Visiting Artist Series


Global Mosaics: Inspirations, Materials and Techniques from Around the World with Laurel True


“Whether traveling to another country or across town, personal journeys are an essential part of life and personal growth. Creative expression is a beautiful tool for helping to integrate our experiences, allowing them to organically become part of who we are, and bringing to life memories and inspirations that we can access again and again.” (Laurel True)

We are thrilled to welcome back international mosaic artist Laurel True to our studio. In this magical, creative workshop, Laurel shares her techniques, materials and philosophical approaches she uses in her projects around the world. Working with all kinds of colorful glass, mirror, clay, mixed media and building materials as well as hand-collected treasures from her travels, Laurel will guide students through a process of taking inspirations from out in the world and distilling them into beautiful pieces of personal mosaic art.

Materials are the special focus in this workshop, as they really are markers of not only history and experience, but can also be symbols of identity, hopes and dreams. Through our experiences and memories, we imbue everyday objects with meaning, marking a place and time in our lives. These objects hold an energetic vitality that infuses artwork with meaning, history, identity and other special-ness.

Workshop will focus on:

  • Creating mosaics with collected and recycled materials; working with the inherent qualities of chosen materials; finding beauty in simplicity and deconstructing our materials to find the wonders within.

  • Looking for inspiration in our surroundings and recognizing and working with symbols that speak to us – whether a pattern on a piece of fabric, colors of the sunset, a tiny flower popping out of a crack in the sidewalk – all of this becomes part of us and our visual experience.

  • Various approaches to mosaic creation, including different setting styles, working with or without a mortar bed and integrating texture, pattern, color into our work, with a focus on how diverse elements can be combined into a cohesive mosaic piece. 

  • Technical lessons will include recognizing and using materials that are appropriate for indoor and outdoor display (permanence and impermanence); reviewing the proper adhesives, application, surfaces and arrangement of pieces for these projects; utilizing your mosaic tools when working diverse materials, i.e. how to get the best cuts with the least amount of effort, etc.; and working with tinted mortar beds. 

Students will receive a 10” x 10” prepared substrate on which to create their mosaic – primed and painted with earth pigments.  Students are encouraged to bring materials they have collected from their travels or everyday life to this workshop. Using these materials can be a powerful reminder of the beauty and joy we experience in life.  

Date:    Sat Aug 26 10-5: FULL WAITLIST ONLY (please contact us to be put on waitlist)
Level:   All levels
Cost:    $245– all materials included


Date:    Sun Aug 27th 10-5 – FULL WAITLIST ONLY (please contact us to be put on waitlist)
Level:   All levels
Cost:    $245– all materials included

Some examples of the non-traditional materials Laurel will bring for students to use: refuse glass and mirror, cut asphalt, concrete, terrazzo, tesserae and beads from West Africa, brick and ceramic salvaged from floodwaters after Katrina, window and sea glass from Haiti, hand-made glass melted from old bottles in Kenya, shells, beads, Himalayan salt, Spanish glass tiles, clay tiles from Mexico, glass eyes from Turkey, Italian, Chinese and Kenyan smalti, camel dung shaped into stone-like tesserae (!), earth pigments from French ochre quarries, gems, antique cabochons from Europe, reflective and refractive (dichroic) glass.. and more!

Please contact us for any questions.

Laurel True is an artist and educator specializing in mixed media, glass and ceramic mosaic and public art. She received her BA in African Art and Cultures and has studied at Studio Arte del Mosaico in Ravenna, Italy, Universite Chiek Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, Parsons School of Design and the Art Institute of Chicago. True is the co- founder of the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland, CA and has fostered education in the mosaic arts through teaching and lecturing around the world. She founded The Global Mosaic Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to foster positive community engagement through the creation of site-specific works of public mosaic art, leaving a legacy of neighborhood beautification, community cultural development and arts training for all ages.

True’s public and commissioned work can be found in private and civic collections as well as in hospitals, in parks and on commercial buildings across the United States and internationally. She has also been known to create work that spontaneously emerges graffiti- like on concrete walls and in unexpected settings and with unexpected materials, many times through spontaneous community participation.

True’s work weaves together fine art and craft based techniques, utilizing both natural and man made materials. Projects often juxtapose themes of beauty and despair, bounty and loss, as well as celebration and ritual. Using found detritus such as asphalt, concrete, brick, glass and other collected rubble, True pieces her installations together with the precision of ancient roman mosaics.

To see more about Laurel True and her examples of her beautiful, inspiring work please check out her website, True Mosaics.