Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thank you!

One of my favorite day lilies of my mom's
As 2014 ends, I want to thank all of you for following me and my art adventures here on my blog.  It's been a fun year and I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store.  Happy New Year!!

I loved watching them open up daily this summer

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Betsy Bird on Fuse #8

Betsy Bird featured my book on her blog, A Fuse #8 Production, on the School Library Journal's web site, saying it's "one of the most beautiful Christmas children's books I've ever seen."  Read the post here.  Thanks so much, Betsy!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Reading at Granada Books

I had a really fun time at Granada Books' Festival of Lights this weekend!  Families arrived in their PJ's and ate popcorn while I read them my book, The Night Before Christmas.  Two of my mosaics hung behind me so I could also tell them about the artwork.  I gave the children postcards of my mosaic reindeer and then Santa Claus showed up! They got to sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas, and then he had candy and books to give them as they hopped off.  Several of the children showed Santa my postcard and asked him which reindeer were pictured (Dasher and Dancer, he said!)  It was pretty darn cute. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast!

Oh yay, I’ve been featured on my favorite children’s literature blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast!  Julie Danielson has posted my detailed process of how I created my book with tons of pictures, most of which I’ve never posted before.  If you’ve ever been curious as to how I did it and what my thoughts were as I made it, please go over and read it on her blog, here!  And stay awhile if you love children’s literature.  She’s been doing it since 2006 and has a wonderful archive of the most interesting interviews and of course, fabulous children’s book art!  Thanks so much, Jules!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mrs. Figs' Bookworm with Carol Heyer

I had a great time at the book signing I did with Carol Heyer at Mrs. Figs' Bookworm!  The store is absolutely charming, as are the owner and staff, who were so friendly and welcoming.  I loved the indoor porch reading area, so cozy.
I brought one of my mosaics from the book to display, the one that shows the Christmas tree, so when the kids were doing their own paper mosaic Christmas tree, they could see that I also used cut triangle pieces to create mine.

Connie, the owner, read both my book, The Night Before Christmas, and Carol's book, Humphrey's First Christmas.  I am going to have to up my game when I read my book the next time if I want to do as great a job as she did!  She is a born story teller.

I LOVED Carol's book, which I had never read before.  It has humor and heart and the illustrations are so beautiful.  I particularly enjoyed the images of Humphrey and his wonderful expressions.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Mrs. Figs, and I hope to be back again next year!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Book Signing and Craft Event

I'm excited about an upcoming event I'll be doing with author/illustrator Carol Heyer at Mrs. Figs' Bookworm in Camarillo, CA.  I will be signing my book, The Night Before Christmas, and Carol will be signing her book, Humphrey's First Christmas, the story of a lovable camel that accompanies three wise men to bring gifts to the Baby Jesus.  Here are the details:

Date:  Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014

Time:  2-4 p.m.

Location:  Mrs. Figs' Bookworm, 93 East Daily Drive, Camarillo, CA

Bring your kids for a fun paper mosaic craft and Christmas illustrations from Carol's book to color.  Also plan to visit  Santa's Workshop in the Las Posas Plaza from 10-4 (Santa eats lunch from 1-2).  Hope to see you there!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Postcards Available From My Book

I now have postcards available of these two images from my book, The Night Before Christmas.  They are 4.25x5.5" and are blank on the back, perfect for a Christmas greeting.

The cards come in packs of ten and you can find them and my book here

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


My latest pet portrait, is of a beautiful cat named Hamish, who recently passed away. The mosaic, which is 8x10" and made with stained glass now resides with Isabelle in the U.K.

I always begin with the eyes on any animal or person.  Once I am happy with them, I know I will ultimately be happy with the whole mosaic.  The eyes can take me hours sometimes, especially if I have to cut tiny pieces such as the little white reflections, which in this mosaic are less than 1/8 of an inch in diameter.

I work with lots of visuals, including many photos of Hamish so I can get his markings and coloring just right; a black and white photo of the primary photo I'm working from to get the values correct; and a line drawing of the mosaic so I can work out the andamento of the glass (how I want to cut it and ultimately flow).

I received a lovely email from Isabelle after she received her mosaic: 

Hello Christine, I received the mosaic today in perfect condition. I love it and when the light shines on the eyes they twinkle and make me smile. You have captured Hamish and I will cherish it for ever. I feel him looking back at me and makes the loss easier. Thank you for the book and cards also but most of all bringing my Hamish back to life. Best wishes Isabelle
Thank you, Isabelle, for your trust and faith in me to create this portrait of Hamish for you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mention in Stained Glass News

In the recent issue of Stained Glass News, there is a nice little mention of my book.  Also a very cool article by Martin Cheek for all of you mosaic enthusiasts.  Find a copy at your local stained glass store or online.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beaded Horse - Cheval

I have been wanting to create a mosaic with seed beads for the longest time and finally took the time to do it.  I'm so glad I did!  So much fun working so tiny and detailed, exactly how I like to work.

I started out with a 7x7x2" wooden horse I found at a garage sale and sealed it with primer.  I loosely drew a design on the horse, but I ended up not following it and worked spontaneously one section at a time.  Once I finished the first side, I duplicated the patterns on the other side to match.

I used glass fusions as accents, and cut millefiori for the eyes.  I mostly glued the beads down while they were still on the string, but I also had to put them on one by one with tweezers, a tricky business!

Once I was nearly done, I drilled a hole in the backside, created 15-20 beaded strings and then (after grouting the horse) attached the beads for the tail.  It took nearly 100 hours to make, but I will definitely be doing this again!



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SAMA Mosaic Summit, Houston

I recently returned from SAMA's annual mosaic summit in Houston, TX where I spent four days attending presentations, dropping in workshops to see what friends were teaching and creating, selling my book at the vendor marketplace, and making new friends!

The first day I hadn't signed up for any workshops, but I was very curious as to what others were doing, so with the permission of the instructors, I popped into several classes to check out what they were up to.  I visited the classes of Carol Shelkin, Laurie Mika, and Marian Shapiro, all wonderfully creative artists and teachers who I highly recommend.

Brownian Bee Press booth
On the second day, the vendor marketplace opened where I sold my book with Barb Keith and her two books in a shared booth.  Barb was also promoting her new book, I Love You to Pieces, which will be available this summer. You can find her books at Brownian Bee Press.  It was so great to meet so many new people this way and to share our love of children's books and mosaic art. 

Marian Shapiro and I at the salon
Photo by Carol Shelkin
That night was the Mosaic Art Salon where attendees display and sell their art.  I created a small piece, 8x9" called "Dreaming," made with Mexican smalti and glass fusions, that sold and is now residing in Mexico City.

Friends at MAI
Photo by Carol Shelkin
Flair Robinson and her MAI piece
Photo by Carol Shelkin

The third day was more marketplace, the start of presentations, and the opening for Mosaic Arts International (MAI), a juried exhibition of member artwork.  Always a good time to hang with friends and ooh and ahh over mosaic art!

The final day of the conference started with some flooding in the vendor marketplace (still not sure how that happened, a broken water valve, I think).  Some booths had to be moved and the marketplace was closed for about 45 minutes so all booths lost some sales.  Our booth was at the back of the market so the water did not reach us. 

More presentations followed, then a raffle and a nice dinner with Carol.  She left early and I finished my dinner alone, the first moment I had to myself in four days.  It was rather nice!  The closing party was next, but I didn't go - utterly exhausted!  I went back to my hotel room to pack and relax and flew home the next morning.

Croutons this big are only in Texas!
Photo by Carol Shelkin

Next year, Philadelphia!  A city I've never been to before and am looking forward to getting to know.  My buddy Carol is on the committee so you know it's going to be good!!  See you there.  :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I've Been Interviewed!

Jacqueline Iskander, fellow mosaic artist, interviewed me on her blog about my experience with printing my book. Read it here and then read the rest of her blog series On Making Books. Thanks, Jacqui!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SCBWI New York!

You never know WHAT
you will see in NY!
A little over a week ago I was a first timer at The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Annual Winter Conference in New York.  I only just joined SCBWI in January, though I’ve considered joining for many years.  I sure wish now that I had joined then!  Anyone reading this who is on the fence about joining, do it!  The learning, the inspiration, being around like-minded creatives, and the friendships and support, is beyond value.

On Friday, I attended the optional illustrator’s intensive where I got to meet my online friends, Kary Lee and Akiko White, who from then on kindly helped me navigate my first conference!  Loved the interview with Tomie de Paola (by Cecilia Yung) and the presentations by Brett Helquist and Paul Zelinsky.  Having created my book with no illustration training, it was great to hear how the pros approach it, and to recognize in my book what I did well, and where I might grow and improve.

I won Paul's book!
After lunch was a panel review of some of the submissions by the attendees, where they discussed what worked and what didn’t, and then small group reviews of an illustration assignment given prior to the conference.  As I joined SCBWI so close to the conference, I did not have time to do this assignment, but it was still enlightening to listen to the reviews of others.  We were lucky to have Paul Zelinsky giving feedback at our table, and then I was lucky directly after when I won his Caldecott Honor Book, Hansel & Gretel, in the raffle!

I love my portfolio
The Portfolio Showcase was Friday night, where we got to preview our fellow illustrators’ artwork – loved that!!  I was really excited to share my mosaics, and loved seeing what everyone else was doing.  I grabbed a ton of postcards of my favorites so I could find their web sites and blogs when I got home.  Such wonderful images!  I came away inspired.

Akiko and Tomie
at the Illustrators' Social
I loved Saturday morning’s keynote from Jack Gantos who recounted hilarious tales from his childhood.  I laughed so hard I couldn’t see through the tears!  Of course, now I must go and read everything he’s ever written.
At the end of a day of breakout workshops and more keynotes, I attended the Illustrators’ Social, getting to know fellow illustrators and eating delicious cake made by Akiko, winner of the Tomie dePaola award (her award-winning illustration was made with cake!!).  Fabulous being in a room with so much creativity, including the talented faculty, and the friendliest people you could meet.

Akiko's winning cake illustration
Sunday morning Akiko received her award from Tomie (woop woop!), followed by a wondrously inspiring, funny and heartfelt keynote by KateMessner.  Did I think anyone could match Jack Gantos?  Nope, but Kate did!  When she asked us to celebrate the small successes and to take a few minutes to sit with those, it was the most moving moment of the entire conference for me.  Just wonderful.

An entertaining panel on The Art of the Picture book followed and then a keynote by Nikki Grimes, where I walked out excited to read more of her beautiful poetry.  Door prizes and then an autograph party ended the conference.  Fantastic day!

From The Nonsense Verse of Carroll & Lear
at the New York Public Library
But I wasn’t done – I spent the rest of the afternoon with more new friends, Connie and Dana visiting the New York Public Library’s exhibit “The ABC of It:  Why Children’s Books Matter” (loved!), St.Patrick’s Cathedral (beautiful, despite the renovations going on), a browse through Barnes and Noble, and a snowy walk through Central Park.  A perfect ending to my trip, and now, with much anticipation, I look forward to the approaching summer conference in L.A.  Yeah!

Kary, me and Akiko
Dana and I in Central Park