A Week With the Italian Master Giulio Menossi

What an experience! I was so fortunate and happy to have had the opportunity to attend a workshop at Casa Valencia in Tijuana, February 2-11, with Italian Master mosaicist, Guilio Menossi. His talent and gentle teaching style amazed me! I have watched and appreciated his work for years, and was so lucky to have seen a post on FB about the workshop. There turned out to be several cancellations the week before, so we were to lucky there ended up being only two of us in the class. I had lots of one on one time with Guilio and the information, skills, and inspiration were perhaps the best of any workshop I have ever attended.

Monday morning when we arrived, we were given our substrate, which was a very three dimensional heart made of plywood. We began Monday morning with Guilio teaching us the fundamentals of andamento. Once we had the fundamentals down, Guilio explained that with the knowledge we’d gained we could choose to break those fundamental rules but still use them within our own style.  It was such a  different and new experience learning from someone who did not speak English. Fortunately, Aida and the other student spoke some Italian and were able to translate for me.

After lunch, we selected our base color, selected our smalti and began working with the hammer and hardie. I wish I could’ve had a week there to practice prior to creating the piece since I haven’t worked in this style of mosaics much at all. Not being skilled with the hammer meant that a lot of smalti is wasted from bad cuts and that it took much longer to make progress on the piece.

For six days I worked from 9:00-6:30 on this piece. Every single tessara was set into colored thinset, using a pair of tweezers. To say it is tedious work is an understatement, but I loved it! And most of all I am so happy with the outcome.

Aida Valencia was such a wonderful host for the workshop. Her working studio was the location, and so we were able to watch as she and her studio employees worked on a large and beautiful commission piece of Jesus. Every night Aida took us to one of her favorite local restaurants. The food was always so delicious- even the Chinese food! Hotel Palacia Azteca, where I stayed, was very nice and being only a block and a half away it was a very easy and safe walk.

I can’t wait to go back and visit Aida. I know we will enjoy being friends for years to come. I am already working on getting my Sentry pass so that crossing back into the US will be quicker.

What a joy to have a full six days immersed in nothing but the work. Here are a few photos.

My completed heart.

A detail shot- making color selections.

Guilio and I enjoying our tamarind margaritas- a first for me.

Aida, me , Guilio, and Tere Ramos.

Tree of Life

One of the pieces I’ve completed since the beginning of 2017 is this Tree of Life.  This is the first piece I have made that combines ceramics with Mexican smalti and I am so happy with the results! The piece is 25″ x 35″ and is available for sale. Contact me for pricing if you are interested at marsha@marsharafter.com

Mosaic Tree of Life

Mosaic Tree of Life (2017)