Saggio finale: Phoenix rising

There it went: the last week of the second year in Spilimbergo, with another saggio finale, but this time much freer in the choice of motif, implementation, material and technique.

This time we had 6 days to finish our work, accompanied by 32 degrees and supersunny weather. I worked on a mosaic that fit thematically quite well to the heat outside and inside the classroom: a phoenix rising from the ashes, made with fillets of volcanic stone, worked in 3D.

Maybe you have read it in this blog before: I love Naples, not only because in this city in every corner you find a theater on the street and an energy that to me is also strongly associated with the Vesuvius. I am also very connected to it because it is the city where my mother was born, where I spent a year of my studies and discovered my Italian half which at that time was somehow limited to ordering icecream and pizza in Italian. It has the charm of an Arabic metropolis and despite all its problems can not disguise her beauty. Also, it is where I first got into touch with mosaics, and so I felt like making a mosaic that is connected to Naples. What first came to my mind was Pulcinella, mascot of the city and its inhabitants who know how to improvise, keep a smile on their face even in difficult situations and be happy with few things. Its black mask made me think of lava stone from Vesuvius, so I bought 15 kilos of stone and began to experiment.

With the theme of the final mosaic work in my mind “Stammi lontano” (“Stay away from me” meaning that the subject should only be recognizable from a certain distance) and an illustration of a Pulcinella beside me, I tried around with different shapes and ways of working and combined the material with glass and other stone. But somehow I was never convinced of the outcome because the beautiful material itself didn’t stand out as I wanted it to.

So I started again from scratch, from the material, which fascinated me more and more, and without motive requirement in the head. Finally (more to save material than anything else, because the amount of 15 kilos was somehow getting less and less, also because I used some of it for the portrait work) I cut the stones into fillets of about 3-4 mm. And suddenly, there were beautifully frayed forms, with a smooth surface, in various shades and details that seemed to be little pieces of coal or glass. Finally, I had found my way of using the material and a thousand ideas came to my head. One remained: Phoenix rising from the ashes.

By overlaying the slices of different colors, textures and shapes, I created the form and contrasts of the original motive by UK illustrator Amy Holliday.

In the photo gallery you find a few impressions from the classroom this week. We were feeling a bit like in third year already, experimenting with glass, ceramics, chalk, pins, screws and other material to  create something contemporary.

For now, we are done with cutting, laying and glueing. An eventful year comes to its end with incredibly great projects and a class teacher who really deserves both terms – Maestra and Mosaicista – being an inspiring teacher and artist at the same time.

Monday, I’ll go home for a week and then return to Emilie Baudrais in France to work with her again this summer. Looking forward to it!

By the way: I’ll keep the Pulcinella project in mind and will work on that for sure when the right moment and idea has come.


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1 Comment

  • Wonderful work ! I think i’ll never be able to look at lava rock in the indiferent way than i did before !

    Perhaps is the color chart of my computer screen but in Amy’s website the phoenix is made with vivid orange shades with a bit of other colors but in one of your photos is shown the paper print copy of that picture and it seems to have shades of only one color, do you use some software to shift the colors to get a better color match with the materials you are working on ?

    Thanks for spreading your joy for mosaic !

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