The Shape of Things with Kelley Knickerbocker
Learn how to make a mosaic with natural and machine made materialsEnroll in Course
Who doesn’t love working with interesting found objects in mosaic?! In this course, Kelley introduces a fresh twist on this idea: creating your own unique “found objects” by deconstructing and then reconstructing/recombining shapes of materials (both machined and organic) that you already have (penny rounds, glass blobs, millefiore, river stones, stained glass, and more!).
After creating these new “found objects” directly into mortar on plastic and letting them cure, Kelley will use them as the building blocks or “targets” of a mosaic composition, which you can build along with her in real time.
As a bonus, Kelley discusses how to create an intentional configuration that can serve as your signature block. How to think about letter formations if you’d like to use your initials as your signature, or to consider other shape groupings and types of signature blocks that might be particularly suited to you.
Here’s what you’ll be learning in this course:
- How to assess ordinary shapes for new possibilities
- How to effectively deconstruct various shapes into interesting sub-shapes
- How to mix and match the sub-shapes into unique new abstract design elements
- How to use your newly created abstract design elements to form a appealing visual composition on a substrate.
- How to build a background mosaic around the compositional targets you’ve laid down, adding nuance and texture while balancing the design
- How to compose and build a signature block
Included in this course is a suggested list of materials and resources that is available for download.
Visual artist Kelley Knickerbocker left a 22-yr administrative career at the University of Washington in 2006 to found a mosaic studio (Rivenworks Mosaics, Seattle) and direct her accumulated skills in project management and planning toward designing/fabricating/installing mosaic artwork for public, commercial, residential and gallery environments.
Kelley’s ruggedly dimensional mosaics, in a broad range of materials, are a textural distillation of her fascination with contrast, material properties and the technical challenges of mosaic construction. Sharing that fascination and learning from other art makers are keys to the freshness of Kelley’s mosaic practice, and she travels extensively throughout North America speaking, collaborating and teaching in-depth workshops on mosaic style and technique.
Kelley’s fine art mosaic panels have been accepted to numerous national and international juried exhibitions, and many reside in private collections. She is an active member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.
StartIntro and Personal Interview with Kelley and Tami (8:13)
StartPDF for Download. Suggested materials and resources
StartCourse overview (7:13)
StartAssessing/cutting materials (penny rounds), combining elements (8:47)
StartAssessing/cutting materials (glass blobs, mug handles), combining elements (11:04)
StartBuilding a palette of materials, combining stone with other materials (9:03)
StartChoosing, tinting, mixing and spreading mortar with steel spatula (16:16)
StartBuilding abstract blocks (19:15)
StartBuilding a signature block (15:10)
StartRemoving combined elements from plastic (11:00)
StartComposing with combined elements 1 (8:43)
StartComposing with combined elements 2 (10:30)
StartChoosing a complementary material for background music; contouring around the central elements (10:37)
StartCreating nuance in background mosaic (3:37)
StartReview and wrap-up (8:27)