Friday, November 7, 2008

Recent Projects for TMS

Gaudi- Inspired Lizard for client in Nola. More to come...

Wow.. Ok.. a frequent blogger I guess I am not. It's hard to keep up here, but I am going to make an attempt because there is so much great stuff happening all the time and I am missing out on the opportunity to share what is going on and give kudos to those who participated in projects with me.

I am in New Orleans now (October/ November), and will have a separate entry for all that is happening here shortly (new studio, great classes, huge community/ corporate team building project, giant lizard sculpture and more).

Intro to Smalti Student- New Orleans class. More to come...

One of 125 mosaic benches created during corporate team building event in conjunction with Crescent City Art Project in New Orleans. More to come...

I fell off on the updates a couple of months ago but wanted to do a few posts with pics about the summer projects we did in True Mosaics Studio before I left for New Orleans.

I am officially spending about a third of the year now in New Orleans, where I have a studio and home. I am equally excited about projects here as in Oakland and have lots of cool stuff coming down the pipe in both locations.

I return to the Bay Area in early December and will commence designs on the facade for the new Firehouse 18 in East Oakland, a project I was awarded through the Oakland Cultural Arts Department last summer. This project will include community involvement on the design level and will be an exciting one to work on I am sure.

I will be traveling to Ghana in January with a fellow mosaic artist and IMA student Erin Rogers to do some project development there as well as visit friends who have become family. In February I will be traveling to India with my dear friends and teachers, Isaiah and Julia Zagar. Rumor has it that Isaiah and I will be leading a mosaic workshop in Madras, but no deets on that yet. I am just happy to be going to India for the first time in my life and I have always wanted to go.

Both the above trips are short- two weeks each- and I will also have a pretty full teaching schedule this winter, which I am looking forward to.

Here is a rundown of classes I will be teaching at Institute of Mosaic Art this December/ January:

December 6-7 th and January 3-4
The old favorite: Mosaic 101- Intro to Ceramic Tile Mosaics
I have been teaching this class for 14 years and I love it.

December 13-14th
Architectural Applications for Mosaic- Floors and Walls
We talk about all kinds of permanent applications in this class. Lecture/ demo

December 20-21st
Glass Fusing Extravaganza!
This class is awesome. Come take it and make tons of fused glass stuff in one weekend.
(No experience necessary)

January 10 -11th
Business of Mosaics
Probably the last chance before next summer to take this one. Lots of helpful info about aligning your creative and business goals and making it work.

January 17-18th
Intro to Smalti
People love this class. I love this class. A great intro to an inspiring material.

So.. that's a brief overview.
Project visuals and descriptions to follow soon starting back in August 08.

One last thing..

YAY OBAMA!!!!!!!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Tiki Tom's Mural for Mosaic Mural Making Intensive

Tiki Tom's Mural laid out on floor before installation:

I am teaching a Mosaic Mural Making Intensive (week-long) at Institute of Mosaic Art this week and we have completed a neat mural for a local restaurant and bar in our neighborhood- Jingletown- in Oakland.

Mural Dimensions 3.5' x 7.5 ft.
Materials: High- fire ceramic tile and mirror with handmade tiles.

There are 11 (!) students in this class and we set the mural in four days. I designed and coded the mural before class started using Tiki Tom's logo and business card as starting points/ inspiration. Also researched Tiki themed designs and riffed off some Tiki fabric for the design of handmade border tiles. My neighbors Saundra Warren and Cynthia Elliot helped make the tiles.

Students came from as far afield as Indiana and Wisconsin to participate in the class, which is geared towards intermediate/ advanced students and teaches them how to create a permanent large scale- mural on a mesh backing (in the studio) and install as a team on site.

We install this Saturday/ Sunday and then hope to celebrate with some Tiki themed beverages.

Mural design and facilitation by Laurel True and True Mosaics Studio. Mural production by students of Mosaic Mural Making Intensive at IMA, August 2008- all names to follow in next post with pics of installed mural.

Cartoon and coding for Tiki head and flowers.

Completed section.

Cartoon and coding for hut and palm tree/ flowers.

Completed sections put together with border tiles mocked up.

Students Diana White, Megan Cain and Malu Wu working on flowers.

Students Judy Toupin and Estelle Akamine working on Tiki head.

Day two, mural in progress. Students are working hard.

More pictures of students and in progress shots to be posted on the IMA flickr site soon.

Note: Tiki Tom's is not yet open and is located on 29th St. right on the Oakland side of the esturay at the foot of the Park St. bridge (going to Alameda). They say they will be opening in mid- September!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lots of New Projects in True Mosaics Studio

Kefa- Coffee from Ethiopia to Jingletown 2008
Ceramic tile, glass and mirror
Kefa Coffeehouse, Oakland, CA
4’ x 10’ Mosaic Mural

Mosaic mural by True Mosaics Studio and students of Mosaic Mural Making Intensive at Institute of Mosaic Art. Design and facilitation by Laurel True. Production and installation by Kim Grant, Pam Goode, Jill Montgomery , Renata Kolarova, Karla Silva-Ruiz, Susannne Takehara, Laurel True and Carol Waldren

Additional production assistance by Deborah Block, Debbie Callen, Kara Graves, Delaine Hackney, Celeste Howell and Rachel Rodi and Lillian Sizemore. Handmade ceramic tile accents by Saundra Warren.

More pics at:

and on Kim Grant's Blog:

I have been working in the studio and on some cool side projects in the last several months but haven't had a chance to post...

Here are some photos of some of the posts to come profiling my latest projects:

The Wedding Cake Project July 08
aka Operation Gay Cake

6 ft x 4 ft Mosaic Wedding Cake Interactive Sculpture

Project conceived by Santiago Rodriguez.

Design and creation by Santiago Rodriguez, Madeline Behrens- Brigham, Lillian Sizemore and Laurel True
Production assistance by Randi Casenza, Jack Dynis and Ben Otis Dugger.

The Wedding Cake Project was created at the 580 Hayes Market Gallery in San Francisco as a performance art piece. The final product, a giant, 6 foot diameter, double layer, sculptural mosaic cake, will be sited at City Hall in San Francisco to celebrate marriage and all unions of love.

Couples are invited to stand on the cake and become part of the artwork, as the artwork becomes part of the celebration of marriage.

The Cake is headed to City Hall in August. More info/ photos:

Mosaic wall element for HGTV backyard makeover show June 08
More pics soon
(I did this in one day as a sting operation)

Nola WOW Mural- detail

Community Mosaic Mural done in New Orleans Bywater neighborhood in May 08.
More pics to come
Meanwhile check out a blogger who is really a true blogger: Kim Grant

Mosaic Suns are DONE! Finally.
Lots more pics to come.

Completed July 08

Sunday, June 15, 2008

With a New Wind At Our Backs

Yes We Can

Obama for President

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sun Series... Making Progress...

Above: Smallest (Red Sun) all set and ready to be grouted.

My trusty assistant Jack.

Medium (Orange Sun) in progress. We ran out of orange tile and had to order more.. it's on the way!

Essential refueling process. Lots of squares to cut by hand.

My assistant taking a break.

It's hard to get good help these days.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Exploration: Asphalt Mosaics

The Grace and the Grit - Asphalt Mosaics

This new series has been in the (conceptual) works for more than a year and I had the opportunity to explore this idea through participation in a group exhibit that is currently hanging at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland

The exhibit showcases the work of 10 artists living and working in the Jingletown Junction of East Oakland and how they/ we interact with, record, respond to living in an urban,
industrial neighborhood. It is a great show.. go see it! (Info below)

The designs for the mosaics I am exhibiting are based on markings in the roads and were
created using asphalt, concrete and other detritus collected from the streets. The whole series is really an exploration of the inward and outward journey, and, ugliness. And the inherent beauty fo
und within. And uncovering this.

I do a lot of work inspired by the urban landscape.. But this actually is LITERALLY the urban landscape. I have been collecting asphalt (I am calling it harvesting) for awhile and from different locations to use in my work, but all of the materials used in the work I am exhibiting in this show came from Jingletown Junction.. all of it. I walked around like a crazy lady with a "wagon" I McGyvered up and collected huge dirty chunks of asphalt, concrete, brick and some other crap that made its way into an installation I did on the floor of the gallery.

Asphalt is a tough medium to work with, you can't use traditional cutting tools so cutting is very labor intensive. An
d I used traditional Italianate setting styles in the works.. so it was time consuming and also rewarding to be simultaneously turned off by the material and also intrigued by it and finally seeing its unique and inherent beauty. A giant metaphor for life.

As I explore the concept of ugliness in many of it's forms, I am actually constantly reminded of the grace that resonates in the ugliest of places (even in asphalt).

The exhibit includes a series of works for the wall and temporary mosaic floor installation inspired by a circular sideshow (car spinout) skid mark.

Here is the blurb my art reviewer friend wrote about my work:

In her new series of mosaic relief panels, artist Laurel True turns away from more traditional mosaic materials such as ceramic, glass and stone, instead creating her works from asphalt, concrete and other roadway detritus collected from her East Oakland neighborhood.

True bases her works' designs on random and intentional road markings such as tar lines, cracks and skid marks made from sideshows and car spinouts. True's series is a visual and conceptual investigation of what beauty might be found in urban landscapes, exploring the ugliness, grit, solidity and underlying grace in both her materials and surroundings.

More About the Exhibit:

"Jingletown Junction" Jingletown is a migratory, semi-industrial zone located on the estuary of Oakland and Alameda. Ten artists, all who live and/or work here, all members of the Jingletown Arts and Business Community (JABC) have created artwork for this show, as it stems from our individual experience of living and working in an artists' neighborhood. Each artist uses his/her own medium and creative ideas to make pieces that concern the collaborative experience of this area. In a time when our neighborhood is undergoing rapid change, growing by leaps and bounds, it is our goal to stimulate awareness of and support for the rich and diverse population of working, exhibiting and performing artists, and other creative members of Jingletown.

The exhibit features the work of:

Alison McLennan, Fernando Reyes, Jill McLennan, Heather Whitehead, Russ Osterweil, Jan Watten, Jon Zax, Kathy Cronin, Bill Silveira and Laurel True.

PRO ARTS GALLERY 550 Second Street Oakland, CA 510-763-4361 Dates: March 18 - April 25, 2008 Artists' Talk: Saturday, April 5, 1 - 3 pm

Above: Crack/ Lancaster 9846
Asphalt, concrete,
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008
Laurel True

Above: Crack/Peterson at Chapman
Asphalt, concrete,
gold smalti
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008

Laurel True

Above: Skidmark/ E. 7th at Derby Asphalt, concrete, dichroic
and antique glass
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008
Laurel True

Above: Lancaster 400 Asphalt, concrete, mirror, glass
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008
Laurel True

Asphalt in it's natural habitat
Jingletown Junction, USA

Sideshow skidmark Derby at Chapman Sts.
Jingeltown Junction

Sideshow Installation/ Derby at Chapman
Asphalt, concrete, brick, metal, found objects
4’ x 4’ x 3” 2008

Laurel True

Detail Sideshow Installation

True Mosaics On the Road! May in New Orleans

True Mosaics on the Road: May in New Orleans... The rebuilding effort continues and New Orleans marches on in true survivor fashion.

Jazz Fest happens the last weekend in April - 24-27th and the first weekend in May - 1-4th this year and the lineup is great

Bywater Art Market is a wonderful artists market in the heart of the Bywater District, full of artists and musicians on Saturday May 17th (and every 3rd Saturday of the month).
om/bam/bam-photos.htm I will be teaching a couple of mosaic classes in Nola during the month of May.. come join us!

At New Orleans School of Glass and Printmaking in the Gallery District
Fine Art Mosaics in Glass: May 10-11, 2008

At New Orleans Conservation Guild in the heart of the Bywater
Mosaics For the Garden: Saturday and Sunday, May 24-25th, 2008

For more information on these classes please visit my home page

Photo above by Fine Art Mosaics in Glass Student 2006

Saturday, March 1, 2008

True Mosaics and Institute of Mosaic Art on TV!

What is going on I do not know..

February seemed to be a very big press month for our mosaic businesses and I am not complaining one bit. Here are the details:

Institute of Mosaic Art (with a visit into True Mosaics Studio in same location) was on Channel 7 ABC yesterday on a show called View From the Bay.

The show is like a daytime talk show and they did a 4 and half minute deal on IMA. It turned out very well. The spot will be viewable for 90 days on the ABC website.. link below:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sun Sculpture Series for Ocean Avenue in San Francisco Underway!

Sun Sculpture Series Underway!

To be sited on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.

Wow has this been a long time coming. A little walk down memory lane below as we actually were selected for this project in 2004
and contracted with the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2005. I am not kidding. This is officially the longest running single (commissioned) project I have ever worked on.

This is/ was a percent for art project using Muni (public transportation system) funds in conjunction with an upgrade to the system along Ocean Ave. in the southern part of San Francisco. I was asked to propose a project and a location along Ocean Avenue. I had originally proposed two 10 ft tall sort of obelisk shaped sculptures with spheres on top, covered in mosaic. Something about the location was not going to work and after I was awarded the project I was asked to redesign and propose a different location for the artwork.

This morphed into a completely different proposal on my part and changed into three spherical shapes to symbolize suns. Ocean Avenue is really NOT sunny and very windy and pretty gray all around so I thought it would be good to get some sun down there in the form of art. So I designed three spherical sculptural forms to be covered in swirling warm colors.

One of the suns is 5' diameter, one is 4' diameter and one 3' diameter and they will sit on the crossroads of Ocean and Grenada (Grenada cuts in at an angle, making kind of a triangle). One Sun on each corner.

My final designs for the mosaic patterning on the surface of the sculptures were in an Italianate style, but funked up. I am now (lovingly) calling this style Nouveau Roman. Or maybe I should call it Roman Super Funk. That sounds a lot better- more professional.
Just kidding.

My designs were approved in early 2005. I am not kidding. And we are just doing these now. Talk about red tape - Jesus. You name it and it has happened.. permitting issues, insurance, the footings weren't right, engineering stuff, staff changes at the commissioning agency.. on and on.

But the good news is that we are on schedule to finish by the end of March (I hope) and have them installed. Exciting. These spheres have been sitting in our studio for literally years and thank God we have a big studio. They almost became invisible (if you can imagine) or like some giant gray furniture or a giant pile of laundry until the green light went back on and we were able to jump back onto this project.

Left: Naked spheres waiting in line

As with most of our projects, these designs are being built up in layers. First went on the mirrored swirls (essential) and then the cool color accent lines and then the "pods" of "flying saucers" as I like to call them. Now were onto the backgrounds. I am way into setting these squares. I am cutting them down using hand tools and a wet saw and they are not perfect squares. I an not really into working with prefabricated square tessserae. I like irregularity in my squares.

Below: Original design drawings and Right: Large Sun in progress

The forms were fabricated in a top secret location and are made of foam with steel and concrete and fiberglass. No I didn't make them myself - I hired this part out. Almost all of the tile being used is McIntyre (see next post for McIntyre commercial).

Below left: Concrete sphere with mirror swirls only
Below right: Here comes the sun

Below left: Detail of flying saucer pod shape
Below right: Medium sun ready for background.

Lafayette Mercantile Fountain Installed!

The rains finally gave us a window of time to get our mosaic fountain project fully installed the week before last. The install went very smoothly with only two of us. Awesome teamwork and thanks to IMA instructor Tracy Broback for her help during install!

We installed the bottom part one day and the sides and trim the second day and grouted the third day.
The ball on top I had already completed before the holidays.

Grout color was midnight blue (Custom) and we used Kerabond/ Kerolastic (Mapei) thin-set. The inside of the fountain had already been waterproofed before our install. The fountain is situated in a walkway area in Lafayette Mercantile and next to a new restaurant called Yankee Pier. They will evidently eventually have outdoor seating there right next to the fountain. I hope they have mojitos. (Speaking of mojitos, I have a recommendation for a great Cuban restaurant- but that is on my other blog..)

Anyway, it was a good project. Very fishy. Boy do people love an underwater scene. That is probably the theme I have worked with the most (for commissions) over the years. Water. Well who doesn't like water? I might put together a little book of underwater mosaics.

Left: Detail of side fishies and copper lights. Looking forward to seeing it underwater and lit up.

Below: Starfish cutting up side. I decided not to continue the background lay patterning from bottom sections to side sections, but it kind of looks like I did. Neat trick.

I can't really figure out how to get these photos to line up like I want (blogging is boggeling) so the rest are:

Full view from walkway above and detail of green fishy with swirling colors - oops where did that go? Oh well. it takes a lot of time to blog and I need to move on to the Project du Jour- which are a set of color drawings for some murals we are going to do downtown Oakland.

Production or installation assistance for this project by Nicole Bertoline, Tracy Broback, Joe Decker and Kim Larson.

***Next time I'll post our Sun Series sculptures in progress in the studio.***

All tile (ok 95%) for above project was high- fire, exterior grade made by McIntyre Tile. Sorry for the commercial, but our retail store, Mosaic Studio Supply (.com) at the Institute of Mosaic Art (.com) reps this line of tile. It is by far my favorite to work with and it has an amazing color range. And they created a purple especially for me that is my favorite color tile. I am using it as a background for one of my next projects.

My dog is bugging me for a walk. Over and out.