Made With Mandala Art - Q & A with Julee Latimer
"Rosaic" full sized handmade armchair sculpture by Julee Latimer
H67 x W97 x D75cm
Images by HONEphotography
We had a chat with Julee Latimer to find out more about her mosaic chair, Rosaic, and her journey with mosaics.
You’re obviously an accomplished painter, what led you to explore mosaics?
My obsession with mosaic began many years ago after reading in a magazine how to mosaic a mirror frame. I was hooked immediately. At the time there were no online mosaic forums and I knew no one else who made mosaic so I just muddled through. I started using ceramic but quickly switched to glass and I worked for 15 or so years as a mosaic artist making mostly sculptural works. A few years ago my art practice started to return to painting which has all but replaced the mosaics.
What was the inspiration for the chair?
I was writing a book about how to make sculpture for mosaic and needed a large sized sculpture to base a chapter on. But the true inspiration behind Rosaic was my Nan and the memories I have of her. I remembered as a child collecting fallen rose petals so she could make facial rinses and foot soaks with them. I wanted a chair that would sit outside that would look as inviting and curvy as herself.
What glass did you use for the chair?
I used Mandala Art glass exclusively in Rosaic.
What obstacles did you come across while creating the mosaic chair, and what did you do to resolve them?
This was my second armchair so the obstacles were mostly overcome on the first one but I still found getting a smooth concrete finish very challenging. The chair has two layers of fiberglass mesh and concrete. The first layer goes on in strips but the second is approached more like upholstery with large pieces of mesh which need to be cut so that it bends neatly around edges before being concreted. I find this kind of neatness does my head in. I can only say that I persevered and put a few more coats of slurry over the top until it was smooth enough to mosaic. Cutting the foam is also an issue in terms of mess and you have to be prepared to look like you have walked through a snowstorm after a sawing session. The main problem is that anyone in the vicinity will look as if they joined you there.
Where is the chair now?
When first finished it went to the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show’s sculpture walk. Now it lives in the front garden at our beach house in Venus Bay.
Are you planning on creating any other large scale mosaic pieces?
It is unlikely. I wrote the book specifically because my art practice was moving away from mosaic. It was intended for all the people who used to ask me ‘how do you make the sculptures’. However, I still have huge amounts of mosaic materials even after giving away all my ceramic, marble and porcelain on Facebook. The amount of glass I have still overwhelms me so I have been doing mosaic mandalas for my water tank whenever I have some spare time.
Where can people find out more about your artworks?
The best place to see my mosaics is in my book Sculptural Secrets for Mosaic (Schiffer Publishing) which is available at all major online bookstores. Each chapter covers the making of a mosaic sculpture from conception to final photography. Rosaic is Chapter One.
My social media is more set up for my paintings although on Facebook I still have all the mosaic albums.