By John DeCoste
There are many reasons Jana Folker does mosaic art, but basically, she says, “I love everything about it.”
Folker, a Hantsport resident, is one of four artists involved in the Custom Cottage artists’ collaborative located on Chestnut Street in Wolfville. On Oct. 27, she held an open house and demonstration.
Folker said she has been doing mosaic art as a hobby for about 30 years, and trying to sell it for the last two years.
Folker explained that in mosaic art, small pieces of material – usually tile, china or porcelain – are formed into often intricate and colourful patterns that can then be used for things like table tops, countertops, picture frames and mirrors.
As for how she got started, she admitted, “I’ve always loved mosaics. I wanted to have one, so I made myself one.”
Folker’s work is all created from scratch, and she often accepts commissions.
“I often use items that belong to the people who commission the work, often because they have some sort of sentimental value to them. Sometimes they have something they’d like to see included, and sometimes I ask if there’s something.”
She’s always loved working with old dishes and things.
“Sometimes, they’re chipped or otherwise damaged, so I put them in a pillow case and smash them with a hammer, then use them as part of my designs.”
Asked what she likes about it, Folker admitted, “I like that every one is different; no two are exactly alike. I’m sure if someone asked me to, I could make a duplicate, but it still wouldn’t be exactly the same because the pieces would be different shapes.”
When she shatters dishes, cups or things, she uses them the way they break and works them into the design.
Sometimes, she says, she uses a cutting tool or wheel, or a pair of wheeled tile cutters, but often she likes the interesting shapes and designs she gets by being spontaneous. Moreover, smashing things “can be a great stress reliever,” she says.
Folker admits she likes using damaged and otherwise unusable antiques in her work.
“I like the idea of taking something old and making something new from it,” she says. “There’s no end to the possible designs you can have.”
She has also used rocks, shells, starfish and other things you’d pick up on the beach. As a rule, she makes use of materials from nature wherever she can.
“I love walking on the beach looking for specimens,” she says. Like the rest of her work, “it’s fun, and I love doing it besides.”
Folker notes that mosaic art “has been around for centuries, particularly in the Far East.” In the art of mosaics, “pretty much anything goes. I find it fascinating, because there are so many things you can do with it, so many different dimensions.”