Interview with Vaishali Sanghavi, Mixed Media and Mosaic Artist

Please give us a brief introduction on yourself.

I grew up in Mumbai. I am a multi-disciplinary artist. I have worked in a lot of different mediums – drawing, painting, quilting, printmaking, kiln formed glass and now mosaics. I studied textile design at Sophia college majoring in Weaving, after that I did a one-year course in screen printing also at Sophia college.  I got married in 1989 and moved to America.

How did you start making mosaics and how long ago was that? 

I took one class in picassiette (broken china) from my daughter’s art teacher in 2005, and there was no looking back. I started researching this art form. I found Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland. They offered mosaic classes taught by some very well known mosaicists. I took a lot of classes there – Sonia King, Emma Biggs, Irina Charny, Laurel Skye, Lin Chinn, Lillian Seizemore, Laurel True and many more. Currently, I am enrolled in a certification program in mosaic arts at the Chicago Mosaic School. This school was founded by the dynamic Karen Ami. Here I have had the honor of studying under Verdiano Marzi, Toyoharo KII, Dugald Maccines, Karen Ami and Sue Gianotti.

What is your preferred mosaic media? Do tell us about the materials you use for your mosaics.

I am a mixed media artist. I use smalti, stone, slate, 24K gold leafed glass, metal, millefiori, kiln formed glass, handmade ceramic and found objects.

What all have you made in mosaics? What all do you plan to make in the future?

I started out making mirrors in tapestry style mosaics. My work has moved towards abstraction. Currently, all my work is 2D; I would like to get into sculptural mosaics so I am acquiring skills to make 3D substrates.

What are you currently working on? 

Currently, I am experimenting in combining slate with smalti. The new series is in design phase.

Where do you find inspiration for your compositions? What kind of themes interest you?

I only do abstract mosaics, most of my inspiration come from nature and state of mind.

What is the typical size of your mosaic pieces? How long does it take you on average to complete a mosaic?

I don’t work very large, 8”x10”, 12”x12″, 20”x20”, 18”x24”

The time it takes me to finish a mosaic depends on its intricacy. I am not a super-fast worker, I like to bond with the tesserae and the process of creating the piece.

What challenges have you encountered in mosaic-making?

Technical challenges – Andamento and learning how to use the hammer and hardie correctly.

Mosaic as an art charms even non-artists as it brings all the focus on the process or on working out the flow of tesserae. Many folks seem to find the art instantly therapeutic. Do you feel that way?


What is your wish list for mosaics as an art in the US as also in India? 

Mosaic art is still considered a craft, I would like mosaic art to find a place in the fine art category.

What is your view of the Facebook group Mosaic India and its website? What principles should it promote in the future?     

I think Mosaic India is a great group. I would like this group to grow and thrive. I think for any group to thrive we should continue to 1 –  attract more artists, 2 – share our work more often and have a dialogue with the other members, because we all learn from each other. A closed group is a safe place for us to share our work, 3 – continue to share sources for materials and links to mosaic sites and artists.  

What is your advice to a new mosaic learner who is based in India?

Research other mosaic artists, there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube on Andamento, processing different materials. Keep creating mosaics and you will get better. There are a lot of good mosaic technique books available. I believe it is important to learn the rules correctly in order to break them.

Are there any learning resources or mosaic artists you would like to point new learners to? You can sign up for online courses here. The nice thing is you can have the course forever so you can refer to it as often as you want. Some courses are more advanced than others.

Is there a gallery link or website that you would like to share with others?

Any mosaic or art based philosophy that you’d like to be known by?

Keep creating without worrying about the end result.  

Do share with us some of your creations and links to your website.

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