Welcome to our little World,
where we take all the little pieces of life, and turn them into some Spectacular Artwork!
We are a group of free spirits who enjoy sharing ideas. This is a peaceful and happy place, and you are welcome to join in!

Interview with PieceMaker, Kelly, from Seaside Glass Works

I'm so excited to introduce you to Kelly, from Seaside Glass Works! Kelly is so talented, and always working on custom mosaic orders. You can see LOTS more of her work, or email her any questions about custom orders, through her etsy shop.

What's your real name? How did you come up with your shop name?

My real name is Kelly Harris. I'd been trying to figure out a shop name for a while - and it came to me pretty easily once we moved to the beach! I wish I had a more clever story for the way it came about!

How long have you been creating mosaics? What was your first piece?

I've been creating mosaics for about 10 years now. My first piece was a mirror that I did in a stained glass class I took in college. It was a bunch of ladybugs, flowers & vines with the words "love", "joy" & "happiness" mixed in. I still have it, though it's currently sitting in the garage waiting for me to find the perfect place to hang it! I first started perfecting the candle holders & vases that I currently sell in my shop once I moved to California and didn't have money to buy birthday gifts for my friends - I realized I could just make them something cool instead! When I see my first pieces nowadays I cringe a little bit - too much grout, not clean enough, etc. - but I'm glad to see that my friends still cherish them and like the fact that they're my "early works". :)

What other art do you do, if any?

I'm really good at lettering (I was a sign-maker at Trader Joe's for three years), so I do a lot of odd jobs at work when they need a sign or nice lettering for one thing or another. I also scrapbook (when I have time) and knit baby blankets for my friends when they have kids. :) Some folks would only count that stuff as "crafts", but I certainly consider it art!!

Have you participated in any shows, gotten cool recognition for your work, or any other personal achievement you want to share with us?

I haven't really been a part of any shows or won any prizes for my work, but I have been featured on the front page of a website for interior design called DesignStyleGuide.net and have been commissioned to make multiple mosaic candle holders for weddings and such. I've also been featured in a few random blogs here and there!

What would be your dream to mosaic? ... a building? .... a town mural? ...etc.

I've never actually thought about what a dream to mosaic would be - but I think it would be crazy fun to do a bench in my town or make a bunch of fun cafe table tops for one of the cute cafes nearby. Since it's so hard for me to find a bunch of space to do anything crazy big, currently I don't have dreams of large scale things - but one day maybe it'll happen!!

Is being an artist your full-time job?

I WISH being an artist was my full-time job! I currently work about 60 hours a week in television (which is awesome, don't get me wrong) and it's hard to find as much time to play with artsy things as I'd like.

Tell us about your family or your daily life or about the area where you live.

I live right off the shore of the Pacific Ocean in a little town called Redondo Beach, California with my boyfriend Charlie. We have a cute little one-bedroom apartment which is a 30-second walk to the beach and a 5-minute walk to grocery stores, restaurants, our favorite bars, shops, etc. We have two adorable little hamsters and love to spend the weekends with friends, either BBQ-ing or just hanging out while the guys play music. I love to ride my bike to the nearby pier and one of my favorite sounds in the world is listening to the ocean while I fall asleep!

What are some of your favorite things about being part of the PieceMaker group?

What I love about the PieceMaker group is that everyone is so friendly and just accepts you right away. I found an instant support group of women - even though (in my case) I haven't ever met any of them! It's so nice to form friendships with people who have the same passions you do - who can give you positive feedback and inspire you to go bigger and better with each project!

Please head over to Seaside Glass Works and check out Kelly's other 45 beautiful mosaics that she has for sale! - and come back to the PieceMaker blog to meet another PieceMaker next week!

Interview with Fischer Fine Arts!

Meet PieceMaker artist, Melissa Fischer, of Fischer Fine Arts. Mel is a wonderful member of our talented team, and it's an honor to get a glimpse into her creative world. To see more of her work, you can head over to Mel's Etsy page here.

What's your real name? How did you come up with your shop name?

My real name is Melissa Fischer. My close friends call me Mel, so I chose to go by Mel as an artist, as it is indeed a personal thing to people. Fischer Fine Arts was borne upon the idea that not only do I love doing mosaics, but all sorts of fine arts, and my daughters, Charlee Fischer, age 26, and even Aimée, who is now soon to be 14 years old. Since this is indeed a family business, and that we will eventually incorporate different forms of art, it made sense to name the business as Fischer Fine Arts.

How long have you been creating mosaics? What was your first piece?

My first piece was a small votive candle holder. I made many mistakes from it, but learned a lot. I keep that piece as a reminder to myself of the growth it takes. I've been doing arts for my entire life, but mosaics for the past 10 years.

What other art do you do, if any?

A lot...many may not know that I have a background in theater as well as fashion design, jewelry making, drawing, music and water color painting. I love experimenting with combining different elements of these into certain pieces I do. Each of these draws from the other for inspiration and composition. At one point, I applied t go back to school for a degree, but was turned down on the basis that I should actually TEACH the course and that I was overqualified. It was a frustration point for me, as I feel that there is always something to be learned.

What kind of shows have you been a part of? Have you won any prizes or gotten some kind of cool recognition for any work?

Well, earlier, when I worked in retail as well, I won several awards for having the best window displays. I've done a number of trade shows before, both to public and to wholesale venues in different forms of my art. It's a huge amount of work to do these shows with an expense that is enormous. Some of the ones I've done ran into the thousands for expenses...not fond of having to do that again! I haven't really entered any competitions or juried awards for artwork since then...just never felt the need to. I just plug away, doing what I do. The best reward to me is when someone purchases a piece, saying it speaks to them in some way, and I love hearing their story. That makes me feel that what I do is then worthwhile and meaningful...best compliment ever!

What would be your dream to mosaic?

This one is difficult to talk about in some ways, as I've kept it secret for many years. I have met families who were affected by the Holocaust and WWII in various ways. For years, I have this piece I really, really want to do that has been stuck in my mind. It's not the sort of piece one would want to hang in their living room. Yes, it depicts horror, yes, it depicts a gruesome side of humanity, but I feel compelled to do it as those that have lived through it are now getting on in years and many have already passed. I feel it is our duty to share this with the world, lest they ever forget. This is the piece I want to create, so generations for many times over, understand that this can never be allowed to happen in our world again.

Is being an artist your full-time job? What other jobs or hobbies consume your time?

I am a full time artist, but a single mother. Yes, it's often hard to make ends meet, and we have to be careful in choosing what we spend our money on wisely. I've been offered higher paying jobs before, that would have taken me away from my older daughter and would not have provided the pure happiness I feel from doing what I do. It's a tough choice, but if things get really rough, then there is a fast food place of some sort down the street I could probably flip burgers in.

For hobbies, I have to admit I absolutely love gardening. Pretty much anything with nature, but it's nice to raise some of our own veggies, reap the rewards and cook them. I'm a very avid cook, gourmet has always been a fascination to me, too, and I'm pretty good at it. For the most part, any extra time I have is spent with my daughters.

Tell us ,briefly, about your family or your daily life or about the area where you live.

I now live in a rural town in Ohio. My daily life consists of having our cat keep poking my face until I get up, usually around 5 am. I make coffee, and yes, I'm a total bear without my coffee! Then the cat gets fed, I check emails and start planning my day. Then I make sure Aimée gets off to school. From there, it's pretty much work of some sort that I have to do until she returns home again. We touch bases on her day, and while she practices her flute and works on homework, I try and finish up any work that is yet to be done. We try to set aside nights where we actually watch her favorite tv shows together and/or just talk and hang out. It doesn't always work out that way, but most of the time it does. It's sometimes hard to walk away from work, but she needs her time, too.

What are some of your favorite things about being part of the PieceMaker group?

I wouldn't know where to start as far as what my favorite thing is about the PieceMaker group. I am a rather shy person by nature, but networking with these people comes so naturally! I know I am not alone in what I do, have people who get it and understand it, understand that the lifestyle as an artist itself is very difficult. The camaraderie here is amazing and supportive and inspiring! And last but by far from least, when you are so alone, it is so important to find the means to laugh, and these people provide that, too! To me, they are now my extended family, that's how much I love these people and what they do! These people are honest and open about successes, failures, learning, etc and it takes guts to say all that. I have such a huge regard for people who are wiling to share that much so we can all learn and support one another.

Please check out Fischer Fine Arts on Etsy, and feel free to write to Mel there about an custom work you might like done!