Featured Maker: Heather May - Amayz Mosaics
Hi I’m Heather May. I am originally from New Zealand but have not lived there for the last twenty years, instead have travelled the world, living and teaching in Borneo and The Bahamas for 11 years and now I love to call the Sunshine Coast home.
I am a Mosaic Artist, having been inspired by travels to Gaudi’s work in Barcelona and the multitude of geometric designs seen in nature and many images and artworks from different cultures such as the ancient Turkish mosaics in Sardis. I first began mosaicking when I arrived on the Sunshine Coast and joined a volunteer group of adults to mentor ‘at risk’ teens from local high schools. A suggested group project was a garden, decorated by student led mosaics and so the seed was planted. A few years passed and a couple of lessons at a local mosaic supply outlet and I was on my way.
I mosaic surfaces for both utility and aesthetics. I often use secondhand furniture as much of it is made of beautiful wood and it seems exciting to ‘up do’ an old item to new. Sanding and oiling I take pleasure in restoring something that was once obsolete. I also create mirrors and trivets and mosaic tabletops that are new.
I am based in my home at Mount Coolum and I feel very fortunate that I am able to spend so much of my time creating in such a beautiful part of the world.
My studio is a corner of my living room and home surrounds. Some stages of the work will see me outside grouting or sanding furniture or sitting over a piece at a delegated table. Currently I work part time teaching and spend as much of my free time mosaicking because I love it.
Mosaicking provides me with an outlet for creativity and finding that place inside that excites, enthuses and enlivens. I feel a sense of purpose and of course it gives me great pleasure to create something that others enjoy as well. My motivation is fed by the endless opportunities for design and colour and taping into a part of me that has lain dormant for many years. It also puts me right here in ‘the now’ and I love the precision of the finer detail and zooming out my mind’s eye into the overall effect to find balance.
If I am doing a commissioned piece, I will sit with the client, listen to what colours they enjoy and sit in the environment the piece will be placed. Sometimes I just have an idea about a colour combination or see a plant that inspires me that I draw or find a bag of beads at the local markets that shout out to be used. I belong to a private Facebook group where people post their work and I am inspired by designs or ideas there. Sometimes online searches will give me ideas but it seems I always have a ‘project’ sitting just ahead in my mind of the one that I currently have in the making, so there is no shortage of momentum.
I use glass, glass tiles, beads, shells ceramic tiles and recently I took a trip to the remote Great Barrier Island off the coast of Auckland, staying a with a potter there who provided me with a range of fired tiles that incorporated glass, so I am excited to create a new piece with those soon.
In the future I am hoping to find a venue for an exhibition. I would love to try some bigger, maybe even outdoors ventures and my next project is a large backboard for an outside shower. I would also love to try my hand at using other materials such as pebbles, shells and rock to create garden patio mosaics.