Name: Barbara Benson Keith
What kind of mosaics do you make? Stained glass mosaics
When did you start making mosaics? 2004
How did you get into mosaics? I took a community education class about stained glass windows. I had a pile of scrap glass, so a few years later, I decided one day to make a mosaic. I didn’t know how, and didn’t even consult a book, I just did what felt right.
What inspires you? Nature, people, animals, the work of other artists
How did you develop your style? I’m self taught, and I resist taking classes so what I do is really mine.
How did you learn to make mosaics? Guessed.
How do you work best? During the day, listening to an audio book.
How do you approach a mosaic? For me the hardest part is deciding what to do. Once I have that figured out, I get to it. I am very focused while I work and I don’t really take breaks or get distracted unless it’s lunch time!
What do you do with your mosaics once you finish? Sell them, hopefully!
What have you learned? I’ve learned things about myself, like I’m a jumper. Even if I don’t know how to do something, I’ll say yes and jump in and figure out how to do it after that.
How do you fit mosaics into your personal/family life? I’ve got a wonderfully supportive hubby! This is my job and I feel very lucky.
Where do you work? I have a studio in the basement with a nice big southern exposure window. In the summer it’s cool down there and in the winter it’s warm.
What is your favorite thing about working as an artist? The freedom! I used to teach elementary school, which was very rewarding but demanding and stressful. I was always sick with colds and strep and had to drive to work in the cold and dark and snow… You know how it is! Now I can sleep in or take a day off. I set my schedule and get the work done when I want to do it. My commute is about 10 seconds. I love that!
Have you ever done public art, community art, worked with children, etc…? Doing public art is my passion! Over the years, I’ve been doing more and more public art and I love it! I love the challenges, and I love knowing that lots of people will see my work. This year I’ve done a lot of work for clinics and hospitals. Right now I’m also working on a big project up in Bemidji. I’ve designed the 15,000 sf terrazzo floor for a new convention center/hockey arena. It’s almost finished and looking amazing!