About Seattle Mosaic Arts
Founded by Dr. Claire Barnett in 2009 to create community and support through shared creativity, the studio features workshops from international visiting artists, mosaic technique classes, lectures, art shows, group events, commissions, and, of course, space and time to create your own mosaic projects.
Piecing together is the heart of SMA. As a member-based studio, we are a large group of creative, generous people working together to nurture community at all levels. We offer a lovely, light and color-filled shared space to work creatively with others, to learn, and to be inspired.
SMA and its members are using their hearts and hands to bring beauty and foster community. From a welcome sign at a local Pea Patch to the mosaicing of the pediatric ward of a hospital in Haiti, we are involved at all levels: fundraising, technical support, education and, of course, hands-on tiling.
Committed to the growth and development of mosaic art in the Pacific Northwest, SMA provides resources, materials, support and space for the sharing of all things mosaic.
As a family doctor with over 20 years experience of practicing medicine, Claire Barnett never imagined that she would be opening a mosaic studio. Her path to this studio has been long and forged with heartache. She began creating mosaics after the tragic deaths of her two young daughters and their father on the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 plane crash in 2000.
Her first mosaics were made with family and friends as group projects to mark her daughters’ birthdays. As her back-yard gradually filled with memorial garden stones, Claire began expanding her study and experience in mosaic art. She has studied traditional methods in Italy, including both the Ravenna and Venetian Methods, and has adapted and modified them over the years to create a simple technique for both beginners and advanced mosaic artists. Claire opened SMA in order to share these methods, and to offer this accessible and satisfying medium to others – both as an individual creative process and to bring beauty into the world.
“There is, I believe, some real meaning in the process of breaking up glass and tiles into small pieces and then putting them back together in a new form, over and over again. It is both meditative and creative. There is something soothing about the process and it is a comforting way to be with other people – sharing space and working side-by-side.”
Emily Margherio walked in one day shortly after we opened in 2009, and she has been with us ever since. She had little mosaic experience when she started but came full of creative energy and kindness, the two most important criteria for the studio. She has flourished and grown over the years both as a mosaic artist and as an assistant in running all sorts of things at the studio. She is now our Studio Manager and teaches and supports customers and members with all things mosaic. Her gentle way of helping and teaching makes her an invaluable member of our team.
“The ability to create and appreciate art has been essential throughout all stages of my life. Teaching, learning from and being around other creative folks through the studio continues to be a rewarding and enriching experience. Just as I feel and know art as necessity in my life, so too do I see SMA as a necessary entity in the world. Whatever reason you have for walking through that door and sitting down to create – happenstance, need for expression or escape, trying your hand at something new, desire for community, or as respite from a harsh outside world – SMA expands its arms and encompasses.“
Originally from Barrinton Illinois, Hanako moved to Seattle after receiving a BFA in sculpture and ceramics from the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign. She started here as a studio assistant in the fall of 2012 and her formal background in art, as well as her interest in how art brings meaning and support to peoples’ lives, has made her a great addition to the team. Along with being part of the community here at SMA, she also spends a lot of time working on her figurative ceramic sculptures.
“As an artist, I am constantly searching for signs that art is good, that it has the power to change people and their world for the better. We all carry our own pains and struggles, and life is not always kind, but in the studio we find the power to create and the power to heal. Before I started working at SMA I was loosing hope in art. Fresh out of art school, I was unemployed, uninspired, and with out an artistic community to keep me motivated. Somehow, I was lucky enough to stumble into this job and every day I am more convinced that art is compassion is beauty and is what makes us human. I could not have asked for a more empowering environment. During my time here, I hope to further develop my artistic voice while helping others find theirs.”
Janie Yakovlevitch, nurse practitioner and glass artist, fits perfectly with our trend of medicine and mosaics. She has a long history of working with glass as a flameworker, and owner of GlassPassions. She began making mosaics at our studio fall of 2010 and officially joined the team as our “Fusing Director” in 2012. She runs the fusing program at SMA and is a constant inspiration to all of us, as she creates amazing backsplashes and other installations, combining all of her different glass working skills into stunning mosaics.
“For years as primarily a flamework glass artist, working mostly alone in my studio, I felt a certain sense of isolation. Though working in glass most definitely was, and continues to be, a driving passion for my creative expression, I had felt that something was missing. Finding Seattle Mosaic Arts was like discovering that best friend who really “gets you,” and who shares the same mission and values. SMA is a place where art is the keystone that locks together the bond of caring, compassion, friendship, encouragement and inspiration.”
Casey began coming to the studio as an informal “intern” and she in now our official “Girl Sunday”. She is such a huge help on those busy days, and always willing to pitch in and help with all the day to day tasks of the studio. But, even more importantly, she is so lovely to be around she just makes everything feel better. Stop by on a Sunday to get to meet our Casey!
“I was looking for a place to soak up mosaic knowledge, maybe meet some new friends – and Claire, Emily, and Hanako welcomed me in, making me feel a real part of everything. The energy at SMA is supportive, the artwork is inspiring, the friendship means so much to me … And Pi is better than cake any day!”
About Mazie, et al
Seattle Mosaic Arts has grown out of the experience created by a large and incredibly creative and supportive group of people. It is not possible to separate one from the other.
Claire and Seattle Mosaic Arts are supported, encouraged, and egged-on daily by Claire’s partner, Mazie, who likes to call herself “the brawn” behind the project. Claire’s mother, Jacqueline Barnett, a local professional artist and the one responsible for teaching us mosaics in the first place, is clearly “the brains” behind this. Claire is amazingly surrounded by family members, both immediate and extended, as well as friends who have become family after so many years of accompanying her on this hard path, and this impressive group of loyal, dedicated and generous people have contributed, and continue to contribute, in endless ways, to the creation of this studio.
This studio was created out of the support and love from my community. I can only hope that this sense of community will continue to expand and flourish in this new form, widening the net with which we can all support and encourage each other.