Beginner's Mind / by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Beginner's Mind #1. 10" x 8" | 25cm x 20cm. Smalti, vitreous, mosaic gold, marble, porcelain, other glass. 

This series is my attempt to work from a beginner state of mind. Initiated by a class that I am teaching, I wanted to have some examples for the students and wanted the examples to truly reflect something that they could achieve within the class hours. 

Focusing on texture, the students will create an 8" x 8" or 7" x 9" piece using a palette of blues and golds/yellows. The variety of materials will present a good challenge for a mostly beginner class. Note: I feel I must give a nod to Sonia King, as part of my inspiration for this class came from a piece I made, Remembering Istanbul, in her 2010 Istanbul workshop. While the design and textured execution were my own, she set the color palette and, of course, gave her expert guidance.

My first attempt, shown above, turned out to be too complex for a beginner to create in the time period that we will have. I realized this about halfway through, but wanted to finish it anyway. It will still be instructional in illustrating ways to treat the various materials, and could be simplified.

My second attempt, which I will post in the next few days, was more successful in that I am sure that a beginner could accomplish something similar, and I was able to work much, much more loosely than I did on the first. I must say, it was quite enjoyable. 

I am finding that it's a wonderful, although challenging, process to try to work in a beginner state. I am able to reflect on some things about myself, as an artist and mosaicist, through this foray into a beginner's mind, and I find that very exciting. I'll share some of those reflections when this little exercise is over.

I plan to make at least four examples, and maybe six. The only downside is that I am going to have to order more materials as I am using them all up. But what fun!