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Business of Mosaics Masterclass

Mosaic artisans take TileFest by storm

“Get ready to transform your creative practice into a professional practice and generate income doing something you love.”

Laurel True

Are you angling to change your career to mosaic-making and could use some guidance in getting your business started? Are you a skilled installer or tile maker but could use some support on the nuts and bolts of the business end?

Artist and educator Laurel True combines glass, ceramic, mirror and salvaged building materials from the urban landscape to create site-specific installations, murals and sculptural forms.

Good news – there is a class for you, about the business of mosaics from a master mosaic maker, Laurel True. 

Laurel True’s Business of Mosaics Masterclass: A Roadmap for Creative Professionals is offered spring and fall at https://truemosaics.teachable.com/p/business-of-mosaics-mc-202211. It provides four weeks of group coaching sessions, admittance to a supportive, inspiring newsletter community, and 12 modules of course material to explore either at your own pace or in a four-week framework, aligned with the weekly coaching sessions and cohort Zoom meetings. 

True designed this course for those who want to be professional, formalize a side hustle, sell or exhibit their work or pursue public art and commissioned work. “Becoming a professional mosaic artist has enriched my life in so many ways,” True said. “If that has been a dream for you too, I strongly encourage you to explore this possibility.”

True’s Business of Mosaics Masterclass is derived from years of teaching and seminars, distilled into a 12-module format.

Artist and educator Laurel True combines glass, ceramic, mirror and salvaged building materials from the urban landscape to create site-specific installations, murals and sculptural forms. She received a degree from University of Wisconsin in African Studies, and has studied at Studio Arte del Mosaico in Ravenna, Italy, Universite Chiek Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, Parsons School of Design and the Art Institute of Chicago. She pursued specialized training through apprenticeships, most notably with Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia in 1991.

Laurel True (l) with mentor Isaiah Zagar, and Katia McGuirk, The TileWorks Executive Director, at TileFest 23.

Over the past 28 years, she has designed, created and facilitated hundreds of projects for hospitals, parks, commercial, residential and public spaces in the US, Haiti, Africa, Europe, Turkey and Latin America. True co-founded the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland, California, in 2005 and is Founding Director of The Global Mosaic Project. She has partnered extensively with public health organization Partners In Health, working with communities to create artwork for hospitals and clinics in Central Haiti and serves as Director of the Mosaic Program at Art Creation Foundation For Children, in Jacmel, Haiti, teaching and mentoring youth in mosaic mural making, architectural mosaics and entrepreneurial skills. True was an invited participant in the First International Urban Mosaic Intervention in Chile in 2014 and was awarded a role as creative ambassador through the International Community Mural Arts Program through the US Department of State in May 2016. She is a member of the Community Built Association, Society of American Mosaic Artists, Americans for the Arts, Global Alliance for Arts in Healthcare, National Association of Art Educators and the Haiti-New Orleans Heritage Task Force.

With a desire to make this class accessible for all, True offers partial scholarships, by application, and payment plans. 

View True’s free, previously-recorded “Intro to the Business of Mosaics” mini-seminar at the course page. Course topics include: 

  • Mindful approaches to work-life balance
  • Valuing your ideas
  • Professional mindset
  • Presentation, promotion and marketing
  • Setting up a mosaic business
  • Sourcing opportunities
  • Creating effective design and production contracts
  • Creating project budgets and proposals for commissioned, architectural and community-based work
  • Calculating business expenses, overhead and profit 
  • Pricing your work
  • Curating your business practice so it continues to generate income and foster well-being
  • Sustainability and change

Visit https://truemosaics.teachable.com/p/business-of-mosaics-mc-202211 for details and registration. 

The Tile Geeks group generally installs Mercer reproduction tiles from The TileWorks in a unique architectural project. This year, founding Tile Geek member Jim “Artzen” Garbe will install tiles in a planter in memory of a fellow Tile Geek’s 17-year old son who lost his fight with cancer recently. (L to r): Scott Carothers, CTEF; Jim Garbe, and Stephen Belyea.

A.R.T.isans, Tile Geeks bring artistic installation to TileFest 

TileFest, taking place May 18-19 at The TileWorks (aka Moravian Pottery and Tile Works) in Doylestown, Pa., has long been a mecca for those who love, collect and work with hand made tile. Co-sponsored by The Tile Heritage Foundation, TileFest is a confluence of tile makers, tile artists, family activities and tile education. 

The Artisans Revolution in Tile (A.R.T.) class that started the A.R.T. movement and resurgence of artisan tile setting in a new generation of tile setters, together with their 107-piece mosaics created over the course of four days. The pieces that will be created during TileFest will have local and cultural significance to the Doylestown, Pa., area where TileFest 24 will be held.

This year, The Tile Geeks, a tile setter-centric installation Facebook group that has been a mainstay of TileFest for the last few years, will again attend. Typically, they install Mercer reproduction tiles in a unique architectural project, which is then auctioned off to benefit The TileWorks. But this year, Jim “Artzen” Garbe, a founding member of Tile Geeks, will tile a planter for a fellow Tile Geek in remembrance of his 17-year old son who lost a two-year battle with cancer. 

New this year is a quartet of artisan tile setters who hail from last summer’s Artisans Revolution in Tile (A.R.T.) training program in Milwaukee, Wis. They are sharing the time-honored lessons in creating hand-shaped mosaics with the TileFest crowd, by demonstrating techniques of creating mosaics both days of the show, and showing what is possible to achieve with tile. 

The group is traveling from different parts of the region to present at the festival. The A.R.T.isans include Aryk Snowberger, Snowbee Custom Tile, Canton, Ohio; Chris Osterritter, Art by Tile, Wilmerding, Pa., Matt Blood, Paragon Tile Installation, Cumberland, R.I., and Chris Resti, Crest Tile and Mosaic, Hilton, N.Y. 

Find out more about TileFest at thetileworks.org/events.

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Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN

Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor.

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