I am a self-taught artist exploring my interests in nature, history, and craftsmanship through making. I love working with copper because of the feeling of malleability under the hammer, and the way it progresses from soft to a hardened state with each successive blow. Using reclaimed copper pipe and other found materials, I make decorative and practical items for use in the home or artist's studio. My vases and small copper bowls are inspired by my collaboration with mosaicists and their need for vessels to contain tools and small pieces of things. While crunching a path through a thicket of invasive Japanese Knotweed on a hike with a friend, I noticed how the dried hollow stems are like bamboo and began experimenting with creating containers out of them with copper bands for added strength. I am interested in the concept of making something artistic as well as useful from an invasive plant, using the ancient art of metalwork to create small practical tools for contemporary artists.
Since 2015, when she bought a coal mine accidentally, Rachel Sager has been carefully constructing a mosaic world from the ruins of industrial revolution history in her native Fayette County, Pennsylvania. With the help of over 250 contemporary mosaic artists from around the world, The Ruins Project has become a sacred place for learning, inspiration, and hope for thousands of visitors each year. Its giant cement canvas stands as a living composition that marks the past through storytelling and dreams of the future through new mosaic installations every season. As a storytelling mosaicist, Rachel has been making mosaic, writing about mosaic, talking about mosaic, and teaching mosaic for over twenty years. Her signature forager and intuitive teaching styles have changed how mosaic is experienced. Her techniques include pulling hot glass with a torch, foraging and cutting native Pennsylvania stone, hand-stamping and firing clay, and recycling bits of history into new mosaic stories.
Joe always saw the inner beauty in trees, logs, and lumber while dabbling in woodworking and construction all the while working in the Forest Products Industry for 40 years. Semi-retiring at the end of 2021, he cultivated his passion to create "functional wood art." Sometimes the artwork is easily understood by the observer; sometimes it is more abstract and open for interpretation. Joe's work is always well constructed using kiln-dried wood from local sustainable forests. Joe utilizes his B.S. degree from Penn State in Forest Products every day, but currently in the form of functional wood art.
My studio name, Small Gray Clouds, is derived from an Irish blessing and dedicated to my mother who was my greatest inspiration. My hand-crafted jewelry design aesthetic is casual elegance with a whimsical edge. Each of my photos feature unique lamp work beads combined with sterling silver findings, natural stone/shell/pearl beads, and fine leather cord or other durable cords. Pieces not appearing in my entry photos, may or may not feature my glass work and include include earrings, bracelets, and hair sticks. I frequently include small mosaic pendants and found materials as inspiration guides me. No matter the combination of materials, each is a one-of-a-kind piece. Color stories, textures, patterns and function are essential in my process. Each work also includes printed instructions regarding care. 20% of my sales go to relief work in Fayette County PA and/or other US disaster relief.
My work is illustrations in pen, ink and marker. I have places that exist in reality and places that do not. The illustrations that truly exist have a very detailed process from photographing , sketching and researching before putting pen and color to paper. The abstract images do not have a 'process' per se. My mind runs free at the onset then is reigned in.
People are usually curious about the encaustic process; I believe when they see my studio setup, they will understand this is not a craft for the dining room table. Encaustic painting is time-consuming – I usually work on several pieces at a time, allowing a piece to cool before adding another layer of wax and fusing, it is messy (encaustic medium is 80% beeswax and 20% dammar tree resin heated to about 220 Fahrenheit on pancake griddles, and fused with either a heat gun or a butane torch) and requires adequate ventilation. Some people are sensitive to the odor of the hot pigment (when cold the pigment is odorless.) I will not be demonstrating, but I will have an array of work in progress, plus work for sale. I use collage in some pieces: I have used photographs, rice paper, handmade paper, mesh, and felt. The surface of a painting can be heavily textured, or polished to feel and look like glass. I find working in encaustic unpredictable, challenging, and sometimes heartbreaking.
My hopes are that my work challenges current perceptions of reality, be they political, environmental, technological, or social, and to have my art act as a fodder for the viewer to help gain clarity, play creatively with interpretation, and challenge or possibly confirm their understanding of the subject from the underlying metaphors and symbols that lay within. Growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh I had always been intrigued with nature, playing in the backwoods of the neighborhood daily, sketching landscapes, flowers, and insects. The appreciation for detail in nature led me to pursue a technical illustrator position for my early professional career with Westinghouse Corporation and Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineers shortly after graduating art school. I later realized that it was the culmination of my early childhood observations of nature, and the detail pen and ink illustration requirements of being a technical illustrator
I use the strength of metal, rock and glass to make the fleeting beauty of nature permanent. My designs are hand-fabricated pieces that are durable & wearable, yet evoke an artistic, unique quality. Handcrafted from recycled sterling silver, 14k gold, 14k gold filled metals, as well as glass, rock and gemstones, my creations draw inspiration from leaves and flowers to landscapes and patterns. Shapely, organic forms serve as the basis of my designs and are accented by a combination of textures, highlights and overlapping patterns. New to my process are micro mosaics; tiny pieces of glass, metal & foraged rock are tweezer-set into handcrafted bezels and "grouted" into place. These miniature mosaics not only add color & texture, but also cement a permanent piece of history and place into each piece.
Lisa Turbeville Markowski
Lisa Markowski, a contemporary mosaic artist. My art is evolutionary, driven by the gorgeous colors of glass and textures of various materials. Working from my studio in my home in Peters Twp, PA, I often start with a specific piece of glass. I then select my subject, gather potential materials: stained glass, tiles, millefiori, smalti, beads, stone, metal and pottery etc. I often prepare my own substrates using foam board, mesh, thinset and a wide variety of glues and tints for coloring grout and thinset. As I focus on the interplay between color and texture, the work inevitably morphs many times. The original idea becomes more developed, the colors and shapes inspire me to go in different directions. The finished pieces are individual creations that I hope bring joy.