Happy Maker Monday!
This week we are featuring Hollie Graze of Mollycat Mosaics! Her mosaic pieces range from small accent decor to large artwork that’s bound to be the focal point of the room! Although many of us have seen a mosaic in our life or remember pasting little pieces of tile on a popsicle stick frame, there are so many factors that can make working with this medium a challenge. Hollie has definitely risen to meet that challenge and we love how her social media gives us a peak into her process. It truly shows how much Hollie and fellow makers pour into their work to give you a unique piece of art. Read on to learn more about Mollycat Mosaics!
: Tell us a little about yourself. What are a few silly things that make you, you?
: What makes me, me? hmmm. I like new projects, the ideas and planning and problem solving are invigorating. I love my balcony and watching birds. I trained my cat to sit and do paw. I have not figured out how to make him not meow for food at 5:00 in the morning. I create part-time and also work as school-based occupational therapist supporting students with disabilities. I have a deep need to contribute, whether by helping others or creating beautiful mosaics that make people happy every time they see it on their wall.
: How did your shop Mollycat Mosaics get started?
: It’s funny, people ask me this all the time. I have no real definitive memory of when I started making mosaics or even what my first mosaic was! I dabbled in so many mediums, basketry, painting, ceramics, stone sculpting, etching. I was always starting something, trying something new. One day I just started mosaicking and never stopped!
: We love the intricacy of all of your mosaic designs. Describe the process that goes into making one of your pieces.
: I feel like there are two parts of me sometimes. The producing business artist and the more artsy ‘make it because I want to’ artist. The producing artist creates designs that I can make somewhat quickly and reproduce in different colors. Mosaics that are marketable to a greater audience. These I love to make because the emphasis is on color combinations and textures (Will I use beads> Matte or iridescent glass? Both?). I can play with color combos all day! Then I have pieces I make for the fun of exploring new techniques and materials or just because I really want to. Right now, I am making a sloth- who needs a mosaic of a sloth? A four foot mosaic of a sloth? But it came about in a fit of inspiration and I cut the board and started before I could really ask myself that question. So far, he is super cute and I can’t wait till I’m done so I can see him! I never really plan anything, maybe a loose sketch (in chalk) and an idea of a color palette, but I very rarely stick to my first idea. All my work sort of evolves as I go, even the designs I repeat. I’ll suddenly remember those beads, or that particular glass and I’m off following my inspiration! I have tried to plan more, but then I feel more like I am just producing, not creating. It’s stifling.
: What do you love most about mosaic decor? What are some of the challenges of working with this media?
: I love mosaic because it is an enduring art form. I well-crafted mosaic will last years and years. I find it appealing that my work will float around out there long after I am gone. When I watch antiques roadshow, I imagine one day, in the far future, someone will show up with a Mollycat Mosaic they found in in an attic somewhere. Is that weird? On the lighter side, I love color and light and the materials I use are so pretty. I use a lot of glass – recycled glass, stained glass, vitreous glass each you can find in myriad colors and finishes -matte, iridescent, transparent, opaque. The options are endless. I use beads, rhinestones, ceramic tile and mirror too. The challenges are space and safety. Most mosaic artists I know have stashes of glass and tile, bags of grout in different colors, beads hanging or stored, china plates and broken bits of everything that folks just donate. You just find something and think- “ooh that’s neat, I could use that in a mosaic and throw it in your stash! Then there are the boo-boos, cuts and lacerations from glass, making sure the cat or people don’t walk in your workspace without shoes on! I wear glasses to protect my eyes from flying glass.Gloves for grout and some adhesives. I have different masks for dust and grout and adhesive fumes. There are a lot of safety issues to keep in mind.
: In addition to your Etsy shop you also sell at Art Shows and Fairs. What do you like about selling your pieces to customers in person?
: I so enjoy meeting and chatting with people. It is fun. Sometimes you just have the best and weirdest chats! And of course it is always nice to hear when people enjoy what they are seeing or watching their faces when they come into my booth. Mosaic is not just visually appealing, it just invites people like to touch it. I like that too. I also get an opportunity to teach people about mosaic. Many folks mistake my work for tile, I often have to explain how a mosaic is made. When they hear each piece is cut by hand they are amazed. I get complimented on my patience a lot. Also, people think mosaics are so heavy, which they can be, but mine are designed as indoor home decorating so are light and easy to hang.
: Based in West New York, you are very close to the city! How do your surroundings inspire your work?
: There is so much inspiration available in NYC, from the mosaic art in the subways, to museums and street artists! I also find inspiration in nature. I have made many mosaics inspired by trees, flowers and animals.
: Has there been a customer story or review about your products that keeps you motivated when running your shop gets challenging or busy?
: Yes! I keep a folder in my email with thank you notes and photos people send me of their new mosaic in their home. I love it! It feels really great when I get that photo before I’ve even left the show where they bought it! And it does get hard sometimes, I sell more ‘live’ than online. So to be able to go back a look at these notes can lift my spirits after a slow month.
: How did you come up with the name Mollycat Mosaics?
: My cat was Molly. I like the alliteration, so much more memorable than Hollie’s Mosaics! It’s more fun.
: What are some future plans or goals for Mollycat Mosaics?
: I am always thinking about this. I would like to do an installation piece for a hospital maybe. A colorful uplifting piece that might just for a moment distract someone from their worries. I also keep pondering the idea of holding classes. The introvert in me is holding me back!
: Any advice for all the makers out there or those that may be interested in learning how to make mosaics?
: There are so many great teachers out there! Find an artist whose style you find inspiring and see if they offer classes. Many mosaic artists have classes not just in-person, but online. There are also mosaic vacation trips, where you can spend a few days in a beautiful location and learn to mosaic too! Just remember to wear a mask and gloves when you need to!
See More From Mollycat Mosacis