As a teenager, I can say I studied commercial art - my parents paid for the 3-year course offered by Art Instruction Schools (remember the "Draw Winky" contest?). Don't get me wrong - I actually learned a lot from that correspondence course. At 17, I even tried freelance drawing for a graphic arts company, but it just didn't click: I couldn't create on demand!
I've always worked in creative fields (such as instructional design and corporate training), but none were related to art. Over the years, I casually explored several artistic outlets: Drawing, pastels, painting, jewelry-making and stained and fused glass art. In Tucson, I taught a beginners' stained-glass class for Ochoa Glass. I was also hooked on fused glass. However, all of my glass art was for my own enjoyment. While I was working at the Foreign Service Institute in Washington, DC I started taking mosaics classes at The Art League in Alexandria, VA with Anita Damron, a well-respected mosaic artist, and with Bonnie Fitzgerald at the Smithsonian - a great mosaic artist who's authored several 'how to' mosaics books. During that time, I learned a lot of mosaic techniques but discovered that what I loved most was creating mosaics from reclaimed and re-purposed materials or 'bling' as I call it. Too much stuff is wasted in our society; instead, we can use excess stuff to create art!
While I was rediscovering my artistic side, I found a great source of materials from two local ‘creative re-use arts centers’ in the Metro DC area. When my husband, (a metal and mixed media artist), and I decided to return to Tucson, we became part-time artists while running our own creative re-use arts center, Upcycle Tucson. Our business was a place where we could feed our habit of using upcycled materials while creating art! An unexpected bonus was meeting enough Tucson artists and crafters, a quirky community that nourished our spirits, to create the Upcycle Tucson Arts Group.
We've since closed Upcycle Tucson, but I still create mosaics, teach classes, and promote sustainability via upcycled art. You can see some of my mosaics at Desert Artisans Gallery. I've also had my mosaics in several shows and gallery events (visit www.AndreaEdmundson.art). As of August 2018, I teach mosaics classes at Blue Raven Art School. You'll be seeing more of my work in the future!
My mosaics are messages about consumerism and creativity.
We (I) have too much stuff. Most stuff can be re-used or re-purposed. And, best of all, “We (I) can create ART with this abundant stuff.” So that is what I do. The unique colors and shapes of my stuff (what I call ‘bling’) inspire and delight me. My goal is to inspire and delight others with my mosaics while proposing that we can all be more with less.