Mosaic book review: Julee Latimer’s “Sculptural secrets for mosaics”

Julee Latimer’s book Sculptural Secrets for Mosaics (2017) is a very personal exploration of 3-D mosaic-land. Latimer outlines step-by-step how to start a mosaic sculpture from scratch, be it a massive piece such as her Rosaic, the armchair from foam blocks covered in stained glass roses, or some wildly intricate sculpture, like Equinox, an organic plant form with tesserae snaking and deeply penetrating the custom-made substrate’s curves.

The hours and hours of dedication and piles of greatly varied, often vibrantly coloured tesserae that have gone into these works are not to be underestimated, but Latimer demonstrates a foolproof approach to creating 3-D bases for mosaic application.

The hours and hours of dedication and piles of greatly varied, often vibrantly coloured tesserae that have gone into these works are not to be underestimated, but Latimer demonstrates a foolproof approach to creating 3-D bases for mosaic application.Julee Latimer Sculptural Secrets for Mosaics It’s refreshing to hear Latimer confess she often has “no real idea as to what to create” before she starts. She simply starts.

This courageous and liberating way of working can be confounding, with many a tricky, technical problem to solve, but Latimer reveals how to navigate these creative adventures, while sharing her thought processes.

This courageous and liberating way of working can be confounding, with many a tricky, technical problem to solve, but Latimer reveals how to navigate these creative adventures, while sharing her thought processes. For instance: “I have been thinking a lot lately about my grandmother, and she is in my thoughts as I begin by cutting and assembling the foam blocks. I decide to make an armchair that she would have liked to sit in, something feminine and curvy, like her.” Or further on in the book, after finishing an undulating, carpet-like sculpture: “I begin immediately making some fabulously elaborate stars, suitable for a goddess.”

Latimer doesn’t offer any brand names, shop addresses or precise recipes, sometimes leaving you to do some homework regarding the glues or sculpting mixtures to use. The Australian based professional studio artist prefers to give pointers, like: “I use a sculpting compound that is very similar to papier-mâché.” Despite this, this is an inspiring and much needed book.

Sitara Morgenster 15 July 2018

Book information:
Sculptural Secrets for Mosaics, 2017
Schiffer Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 9780764352447

This blog was also published as an article in the May 2018 issue of “Opus Oracle”, the members-only magazine of MAANZ (Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand)

 


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