Featured Artist of the Month: Sheryl Tuorila
Email: slt at sheryltuorila dot com
What kind of mosaics do you make?
Well, it's always evolving...presently I'm very focused on my handmade tile mosaics but glass-on-glass is a ton of fun and then I venture into the mixed media mosaics now and then to keep it interesting. I think I'll be messing with some pebble mosaics soon.
When did you start making mosaics?
My mantra is "Making It, Breaking It and Sticking It since 1999".
How did you get into mosaics?
It was always something I wanted to try. In 1999 Clay Squared to Infinity opened three blocks from my house and within that first week they were there I started an apprenticeship learning how to make tile. At the same time a friend and I had a mosaic book, we made garden pots and that's the end of the story. I had always been creating art - fiber, jewelry, etc but mosaics really gave me an endless variety of projects, materials, and styles. Ten years later and I haven't put a dent in the things I want to make.
What inspires you?
Nature - I love the colors, patterns and textures found in nature. The Exotic - I love Indian artwork, tiles, woodcarvings and furniture. Contemporary Art & Furniture- I love the stark, bold, simple, clean lines and color (or lack of it sometimes).
How did you develop your style?
In college I majored in printmaking - I worked with textures, layering them randomly to create my imagery. This carries over into my handmade tile mosaics. I create tons of tiles and then go back to work with them. I call the work "designed" random. I work intuitively with the shapes, colors and textures to create these flowing organic images.
How did you learn to make mosaics?
Self taught. But I have met the right people over the years to get valuable information from - many through my membership in the Handmade Tile Association and Mosaic Guild. I took classes with Riana deRaad and Kim Emerson.
How do you work best?
I like to work in series. I'll have a color combo I'm interested in, I'll make a variety of pieces in those colors in different sizes. It seems I need to make ten to get the one I like.
How do you approach a mosaic?
I'll make a bunch of tiles in a color scheme I'm interested in and go from there. I need to have the materials there to inspire me, commissions are the only situations where a piece is planned out to some extent.
What do you do with your mosaics once you finish?
Hopefully sell them! People ask if it's hard to let go. Nope, I have so many things I want to make I'm already onto the next piece. I moved into a new home last year so I've been busy doing some projects around my own house for a change. When summer comes I've got a million things percolating for outside.
What have you learned?
I don't try to work outside my style anymore. I don't do butterflies, dragonflies, etc. I'm not good at it.
How do you fit mosaics into your personal/family life?
It's hard now that I have a 16 month old I want to spend all my time with. But I know it's better to get in the studio at least part-time, makes Sheryl a better person. My studio has become my retreat.
Where do you work?
Studio 403 Northrup King Building www.northrupkingbuilding.com
What is your favorite thing about working with mosaics?
The incredible variety - materials, substrates, installations, styles. I love teaching mosaic classes and encouraging people in their interest in mosaics.
Have you ever done public art, community art, worked with children, etc...?
I created the benches at Ridgedale Library (below), worked on a community art project for St. Paul Public Housing (adults & children), made a carrot for the Eastside Coop, I've been a visiting artist at a couple high schools for the day, and created quite a few pieces for hospitals and corporate offices.