We’re presenting a great interview with Anabella Wewer, one of the artist’s of October’s symposium, check it out here or download it.
Just being invited by Giulio Menossi to work with mosaicists from different countries, cultures and backgrounds was a recipe for an incredible experience. Working in his studio, surrounded by so many of his works, made that experience all the more special. The richness of colors around us was inspiring, and having the full color library available to us was tempting, specially since my more common palette are marbles and subdued colors. Through Giulio’s expert guidance, I embraced some bold choices. We were challenged to do something we had never done before, and the gift of precious red gold to accent the absence of tessera in a section of my work helped me push some creative personal boundaries.
There were many long hours, and many choices to make. For two weeks we shared laughter, near tears and amazing hospitality by our hosts and sponsors. We drank a LOT of coffee and learned about our work, our selves, others, and the creation of art with a sacred theme by artists with different cultural and religious (or lack thereof) backgrounds. I learned about people and processes, resilience and flexibility, and most of all, to trust my instincts and rely on my experience to see the work through.
I was assigned the 1st station of the cross: Pilate condemns Christ to the cross. I chose a palette of different shades of white to make a subtle insinuation of the cross Christ would bear, a beginning. Two areas of color, connected by a subtle color gradation, symbolize Pilate’s washing of the hands and the violence that followed that act, arguably lasting over two thousand years to this day, when the world is still ravaged by war in the name of religion. In Italian tradition, gold is used to mark the sacred or important parts in a mosaic. Red gold highlights some points in the “blood” areas of my work, and three small gold tesserae, two white and one gold, mark the spot where Christ’s heart would be over the cross. To me, the sacrifices we make for the greater good are the most important in this context.
Impression of the Friuli region
As important as the studio experience was to the creative process, so was our chance to share in and partake in the daily life of the city. Udine has a long, proud history, and walking past the remnants of the old city walls every day was a reminder of how young the world I live in actually is; it puts things in perspective as I worked on a story two thousand years old. Our many visits to the corner cafe provided reminders to slow down and connect with others, like the locals do. The friendly welcome of the staff at the local restaurant, our walks through the neighborhoods, and our contact with some of the organizations that weave the fabric of the city, as well as the opportunity to interact with local officials and community organizers left lasting impressions. All of it informed my work, and will continue to do so for a long time. In the west we live rushed, busy lives. Italians do too, but they seem to always make time to slow down, enjoy meals together and savor that mid-morning and mid-afternoon coffee. It’s a lesson I am trying to remember every day.
CLAUIANO MOSAICS SYMPOSIUM 3RD EDITION