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Food Project

Nine mosaic panels made by children at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital Child and family mental health unit.

Dimensions: 45 x45cms each panel
Materials: ceramic tile, marble, smalti, glass, beads, mille fiore, old ceramic plate.

We first cooked the food together, photographed the results and then ate it! We also chopped open fruit to draw and made drawings of fish . From these images , each child mosaiced their own panel . We discussed healthy eating while mosaicing . The finished mosaics now decorate the walls of the dining area in the unit.

Self Portraits Project

A selection of mosaiced self portraits made by children at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Child and family Mental Health unit.

Dimensions: 30x40cms
Materials: stone and marble.

The children first drew themselves from their reflection in a mirror. We visited the National Portrait Gallery and talked about the different approaches to portraiture, both historical and contemporary. The children then mosaiced their self portraits, as the project progressed issues of self – image were raised and discussed within the groups.

Ainsworth Nursery School Mosaic Project

Location: Acklam Road , London W10, mosaic installed in the childrens playground.
Participants: Ainsworth nursery school children, Vanessa Benson mosaic artist, assisted by Catherine Parkinson , volunteer students from the city lit.
Dimensions: 4.77m x1.67m
Materials: ceramic tile, marble, smalti, glass, beads, mille fiore, old ceramic plate.

The mosaic is based on the book ‘The very Busy spider ‘ by Eric Carl. The children at the nursery made drawings based on the book , which were incorporated in the design and then accurately transferred into the mosaic medium by Vanessa , Catherine and the volunteer students. Most of the mosaic was worked directly onto the wall of the playground over a period of three summers, thereby giving the nursery children the opportunity to see how the mosaic was made, and to see their drawings transformed into stone.

Lost and Found Project

A mosaic made while working as artist in residence with five to fourteen year old children at Chelsea and Westminster hospital child and family mental health unit.

Dimensions: 1m x 1.18m
Materials: found fragments, marble, sand and cement.

We went ‘mud larking’ on the banks of the Thames and found all sorts of fragments. We talked about the origins of our finds. Each child then made a mosaic inspired by what they had found. They cemented their mosaics onto the big board and then we worked the marble mosaic background together. We made the mosaic in the shape of a big fragment, with the objects embedded like buried treasure.

Ethiopean Womens Group Mosaic

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Location: outside the entrance to the Harrow Club, Freston Road, London W10
Dimensions: 1m x2m
Materials: hand cut marble.

I met with the Ethiopean women’s group most Saturday afternoons for the period of about a year. The workshops were important to them as a social occasion alongside the making of the mosaic. The design was evolved from traditional Ethiopean textile patterns and artefacts. Latterly volunteers interested in mosaic making were incorporated into the group and they helped to complete the work.

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