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Post Lockdown classes resume with Mrs Mosaic

Nicola Upton, aka Mrs Mosaic, has run classes in both mosaics and stained glass from her log cabin studio at the bottom of her garden since 2015. These include self-contained one day courses, such as ‘Make a mosaic mirror in a day’ and a longer programme of 3 x 3 hour lessons where more technical aspects like grouting and indirect methods are introduced for those wanting to produce a more detailed outcome. Unlike most short courses at FE colleges Nicola makes sure that , in addition to the right tools, there is a good range of materials on hand and included within the cost of the lessons. Students who have completed a course often book a monthly lesson at a mutually convenient time, which offers them support as they develop, and offers far more flexibility than a traditional adult learning course.

Student Pat’s first mosaic post lockdown.

Talking about the mosaic classes, Nicola says, “What I find most satisfying is meeting a complete beginner and taking them on a journey of discovery to find the best way for that person to achieve an original piece of work in mosaics, rather than copying a pattern of what someone else has already created. I often hear people say “I’m not creative” or “I can’t draw”. What I love to do is to take a person, find out what makes them tick, get them to explore their creativity leaving with a truly original piece of work which means something to them and proves that with the right approach we are all creative.”

Mrs Mosaic studio also offers a course in stained glass, where a maximum of two learners at a time create a contemporary panel of stained glass in just one day. Nicola, who originally trained in stained glass as part of her degree, says “People are so fascinated by the beauty and technique of this traditional craft, which requires a tremendous amount of accuracy with a multitude of tools and materials. They leave euphoric with pride at what they have managed in just a day- and usually just a little tired!”

Following a teaching qualification at Southend Adult Community College, Nicola spent a number of years with the art department reaching into the community. At the same time she was involved with a mosaic group who collaborated on diverse local community projects aimed to encourage and inspire disadvantaged, hard to reach or minority stakeholders. This included working on the famous Moon Corner mosaic in Leigh (the next corner from The Grand), with the Storehouse Project and Mind the mental health charity.

Nicola says ”What was interesting to see from these community projects was how calming the mosaic process made the participants feel, and how with some people who found it hard to talk, the lack of direct eye contact was less threatening and people opened up more easily.” She has frequently witnessed this wellbeing aspect in her own classes too. As one of her returning students Natasha puts it “I’ve not only developed new creative skills but also found these classes to be an antidote to the stressors of modern life. There is something deeply therapeutic about cutting tiles and attentively arranging them into different shapes and patterns.” For dates of Nicola’s upcoming workshops, and to see some of her student’s creations

Jane’s completed panel in situ…started before the first lockdown, grouted post lockdown.

Student feedback

Natasha Davis

“I would highly recommend Nicola’s classes in her cosy, garden studio. There is always a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, sustained by warm cups of tea and chats! Nicola is a patient, nurturing and knowledgeable teacher who understands when to share her expertise and when to step back and let her students experiment. With Nicola’s guidance, I’ve finished many pieces I can proudly display or even gift to friends. “

I’ve not only developed new creative skills but also found these classes to be an antidote to the stressors of modern life. There is something deeply therapeutic about cutting tiles and attentively arranging them into different shapes and patterns. I have loved exploring a new art form and found it to be a genuinely rewarding experience.”

Jane Lord

“When I started to go to Nicola’s mosaic class I was a complete beginner. With Nicola’s patience and brilliant teaching I have continued to grow in confidence and have produced a number of mosaic’s After lockdown it was really good to go back to class; Nicola has provided a clean safe environment and works within all the Covid rules keeping her students safe I thoroughly recommend giving mosaic a try”

Liz King

“I first attended Nicola’s mosaic classes many years ago when she was at Southchurch College and enjoyed the stimulus and challenge so much that I have never stopped!

Her studio is a warm and friendly space at all times, with all Covid safety measures in place. She encourages and stimulates ideas freely with a range of resources at hand and I have gained confidence to such an extent that I now have my own studio at home, where I can continue my projects.

During lockdown I had found that I could continue at my own pace but Nicola also set up a monthly video call with different challenges to motivate us as the days slid by!

I highly recommend anyone to try Nicola’s mosaic classes but warn you it could become an addiction that’s life changing!”

Click here to examples of student’s work /https://nicolaupton.wordpress.com/students-page/

For the latest classes check out Nicola’s workshops https://nicolaupton.wordpress.com/workshops-and-courses/

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