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Published July 15th 2012
In a beautiful valley in Warburton resides the lovingly handcrafted and totally unique home and studio of the talented Sioux Dollman.
The entrance to Siouxs studio awakens your imagination.
I was delighted to be able to attend a garden mosaic workshop with Sioux (pronounced Sue).
Going for the entire weekend, we arrived early Saturday morning and spent the entire weekend creatively crafting. We were given the option of creating either a bird bath, a bowl or a paver.
Creative Work in the studio.
All of the participants chose different creations and different themes. For my selection I decided to create a paver. Having never done mosaic before at all I was a little concerned that my creative juices may not get flowing so easily. However, with a little bit of guidance from Sioux, I was off, started and creating in no time at all along with the rest of the gals (men are most welcome but for this particular weekend it turned out to be a group of women sharing and creating together).
Gluing the basis of a lovely bird bath.
It was really interesting to see how people's creativity expressed itself in different ways, some with vibrant colours other with deeper earthy tones.
Some people chose all of their tiles and glass, matching colours and having everything in place before they began, others like myself decided to go a little more abstract and allow colours and shapes to form as we went.
I can't speak for everybody in the workshop but I know from myself, surrounded by Sioux's amazing art pieces, I felt rather humbled and unable to compare myself to the quality of her work. That being said, I was gently guided by her encouragement. The pieces of glass were placed on the concrete and patterns began to emerge.
Half way through the fairy toadstool creation.
We treated the concrete firstly to weatherproof and give greater adhesion and then once we were happy with the layout of glass and patterns, we were able to carefully begin glueing our pieces on one by one.
A glued but not yet grouted colourful sundial.
It is quite a magical experience watching something that you have created begin to take shape and look interesting. However, at this point we still wondered whether anything we created would even vaguely resemble anything like one of Sioux's amazing pieces. She kept saying to us "everyone doubts themselves at this point, wait until you get the grout on, it will bring it all to life". With a few raised eyebrows, we looked across the room at each other, not quite certain that her words were true at this point.
She assured us that she would not let us go home until we were happy with our creations. Heads down, concentrating on designs, we pushed ahead with our creations, stopping whenever we felt like a break for coffee, snacks and a beautiful valley view.
Halfway through the grouting.
Saturday afternoon rolled around to find us thankfully creative, a little tired, all in all feeling happy with what we had created. Some of us covered with adhesive and tile dust. Well, she did advise us to wear old clothes!
My creation a lovely stepping stone paver.
Arriving back on Sunday our creations were waiting for us in the studio ready for the next stage - grouting and finishing off!
Choosing the grout colour, as Sioux had suggested the day before, it really did begin to bring the entire creation to life.
There were many oohs and ahhs as we were delighted by the revealing of people's creations. It was pretty interesting how the different colours and different ideas translated together into the finished items.
A colourful bowl with river pebbles.
They looked fantastic. Sioux was correct, it really did all come together in the end and especially as people who have never done any of this before, the creations that we made were truly professional in appearance.
There were smiles all around as the girls felt so proud of their achievements. One of the girls had made a beautiful sundial by purchasing the metal sundial from a hardware store and then placing it on a concrete paver and creating a vibrant mosaic pattern around it.
A great assortment of tiles and treasures to choose from.
Another one of the girls had not particularly wanted to do any of the projects that Sioux had suggested as she had wanted to create something magical for her little girls to place in the garden. She then decided on the terrific idea of turning the bowl of the bird bath upside down and using it as a mushroom / toadstool with the pole of the bird bath being the stalk of the mushroom. You can see in the images here how well it turned out, I am sure her little girls will be delighted at the new fairy home appearing in their garden.
Some new friends made, some wonderful art pieces coming into creation, we lugged our concrete garden art Mosaic into our cars ready to proudly display in our own gardens and felt very pleased with the entire weekend.
Can you see the look of yeah were not so sure about that yet Sioux but it all came together in the end.
Sioux organises regular Garden art workshops and you can contact her with a couple of friends to organise another date if the ones she has organised do not suit you.