Artist Statement


I think I’ve always been captivated by the beauty of colors and textures, especially those found in the natural world. As a young child, the forests and rolling hills of western Pennsylvania were my playgrounds. In the spring and summer months, I celebrated seeing wildflowers dot the bright green fields, where I rode my beloved horses. I held smooth, shiny pebbles and felt the silky moss that lined the trickling stream in my backyard. I romped in the lush woodland, collecting lichen-covered sticks while marveling at the mayapples that resembled little green umbrellas. In autumn, the brilliantly colored leaves of the sugar maples sharply contrasted with the fields of gold and the bright blue autumn sky. During winter, delicate white snowflakes and shiny icicles greeted me many mornings. At night, the moon illuminated the serene landscape, and the stars looked like softly sprinkled powder across the velvety black sky.


For more than two decades, I’ve created intricate works of art, using patterns developed by some of the most celebrated designers in the world of needlepoint. I found I was especially drawn to patterns based on William Morris, Gustav Klimt, and other masters of the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts movements. Throughout my home, you can find many works of needlepoint, including a rug of African marigolds, tapestries, and framed pieces, all comprised of thousands of colorful stitches. Each stitch has been patiently, individually placed to form a completed whole.


In 2011, medical problems necessitated an end to a beloved second career. In 2012, during rest and healing, I discovered the world of contemporary mosaic art, and my passion for mosaics was ignited. Like needlepoint, I first learned about mosaic art by intensive self-study and connecting with experienced artists. I ambitiously gathered basic tools, supplies and materials. After experimenting at home, I found that creating mosaic art offered not only more challenges than needlepoint, but also provided a means of artistic expression I had not known before. Since early 2013, I have invested in professional studies with internationally renowned mosaic artists. Under the guidance of these professionals, I have discovered a greater depth to my art, and have improved in my design and technical skills.  Ever curious, I have explored different styles and techniques, finding my own artistic voice.


Through my ever-evolving creative path in mosaic art, I have combined my love of gardening and nature by creating unique and colorful abstract mosaics. Many of my early works were garden mosaics where I enjoyed experimenting with spirals and circles, along with other patterns and textures found in nature, to create birdbaths and sculptural forms. Rather than using representational designs such as flowers, foliage, or insects, I created abstracts that do not directly compete with nature, but complement and enhance the natural elements in a garden setting.


As I continue to refine my mosaic art style, I am still captivated by my childhood love of nature. Through my newer fine art mosaics, I seek to inspire the moods, textures, and colors of the natural world. Some of my art is created on my own unique lightweight handmade substrates, which not only recycles nonbiodegradable polystyrene, but also offers flexibility in size, shape and characteristic of each composition. I try to create a modern-day alchemy with each series or style I create.  My trademarked Illuminated Shards® Series unite textures, colors, and reflective effects of light. Following a move to the American Southwest, I created a Travertine Series, inspired by the raw beauty of nature.  These natural stone artworks feature hand cut stone and fluid abstract designs, celebrating movement and transformation.  My Patina Series contains oxidized copper, bronze, and iron metal coatings that combine with minerals, natural stone, ceramic, and other unique elements.  The fluid and transmutable processes involved in creating these artworks makes each one exceptionally unique. 


My newest artworks are Color Fields.  These contemporary abstract artworks are highly textural, and contain a variety of unique materials such as natural stone, colorful glass, semi-precious minerals or crystals, handmade glazed ceramic, and metallic elements.  My Color Fields can be described as “tapestries of color, glass, and stone.”  I describe them as “Energetic Zen” artworks that can provide the viewer with colorful and textural visual experiences.


After years of experimentation and practice, I am still fascinated by the way natural stone (slate, marble, granite) and unique raw minerals will fracture under the force of my Italian hammer and hardie tools. These same tools, used in ancient times, still hold an important place in the studios of modern-day mosaic masters. I am still smitten with the hues of fine Italian handmade smalti glass, and the way the light refracts across the highly textured surfaces of carefully combined materials. Along with nature, I am deeply inspired by many influences, including abstract paintings, textiles and needlepoint designs, contemporary abstract mosaic masters, as well as architecture, ranging from ancient to modern. It is my hope that my art brings together color, texture, space, and light as a means to convey my love of the natural world, and to kindle these emotions in others. Mosaic art is one of the most ancient and durable forms of art. Much like the stitches in needlepoint, pieces of tesserae combine into a powerful and evocative unified expression. Each tessera means something: if you take away one, the entire composition changes.

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© Black Cat Mosaics. 2014. This website, including any designs, text, and ideas, is owned by Black Cat Mosaics. 

Proudly created with by Allison Ruff

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