimbergo. Her clients include public institutions and retailers. For private persons, she creates mosaics for special occasions. At the mosaic school in Spilimbergo, in cooperation with public institutions and in her studio she regularly organizes mosaic courses. More information about the artist can be found on her website.