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Not all mosaic artists work exclusively at mosaic. Mixing media is common practice in the visual arts, and indeed it often happens that artists begin working in a popular medium such as oils or textiles, and then decide to add mosaic to their skills. Teena Gould is such a one.

Dragon mosaic (jpeg)

Désirée the Dragon:- see text later

Teena lives and works deep in Utter Wales, as Roman mosaicists would have said, in a stone cottage with a barn studio attached, hidden down a narrow lane lined with a fair selection of Flowers of the Hedgerow. She moved here from London five years ago. After studying art in the sixties, she decided to specialize in ceramics and took a degree in the subject at Cardiff College of Art, later supplemented with a course in architecture and landscape design from Morley College, London. While happy to make ceramics for her own artistic satisfaction, she was also drawn to the idea of creating community work, believing that people as individuals and as groups interact both negatively and positively to change the environment. Her job is to accentuate the positive. Her first group project was a ceramic mural for the Charles Lamb community while she was at Goldsmiths College acquiring a postgraduate Art Teachers Certificate.

Teena first used mosaic combined with ceramics for a concrete 3-D beast covered with mosaic, in a Sculpture Garden in 1982. Gardens, landscape and architecture are her special interest: she thinks of her work as a response to the beauty and forms of nature, as an expression of the relationship between our environment (natural and man-made) and ourselves.

Other community ceramic-and-mosaic projects have been for Islington schools, a Brixton housing estate, Lambeth parks and schools, and a Women's Sculpture Garden. They include murals, planters, trellises and fountains.

A detail from Desiree the Dragon
A detail from Désirée the Dragon

Désirée the Dragon ( see detail on the right) was designed with the help of children at the Ethelred Nursery School, Kennington, who particularly liked the idea of a pregnant dragon. She was made with ceramic tiles, mirrors and vitreous tesserae. The mosaic parts were done direct into Ardurit on the brick wall. Incidentally, funding came from Inner City Partnership, DOE, ILEA, and Lambeth Council.

Mosaic sculptureOne recent brief was to design a garden sculpture for the disabled, which had to be accessible and meaningful to wheelchair users and to the partially-sighted. It was also to be made largely by the patients, in the workshop at Sully Hospital, Cardiff. Heart and chest patients could not use clay, and stroke patients had very restricted movements. It was due to be shown first at the Garden Festival of Wales at Ebbw Vale, then dismantled and re-sited at the hospital. Oh yes, and the garden had already been designed. Quite a brief.
Teena's solution (see left) was an 'open' sculpture which has four arms akimbo and supporting legs, standing on a Welsh dragon mosaic. The ceramic bracelets rotate, and the arm tiles have braille poems written by patients. Brilliant.
Having worked mainly in London and Wales, Teena was especially pleased when in September 1992 one of her ceramic pots won a Grand Prix at the International Craft Festival at Toyama, Japan. Here's hoping her mosaic work becomes equally successful. Teena Gould is at Cwrtau Bach, Cefn-Y-Pant, Whitland, Dyfed SA34 0TR. Phone 01994 419 584.

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