Nestled in the heart of Nannup, Western Australia, Janet Gray has carved a niche for herself in the realm of mosaic artistry. With a vibrant career spanning over two decades, Janet has continually evolved, embracing the challenge of blending various materials and colors to breathe life into whimsical characters and scenes. Her art is a testament to her passion for the mosaic medium and her dedication to pushing the boundaries of creativity.
A Journey Through Mosaic Evolution
Janet's journey in the world of mosaics has been marked by an adventurous exploration of materials—from ceramics and glass to her current fascination with crockery and tiles. Her signature pot faces and flowers are not just art pieces; they are characters that tell stories, each with a unique personality crafted meticulously by Janet's hands.
Her dedication to her craft is evident in her involvement with the community, teaching mosaics in workshops and holiday programs since 2014. Janet believes in the power of art to connect and inspire, a belief that has made her a beloved figure in Nannup and beyond.
Inspirations and Influences
The artistic prowess of Janet Gray is a blend of inspiration drawn from both international and local sources. The work of Argentinian mosaic artist Solange Piffer, known for her figures and flora, resonates deeply with Janet, influencing her to incorporate similar themes into her work. Yet, Janet's art is distinctly Australian, celebrating the local environment by using repurposed and recycled objects, a nod to her commitment to sustainability and creativity.
Gustave Klimt's influence on Janet is seen in her use of color and pattern, creating pieces that are not just visually striking but also emotionally resonant. Janet's art is spontaneous, a creative process led by the materials themselves, allowing each piece to develop its own character and story.
The Mermaid Transformation
One of Janet's most captivating projects was the transformation of a mermaid sculpture, a journey of rejuvenation that mirrored her personal challenges.
"To bring her beyond her former glory I added more layers of cement and mesh before I even started to mosaic on her new jewel like scales. I envisioned the design in my mind, yet it seemed to have a life of its own, guiding my fingers creating intricate details I
couldn’t have imagined on my own."
Over 180 hours of work and an emerging artist award later, the mermaid stands as a symbol of resilience, creativity, and the transformative power of art.
The Stingray Sculpture: A New Venture
Following her success with the mermaid, Janet embarked on creating a stingray sculpture, a testament to her ambition and creativity. Collaborating with local welding artist Bert Jansen, she crafted a piece that captures the grace and beauty of the stingray, showcasing her skill in bringing her vision to life. This piece, Narayana, has been accepted into 2024 Sculptures by the Bay, a testament to Janet's growing acclaim in the art world.
"After winning an emerging artist award at 2023 Sculptures by the Bay. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to make a sculpture of a stingray from scratch. After spending some time drawing up a design, I was lucky to find Bert Jansen a local welding magician. Bert worked with me to create a steel frame of the stingray that would demonstrate its graceful swimming action. I then covered the frame in 3 layers of reinforced mesh and Dome cement. I had an idea for the top in flowing shades of blue tiles, as usual the design evolved as I progressed. I selected a mother of pearl mosaic tile for the underside and reobar for the tail."
The Wizards Workshop: A Creative Haven
In preparation for the 2024 BRAT, Janet has given her mosaic shed a makeover, aptly naming it the Wizards Workshop. This space is not just a studio; it's a sanctuary where creativity knows no bounds. Janet's commitment to her community shines through as she opens her studio for the first time, offering a glimpse into her creative process and inviting visitors to explore the enchanting world of mosaics.
Join Janet for a Mosaic Workshop
For those inspired by Janet's journey and eager to dip their toes into the world of mosaics, there's an opportunity to learn from the master herself. Janet is hosting a Hanging Bird mosaic workshop on Saturday, March 30th, from 10 am to 2 pm. Designed for beginners, this workshop is a perfect introduction to mosaic art, offering hands-on experience for an $80 fee.
Janet Gray's mosaic art is more than just pieces of broken tiles and glass brought together; it's a celebration of life, resilience, and the beauty of transformation. Her work invites us to see the world through a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns, reminding us of the magic that exists in the ordinary. Visit Janet's studio, explore her creations, and perhaps, find a piece of her whimsical world to take home with you.
Visit Janet's world online at www.downsouthmosaics.com or dial her directly at 0447844495 to dive deeper into her mosaic universe.