Meet the maker – Colour Splash Mosaics
Janet Palmer is an artist from Devon who creates unique mosaic wall art, gifts, decorations and mirrors. Each piece is individually handcrafted by using materials including ceramic, vitreous and iridescent tiles, jewelled stones and hand cut stained glass fused with Millefiori Murano glass tiles.
From the design stage, selection of materials and composition through to completion, the whole process can take several hours per piece, to several weeks for the more elaborate, dramatic creations.
How did it all start?
I previously worked in interiors and would help clients create colour themes and patterns for their soft furnishings and decor. I enjoyed putting ideas and colour schemes together and being involved in the whole process, from the concept to creation and seeing it all come to fruition.
A trip to Marrakesh some years ago opened my eyes to the beauty and sheer depth of mosaic art that I saw in the riad where I stayed and amongst the gardens I visited during my travels.
Upon my return home, I researched the art of mosaics and attended a course to begin to learn the techniques to enable me to create my own pieces. I quickly learnt the patience that was needed to start from scratch to producing the finished article. The results of my hobby soon filled my own house, and those of friends and family with my artwork.
Encouraged by my husband, I decided to turn my love of mosaics in to a business and so Colour Splash Mosaics was born.
The story behind the name…
I wanted to use a name that conveyed my love of colour and how colours coming together can result in beautiful pieces that draw the eye. From vibrant, exciting, rich colours that inspire energy and enthusiasm to softer, subdued tones and shades that can help relax the mind.
Colour Splash seemed a perfect way to describe how I work. Whilst mosaics can be structured and planned for some pieces, at other times they are an explosion of many individual tiles and stained glass that almost have a mind of their own.
Where are you based?
I live in Torquay, Devon and have the advantage of beautiful surroundings ranging from the natural colours of undulating countryside to the ever changing colours of the sea. The stunning sun rises and sets over the sea, filling the sky with deep rich colours that reflect on the sea in Torbay; a wonderful sight.
What inspires you?
I have always had a love of colours and the different moods and emotions colours can promote. Coupled with my love of nature, in particular of trees and flowers, I only have to look out of my window to find inspiration for my next creation. The changing colours of the seasons constantly inspire me. The early array of the spring blossom, through to the abundance of colours that summer brings to the garden is beautiful. As time flows through the season, the spectacular display of the autumnal splendour that transforms the trees before winter sets in, provides a forever changing and amazing backdrop to work with.
What is your creation process?
It starts with a selection of colours from my vast stock of many thousands of tiles, jewelled stones, Millefiori and stained glass, all housed in over a hundred glass jars around my studio.
Then follows the early stages of piecing together the many tiles I have selected for my design. This involves arranging each piece individually as the design slowly comes together. The tiles and glass are hand cut to size and some pieces will also involve individually fusing stain glass with Millefiori by use of a kiln. I particularly love seeing the end result of each item of glass after the fusion in the heat of the kiln has cooled.
Each item is then separately glued to the back board and after a further day of allowing the pieces to fully set, the whole item is grouted to ensure adequate fusion, as well as enhancing the final appearance and adding to the texture and feel of the work. The final stage requires cleaning each tile and smoothing the grout by hand. The process from concept to completion can take many weeks for the more ambitious, grander pieces.
What makes you, your brand or products unique?
We all have our own interpretation of colours and the moods and emotions they trigger within us, as we take in the vast array of colours we see around us every day. My art is inspired initially by colours and in particular nature and the changing tones and shades that each season brings. Every piece I make is determined by my mood each day and what I see before me. Because of the many colours, textures and materials I use, and the individual designs I produce, no two pieces are ever the same. I can truly say that each item is a “never to be repeated”, one-off unique artwork.
What is your next project?
I am about to start the design and selection of colours and materials to create one of my largest artworks to date. For this piece I will be working with rich, autumnal colours and will be fusing stained glass to incorporate within the design to lift the texture and enhance the appearance of the finished piece to complement the fusion of colours. My subject matter will be a stunning autumnal tree, I am very excited about this project and anticipate it will take at least a month to complete.
What is your biggest achievement?
Being able to develop a business out of a hobby and spending my days doing something I love; it’s a wonderful thing to achieve. Working each day with colours and creating artwork from a concept to a completed piece is extremely rewarding. Each time somebody chooses one of my pieces to take home and display on their wall, I get great satisfaction. That in itself, no matter how modest, is a great achievement in my eyes.
What is your best-selling product/line?
Of all my creations from small household pieces such coasters and small decorative hearts and stars, the most popular are the wall art designs, in particular trees and flowers.
What do you love about Country Living Fairs?
I love the excitement and the buzz that having such a wide ranging talent of artists, designers and producers all under one roof creates. Meeting people and sharing in the enjoyment and fun of the day, browsing the many stands and seeing what people have proudly made and display is very inspiring.
Your three top tips for crafters and makers…
1. Follow your heart and trust your instincts and always have confidence in what you do.
2. Never give up, if something doesn’t work or look exactly as you want it to, try again; never let your standards slip and take pride in what you do.
3. Always seek ways to improve and progress to the next level, find courses that may help to improve your techniques and seek new materials and ways to work. Courses are also a great way to meet other artists for exchanging ideas.
Any advice for fledgling businesses…
Turning a hobby in to a business is a great way to do what you love for a living. Seek advice from as many people that have started their business as you can. Consider who your products are aimed at and how you will get your product to those people. As creative as we like to be, never take your eye off the costs you are incurring, a business needs to make ends. Periodically review the quality and costs of what your suppliers provide and always seek new avenues to source materials and new ways to promote your business. But most of all, have fun and never lose the love of what you do and the reason why you started the business in the first place.
Read more about Colour Splash Mosaics and shop Janet’s products at: www.coloursplashmosaics.co.uk