How I Got Here
"Never travel without your tools. You just never know when you’ll have to glue something to something else.” - Margo Anton
Just how does someone become a nomadic artist? One's journeys in life often take a rather circuitous route, and mine are no exception. I can probably say this journey began at age 12 when I formed my first company, margOrigami, creating and selling origami earrings.
Fast forward to 1994 and a backpacking trip to Europe that instilled a love of the arts in me. Two years later, I was back to Italy, on an archaeological dig that saw me digging down to mosaics. The travel continued, but a couple years later, I transferred from Classics at university into Commerce.
My stint in the corporate world lasted all of three months, and to say I ran screaming would be understatement. I knew I needed to be doing something creative with my life, and set about figuring out what that might be. My mind eventually came back to mosaic, a dredging up of my Classics past. Was anyone still doing that?
Turned out lots of people were. I researched the field for months before diving in, and from the moment I picked up mosaic cutters for the first time, I was hooked. Within a year I formed my mosaic company, and began teaching classes a year later.
Mosaic also brought travel back into my life after a 5 year hiatus. I found myself headed to a mosaic conference every year hosted by the Society of American Mosaic Artists. Eventually I formed an online mosaic supply retail shop, Mosaic Outpost which I had for about 6 years.
In 2009, I started a new project designed to get my butt back in the studio regularly. The Mosaic a Day blog was the vehicle by which I began creating a small mosaic, five days a week, and sharing it with the world. This blog has ultimately become the showcase for my jewelry AND my travels.
In late April 2014, after a personally difficult couple of years, I sold my house and teaching studio, packed up all my belongings, and decided to travel. No mosaics for me for three months...I needed a break from everything. But mosaic found me whether I wanted it or not. Within 6 weeks, I was busy working on a table top commission in Greece, getting sunstroke and having my skin fall off my fingers from the dodgy, caustic cement. But I was happy. And I did not want to stop travelling.
Returning to my native Canada, I sold all my belongings out of my storage unit (please avoid this at all costs) and went back on the road. I house sat, taught workshops, and always made sure I had somewhere to use as a nomadic studio. I started looking at what was really essential to continue what I do. After several tries, I whittled down my work travel kit to about 7kg (15lbs) of gear. It fits in half of a carry on size suitcase.
I now travel, teach workshops where I can, and occasionally plant for 2-3 months to get some proper work done or do an artist residency. I make mostly mosaic jewelry these days. I travel with about 25kg (55lbs) of belongings. I’ve taught in 6 countries, displayed work in 5, and made mosaics in 9. I have friends all over the globe. I haven't had a permanent residence in almost 4 years. I’m drinking a beer in Egypt as I write this, and I think there are 4 different currencies in my purse. It’s not the life for everyone, but I’ve created it through a crazy journey that I wouldn’t change for a second, and I love it.