My name is Donna Coogan and I'm a self-taught mosaic artist. I came across creating mosaics in a very unexpected way. I've always been drawn to colorful, handpainted furniture pieces. Whenever I walked into a store with furniture, it was always the painted pieces that grabbed my attention. One day I was window shopping and came across 3 mosaic nesting tables made out of broken dishes. I'd never seen anything like them and was completely enthralled. I would have bought them on the spot, except that I couldn't afford them at the time.
I went home and began saving for 3 months, periodically checking the store to see if they were still available. Finally the day arrived that I had the money and off to the store I went, husband in tow. I was a mix of excitement and apprehension, wondering if the tables were still at the store. As we walked toward the back of the store I immediately spied the tables - they were still there! We stopped about 10' away to admire them and discuss how great they would look in our home. Suddenly another couple interrupted my view, and with only a moment's hesitation, picked up the tables and headed off to the cashier. I watched in shocked silence, while my mind raced with panicked questions. Where were they going with my tables? Why were they headed toward the cashier? DIdn't they know I had saved for 3 long months to buy them? I tugged at my husband's arm, urging him to stop them, knowing full well there was nothing he could do. It was over. I'd lost the tables.
Disappointed we drove home in silence. Then the thought came to me. Why didn't I make some mosaic tables myself? I could customize them to our decor better than the ones from the store! I googled "how to make mosaic tables" and next thing I knew, our home was overflowing with yard sale finds, broken plates, stained glass, marbles and.all sorts of fascinating bits and pieces.
Hence began my 7 year love affair transforming cast off things with pique assiette or broken china mosaic. While I have mosaiced many items, it's the lines and curves of vintage furniture pieces that grab my attention the most. I love to scour the countryside for pieces to transform in my home studio. A castoff dresser or table is a thrilling find for me, knowing that I can breathe new life into it again with my artistic touches.
When it comes to designing my pieces, I never have a plan in mind at the start. Usually I need to let my finds sit for a while and kind of let their shape and style speak to me until I get a feel for the direction I want to go with their transformation. For the most part, I randomly place assorted tiles and other tesserae (bits and pieces) on them until colors and patterns begin to resonate with me. Sometimes this is a quick process, but most of the time I need to play with the pieces until I'm ready to get serious with hours of cutting and gluing. Then, it's all about taking them from drab to fab!
Recently I've transitioned my mosaic hobby into a business where my pieces are available for sale. Because home decorating is another passion of mine, most of my mosaics are furniture and home accents that cater to cottage style decors (cottage, coastal, farmhouse, retro, French Country, romantic).
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