My love of learning 'something new' each year has led me to partake in many a workshop, from silk colouring to pottery, and now a Mosaic Turkish Lamp Workshop. It's not my first experience delving into mosaic art but this masterclass was very different to the last one I did several years back.
In my first mosaic workshop, I had to cut the glass tiles first, which is somewhat of a task in itself. There were a lot of processes involved in that 2-day class in Leichhardt which produced an A4 size mosaic of a fish. It sits on a bench in my garage serving no purpose except to gather dust.
My thoughts when booking my latest class were that this mosaic piece will at least serve a purpose in lighting a room. Making the class easier too, was the fact that the tiles were pre-cut, a huge bonus.
So, on a rainy Sunday, I was off to the Mosaic Art Studio in Darlinghurst for my 2.5hr workshop to mosaic a table lamp. Donay was my lovely teacher, very helpful and full of tips with everything laid out ready on the table - from geometric designs to coloured tiles, tweezers and glue. The small class size of 7 on this day was great as it gave each of us plenty of one-on-one instruction with Donay.
The first step was to choose designs and colours. The main design I chose for my lamp was a snowflake and I re-created it on opposite sides of the glass. I also chose a smaller horizontal design to link both designs together. As for colours, there's a lot to choose from and with Christmas, just past, red and green were on my mind. Thus these were my choices, along with some yellow.
I then went about arranging my coloured tiles on the paper designs to see how they look and when I was happy with their positioning, it was time to get started creating the patterns on the glass lamp.
The designs from the teacher are tried and fit well, although if you have something different in mind then you can create your own design. Either way, your lamp will be unique.
Adding glue comes next, then the tiles. Handy tips and notes were, as follows -
Leave the tiles on your design so you can refer back to your colour pattern
Gather more tiles ready for gluing
With your glue, you are not gluing each tile separately but adding glue to a small area of the glass before adding the tiles
It is best to start with a small area and do your gluing in sections, else your glue may set before all your tiles are placed
Excess glue can be picked off later
You can use the tweezers or your fingers to place the tiles in position on the glass
Two join lines on either side of the glass are good markers for lining up the centre of your design
A lot of concentration is involved in this workshop and after finishing my patterns on the glass, a welcome break came when we were brought refreshments in the form of Turkish black tea and Turkish shortbread biscuits. Both were very nice.
Afterwards, it was time to add some beads to complete the mosaicing part of the lamp. These are tiny beads that fill the spaces surrounding your design. As with the tiles, there's plenty of choice in colours. I went with a pearly white bead. You can mix a few colours together but I was wanting my design to stand out more against the backdrop of the beads.
When adding the beads, again apply the glue first, section by section. With the beads being so small, it's best to sprinkle them onto the glass and then press them down.
When you're satisfied with your piece, and after it's all dry, it's then time for the plastering. A mixture of water with plaster is brushed over the entire glass piece. This fills in any gaps between your tiles and beads. Plaster on top of your designs is then wiped off.
The final (and easy) step is putting the lamp together. Inside the base, is the globe holder. It takes an E14 size LED globe, which is provided. It's a small globe and I'm told you can get these in regular places where you buy globes, for when you need one in the future. The globe screws in easily and then it's time to add your glass mosaic piece. There are 3 prongs inside the top of the base and your teacher will show you how best to fit the glass in. The top piece of the lamp fits in similarly.
Learning this 500-year old ancient craft turned out to be one of the best workshops I've done, if not the best, and you don't need any experience. The cost for the table lamp class was $89. It is just one of a few pieces you can make. Other workshops have you making a candle holder, a swan lamp and an Aladdin lamp. The prices vary from $69 to $129. You can book a class online through the studio's website, choosing your preferred time and date. There's also kits you can purchase to do your mosaicing from home. Online video tutorials guide you step by step through the processes, from start to finish.
Should you want to have one of these lamps and not mosaic it yourself, then you can purchase one from the studio. It's also a gift shop with a myriad of gorgeous patterns on lamps. They sell lovely ceramic bowls and plates, along with other homewares and trinkets too. Alternatively, you may come across a pop-up stall in a shopping centre, like I have done a couple of times.
Getting to the studio is easy by bus from Town Hall or by train from Kings Cross station. Public transport is best as there is very limited street parking. The shopfront on William Street is easily recognisable with all the lighted lamps that can be seen from the window.
So, go ahead and treat yourself whilst satisfying your artistic soul.