Rachel Davies is a mosaic artist in Dunblane, Scotland. She uses slate that she finds near her home, plus stones and glass for her creations. Like so many artists, her in person classes stopped in 2020, but she figured out how to offer online classes and get the mosaic supplies to her students. We talk about her materials and techniques, as well as an arts organization where she is a member.
Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.
Rachel’s website is racheldaviesmosaics.com
She is also on Instagram @racheldaviesmosaics
You can find her mosaics class with Mosaic Arts Online here.
Please subscribe for her email list to see her latest mosaics and events here.
If you live in the UK and you’re interested in the British Association of Modern Mosaics (BAMM), this is their website.
Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:
- Rachel uses slate and rocks that can be found near her home in Scotland. Think about the natural materials that you could use for your own art that would make your artwork unique from others. You can also think about the placement of those materials: Do you place it one side up or the other? Do you use just a part of it? Which side has the texture and colors that will enhance your art the most?
- If you’re using natural materials, try to source them sustainably. In other words, don’t take things that will deplete an area or harm the landscape. Rachel has discovered she can get used slate roofing tiles when a roof is being re-done. That’s an easy way for her to get the slate for her mosaics.
- Rachel told us about something that her town did when shops began to shut down due to Covid. They put large photos of artwork in the windows to keep the shopping streets interesting. This could be done even in regular times if there are vacant storefronts in your town. You could propose this to a town council or the property owner.
- A lot of galleries, shops, and art organizations did online exhibitions when things were shut down during Covid. There’s no reason why you couldn’t offer that right now, especially if you wanted to do a show open to artists from a large geographic area. That would save them having to ship their work.
- During the pandemic, Rachel taught online classes. Because shops were closed all over the world, she put together supply kits that she mailed to every student so they could make the project they covered in the class. This is a great thing you could offer your students if they can’t find the supplies for your class near their home. Many students are willing to pay the shipping to receive the supplies right at their house so that they can do an art class.
- Even with online classes, they can still have a social element when they’re done live, like through Zoom or Facebook, or if they have a forum where students can comment or ask questions, like on a private Facebook page. Many students are more attracted to classes that also offer a community experience.
- OK, now having said that, other students may prefer classes that they can just watch and then do at their own pace. It’s good to offer both kinds of online experiences for your students.
- The benefit for you as an instructor when you’re teaching a go at your own pace class is that the number of students is unlimited. For Zoom classes you wouldn’t want to teach one with too many students at once so that they will get a chance to ask questions if they want.
- Joining a local arts organization is a great way to meet other artists, network with them, and find out how they are selling their art.