Artist Biography

Or – How I Came to Mosaics

head shot big smile croppedThe Beginning: Countries fit together into mosaic continents. We inhabit geopolitical tesserae (pieces in a mosaic). I didn’t think these thoughts in 1991 when I created a large-scale textile map of the world for the dreary children’s lunchroom at the Penn Museum. I did know I was on fire making a meaningful project that changed the experience of a place for the better. More than twenty years later I put the pieces together (so to speak). The “AHA!” came while sharing histories with a friend in the Mosaic Society of Philadelphia – the map was my first mosaic! I have been a mosaic artist longer than I once thought.

Gotta Make Art:  For the next years I taught elementary school which I enjoyed and it paid the bills, but it didn’t scratch the itch of art making. In 1999 I left classroom teaching and began seriously exploring mosaic materials and processes. Sure of my ability to fit pieces together, I apprenticed myself to mosaic artists. At the same time I faced my insecurities about drawing, painting, and sculpting (you mean these things are skills, not natural-born gifts?) by studying at local universities and art schools.

Teaching Artist: After seven years of training (and two babies) I started fabricating mosaic works with the same basic elements and excitement as the textile map. Hired by schools and community organizations as an Artist in Residence, I combined my skills as both an educator and a mosaicist to produce large-scale, relevant, student/community built installations.

Mosaic Spaces LLC:  Founded in 2011 and located in my home, Mosaic Spaces brought the professional piece of my life and the family piece together under one roof. Mosaic Spaces Studio is where I continue to design community projects, as well as to create architectural installations and fine art panels.

Claire Brill        484-326-6315