I would like to introduce to you the Winner of our second Wednesday mini Challenge on Facebook, titled St David’s Day (22 Feb 2012). Baobab Tree Mosaics won with a beautiful mosaic of a Welsh Knot (you can see all winners and runners-up photos in our Gallery https://thecraftynetwork.wordpress.com/gallery/ ). Now read all about the talented lady behind Baobab Tree Mosaics and see more of her amazing designs.
Please tell us a bit about your background and your business?
My name is Yvette Green. My business is called Baobab Tree Mosaics, after my favourite African Tree. In African culture the baobab tree is also a place where women meet to talk and undertake a variety of crafts, which I thought was fitting.
I am based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. I started out about 4 years ago, just making Christmas decorations and it has very slowly grown from there.
Tell us about what you make and what training and qualifications you have or needed?
I make a variety of mosaics, mainly from coloured glass. This includes a range of products, from window hangings and decorative plates, to jewellery and Christmas decorations. My main love however is making mosaics for the garden, either to hang from trees or mounted on a pole to plant in the garden. They range from small pot plant mosaics to much larger pieces. The coloured glass and mirror used allows the garden to become part of the mosaic. The way the light shines through the glass changes constantly throughout the day, and the garden is reflected in the mirrored shards.
I have no formal mosaic training, in fact I studied botany at University and came to the art/craft world rather late. I started out at an evening class in mosaics and did a number of tile mosaics. I then decided to make a glass piece featuring sailing ships (my other passion) for a skylight above the door in my study, and was completely hooked on glass from that moment on. That skylight is still there, and the study is now my studio!
Where do you sell/exhibit your work?
I sell at craft fairs, and have a stall at the Corn Hall in Cirencester once a month.
I also sell at the Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre, College Street in Gloucester(www.glosartscrafts.co.uk).
I have a website ( www.baobabtreemosaics.co.uk) and take orders from that as well.
I find though that craft fairs are not the best place to show off the garden mosaics and I would love to get into some outdoor sculpture exhibitions or find outlets that can show them off to their best advantage.
I did have some of my garden mosaics shown on ITV’s ‘Glam up your Garden’ series last year with Laurence Llewellyn Bowen which was very exciting.
Tell us about some of your favourite or most challenging pieces and what inspired you to make them, is there a story behind each piece?
These are one of the first garden mosaic designs I made and they are still one of my favourites. I love the fact that they are big and work together in a pair. They are green, so they do not catch your eye immediately, but blend subtly into the surroundings to pop out of the foliage and surprise you.
This was my first commission for a large piece and I was very excited at the prospect.The customer sent me a few photos of their canal barge and wanted the panel as a present for her husband. I was very nervous about turning the photo into a mosaic, but got there in the end. The biggest challenge was packing it well enough so that royal mail got it to its destination in one piece!
Where do you find your creative inspiration?
I find my inspiration in nature and the plants around me. I love lush foliage, rich blue blooms, yellow African plains and garish red sunsets. I think all these colours come out in my mosaics.
What motivates you?
I don’t need much motivation, just more time. If I am feeling a bit tired with it all though, (especially the grouting, I don’t like grouting much), it all goes away when the last bit of grout is cleaned off a piece, you hold it up to the window, the light comes through, and the magic happens… then I’m ready to start all over again.
What piece of equipment could you not live without?
My tile scorer and snapper. It snaps even the tiniest bit of glass after it has been scored with the glass cutter and I would be lost without it. I think the whole business might grind to a halt!
What are your goals/plans for the future?
I am hoping to start selling on Etsy soon. I also want to start looking for better outlets for the garden mosaics.
I am running my first course in the downstairs teaching area at the Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre on 10 March. After that, I am planning to run at least 3 or 4 more courses this year. This will be a new challenge, but I am looking forward to it.
When you first started if you could have been given one piece of advice what would it have been and what advice would you pass on?
Don’t get despondent at craft fairs when people pass you by without a second glance, not everyone is going to like your work. Develop a thick skin.
Also, everything always takes longer than you think it will.
Lastly, where can we find you?
Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre, 4 College Rd, Gloucester (just down from the Cathedral)www.glosartscrafts.co.uk
Cirencester Corn Hall every month.
Thank you Yvette, if you are interested in being featured on our Blog and have a story to tell, then please get in touch, I would love to hear from you. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)