Student Inspiration

As an instructor at The Art Center of Highland Park, I am able to share my love of mosaics with students with a wide range of experience. Some are brand new to art and others have fine arts degrees, though for most this is their first time working with mosaics. This art form has unlimited possibilities that we explore together, and it is wonderful to see the different directions taken.

One of my students, Cindy Robin, has helped me grow as both a teacher and an artist. Her creativity and talent amaze me.  Whenever I introduce new concepts or elements, Cindy jumps in and lets loose with her imagination, vast collection of materials, and skill. Below are just two samples of her wonderful work.

Offerings by Cindy Robin
Our Roots are in the Earth by Cindy Robin

Layers of Beauty

Though I love getting inspiration from my surroundings, I often come across images online that really speak to me. A recent Google search led me to the following pieces, all of which utilize texture and layering in unusual ways.

        Piece of Flat Globe Vol.5 (detail)                                      Noriko Ambes

Paper becomes beautiful canyons and valleys with Noriko Ambes’ extraordinary carved paper sculptures.

The Search for Green                                                                 Jeanne Opgenhaffen

Jeanne Opgenhaffen’s mural of layered, overlapping porcelain tiles of varying shades and tones evoke the feeling of movement through a field.


   Transplanted (detail)                                                                       Tara Donovan

Using ripped and stacked tar-paper, Tara Donovan’s installation creates the appearance of the earth’s crust or a lava flow.

All of these textural, multidimensional works of art were created by layering different materials. Through the layering process the materials–no longer identifiable–become something that appears natural and organic.


The New Year has officially begun and I’ve welcomed it by cutting into a new batch of stones. One of my favorite stones to cut and use is aquamarine. Sorting through the pound of aquamarine stones I recently purchased, I felt like a kid in a candy store. The many different hues of blues and greens, varying transparency and iridescence of each stone excited me and I couldn’t wait to cut into them to see the treasures within. I have hours of cutting ahead and look forward to the new creative directions the stones take me.

To view my currently available mosaic jewelry please visit  Gray Raven Designs.

Thirteen Pounds

Recently I purchased thirteen pounds of emerald, aquamarine, amethyst, carnelian, citrine, labradorite, amazonite, and bronzite stones at a gem show.  I selected the stones not only for their color, but also for their iridescence, transparency and reflectivity. Over the next few months I will be spending hours in my studio hand cutting the stones into the micro-sized pieces I require to create my mosaic art jewelry. I look forward to seeing how this new batch of stones guides me in my future designs.

To view my currently available mosaic jewelry please visit  Gray Raven Designs.

Amber Glow

Amber is technically not a gemstone or mineral, but instead is fossilized sap from prehistoric trees that has taken millions of years to form. As an organic substance, no two pieces of amber are alike. It can be transparent or opaque and comes in many shades and colors, the most common of which are cognac, honey, green, lemon yellow, and ivory. According to the American Museum of Natural History, “the world’s largest amber deposits come from the shores of the Baltic Sea, where amber has been harvested, traded, and crafted into decorative objects for at least 13,000 years.”

Using amber allows me to add radiance and warmth to my work. It provides a unique inner glow that cannot be duplicated. If you would like to see more amber mosaic art jewelry please visit  Gray Raven Designs.

The Arrival of Autumn

I am always looking for inspiration for my mosaic art. I might find a colorful leaf and take a picture for future reference or purchase stones just because I like the color.  Somewhere down the road I know that the images and stones will come together.

I’m constantly on the lookout to expand my collection of minerals and stones to use in both my fine art and mosaic art jewelry. The stones in this collage I purchased at the annual Society of American Mosaic Artists vendor show. I was drawn to these calcite stones with their various shades of orange and think the colors are perfect to welcome autumn. To purchase these or similar pieces, please visit my online shop.

If you have pictures or stones you would like made into custom earrings, pendants, or cuff links, feel free to email me and we can collaborate on something unique.

Light in Nature

In nature, light creates the color.  In the picture, color creates the light. (Hans Hofmann)

While strolling through the woods in North Carolina, Wendy’s attention and camera were drawn to the light captured in the trees and reflected in the water near a rustic bridge.

The numerous shades of green created by the light inspired this opal, green flourite, and peridot piece.

Purchase this gemstone mosaic pendant and other nature-inspired pieces on Etsy.