Archive of the Category 'CMS News'

Exciting changes for CMS

August 14, 2016
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Pat Thompson, CMS Founder Karen Ami, Alderman Harry Osterman and Rae Ann and Bob Cecrle on Granville.

The Chicago Mosaic School is excited to announce we will be moving to a new, highly-visible location in Chicago’s historic Edgewater neighborhood, an expanding vibrant arts community. After 11 years of ongoing growth, the school is in need of a larger facility to accommodate our expanded course offerings and programming. In Spring 2017, we will relocate to a new 9,500 square feet facility that will include The Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics (GoCM), larger classrooms, lecture space, 11 dedicated artist studios, resource room, kiln room, and mosaic-related retail. In addition to the amenities inside the school, our new Granville location provides easy access to public transportation, Chicago’s lakefront, and many nearby businesses, restaurants, and shopping.

All of this combines to help The Chicago Mosaic School fulfill its more-than-a-decade long mission of preserving and promoting classical and contemporary mosaics through its course offerings, school programs, community partnerships and teacher training programs–all with an emphasis on sustainability using proper methods and materials.

Big thanks to building owners Rae Ann and Bob Cecrle, Alderman Harry Osterman of the 48th Ward, Architect Patrick Thompson of Maske Dieckmann and Thompson and Nate Gautsche of CRER. We are incredibly grateful to all of you and to the wonderful support we have received from our staff, faculty, board of directors and students from both near and far. Check our Facebook page and CMS blog for updates on our exciting relocation!


Dugald McInnes Exhibition in Chicago

July 7, 2016

Opening reception July 22nd 2016 at The Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics (GoCM) 6-9pm

1806 West Cuyler Ave, Chicago  773 975 8966


Split Decisions (flyer)

Toyoharu Kii in Chicago 2016

May 31, 2016

Kii-PagodaRed-openingWe are excited to welcome artist Toyoharu Kii back to Chicago! This year Pagoda Red Gallery, Chicago is exhibition Kii’s first American Solo exhibition, opening June 3rd, 2016. The exhibition runs through July 21st, 2016. Kii will be in Chicago for the artists reception and will be at The Chicago Mosaic School to teach his “Monochromatic” Workshop for a 4th consecutive year.

St Benedicts Mosaic for Agora Week

April 25, 2016

img_3908Chicago’s St. Benedict’s School has been working on their beautiful Agora week project at The Chicago Mosaic School. Check out the progress on their blog here:  St Ben’s Mosaic

Inaugural Certifiable Exhibit at the GoCM: Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics

April 24, 2016

Inaugural Certifiable Exhibit at the GoCM: Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics

OpeninGoCMBy Patricia (Pat) King

As one of the most well-and-truly-certifiable of the Certificate students at the Chicago Mosaic School, I was naturally asked to post a blog entry on the inaugural Certifiable exhibit at the GoCM: Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics. So here goes.

The opening on April 15th, 2016, was wonderful. The Gallery shone with the light of more than 20 mosaics each exuding its own special emotional vibe. I was very impressed, as were many in attendance, by the breadth of style and the beauty of the pieces. I was both humbled and inspired by the combined talent of my fellow Certificate students and very happy to be a part of this great program. I also met other students, a real plus of attending the opening.

Though many of the pieces were small in size, they were big in emotional impact from the whimsical to the serene. [Note that, by order of my superiors at the CMS, I cannot include pictures of everyone’s piece(s) or I would. They are all great and it has been a challenge deciding on which few to include here. On the bright side, this will force you to go see the exhibit yourselves – and you really must!]

Wasentha Young

Wasentha Young

So, back to where I was, a few that come to mind are Wasentha Young’s “Half Awake,” a piece that makes me smile just to think about it. It is whimsical, sweet and well done. Its small size, about 6” square, also adds to the tenderness of this piece.

Another work on display is Dean Madsen’s piece entitled “Yellow River Serenade” that exudes serenity, one of two works he has on exhibit. Its largely monochromatic warm color scheme and flowing lines lend it to quiet contemplation. His use of a rectangular base wider than it is tall also promotes its peaceful quality.

Etty Hasak’s piece entitled “The Brown Line” has got to be a favorite of all students at the Chicago Mosaic School as it depicts that train famously passing by the workshop windows daily and at great frequency (not to mention volume). She captures its motion and speed well with the slate moving off to the left and horizontal lines of movement. It was a pleasure witnessing its creation during our Texture Workshop together. She also has two more wonderful pieces on exhibit.Etty Hasak


David Chidgey

David Chidgey

Lastly, and only because I cannot list them all, is a piece that further exemplifies the breadth of styles represented in the exhibit. It is a piece entitled “Gazelle” by David Chidgey and is one of three pieces he has on exhibit. You can really see the graceful leap of the gazelle when you look at this piece. It was done by David during Toyoharu Kii’s Monochromatic workshop and is a LOT better than the one I did, that is for sure.

Hopefully these few examples of works on display give you a glimpse into the treasures in this exhibit and inspire you to go see them for yourselves. I, myself, will be back before the exhibit closes on June 24th and look forward to a second chance to see them in person.

In closing, I entitled this piece the “inaugural” Certifiable exhibit because my vote is for there to be one annually because the students in the Certificate Program of the Chicago Mosaic School currently rock and will only continue to produce more and better mosaics as they progress in their programs. Well done all participants and thanks to the Chicago Mosaic School and its wonderful folks for putting on this show! Were it not for your excellent instruction, none of this would be possible.

CALL for ENTRIES: The Stories We Tell

March 24, 2016


The Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics  (GoCM) is proud to announce an open call to all artists working in mosaic for “The Stories We Tell”,  an exhibition open November 4, 2016 to January 27, 2017. This is a juried exhibition focusing on the narrative form of contemporary mosaic.

How do stories shape our experience and understanding of the world? They can be an accounting of either real or imaginary events… past and present or future in a life. Through individual artistic viewpoints this story may be implied or ambiguous, merging fiction with non-fiction and blending the real with the imagined. Each artist has a story to tell and tells stories in a variety of ways…referencing myth, religion, history, literature or personal experiences. What are the stories you tell?

Our juror, Joy Horwich, has been in the art world for over 50 years. She began her fine art gallery in Chicago in 1973 establishing herself across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art alongside other well-respected galleries. Today, no longer bound by the gallery Ms. Horwich enthusiastically continues to support the arts by representing a diverse collection of artists.

For more information and to submit an application go Juried Art Services. Deadline for application is September 13, 2016.

CMS teams with Chicago Schools

March 22, 2016


CMS is collaborating this spring to bring mosaics to three Chicago area schools; St. Benedict Preparatory, Von Steuben High School, and Coonley Elementary School. At St Benedict Preparatory, students will be creating a mosaic mural on the theme of “Excel”, one of the foundations of the school. Von Steuben High School students will be creating five indoor murals emphasizing the five specialties of their curriculum. And finally, Coonley Elementary is working with CMS for a third consecutive year to create the “Autumn” panel of the “Four Seasons” project. All of these collaborations will be completed by the end of this school year. Stay tuned for pictures and updates on these exciting projects!

by Matthew Cizek

Matthew is part of St. Benedict’s Protege’ Internship Program 2016. CMS is happy to welcome him to CMS this year!

The Importance of Drawing in Mosaic Practice

March 7, 2016

IMG_0299The value of drawing as part of a mosaic art practice is key to expression of an idea or design. At  CMS we encourage our students to draw, no matter how crudely – as even the most simple lines or “notes’ will help you to inform your mosaic planning and execution. Consider taking our Drawing for Mosaics Workshop or a drawing class at your local community center of college. It will make a difference!

Here is a blogpost from 2013 by our CMS faculty member, Martha Crandall – we thought it was worthy of another look:)

A Discovery Starts with Drawing
I see a drawing as a blueprint or foundation for many types of other artwork. It could be a graphic, a sculpture, a painting or mosaic, any number of other things. But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that a big realization hit home about my own artistic process.

I have always considered drawing as the first skill in my particular skill set. As a child it was certainly my favorite language! It came naturally and it was fun. Later on when I attended art school, “drawing as a foundation” was central to my education there.

Lately I have been trying to revive my own drawing practice. I go outside, draw a plant or an insect or anything nearby. I allow myself this window of study until real life intrudes again and I must switch gears and perform some other work. I had to produce a drawing for Mosaic Fundamentals at CMS. So I went to my sketchbook and took a page. But, not trusting that completely, I also took a snapshot of the subject and traced the photo to get another version of the drawing.

In the end I chose the first drawing, and I’m glad that I did. The tracing looked mechanical and had no life. I feel that he resulting mosaic was far better because of the natural drawing. Then I realized that much of my mosaic work to this point was based on tracings (mostly my photos) or something I drew on the computer. I was relying on methods I used as a graphic designer. Tracings and such have their place but they do not replace the inherent qualities of an actual drawing. A product of eyes and hands on paper is bound to have some life in it, something more from within.

So, I intend to keep drawing!

By Martha Crandall

March 2016 Newsletter

March 1, 2016


10914822_10203859730402220_7382445909948942736_o-1There is lots to look forward to this Spring at CMS. Time to make plans for all our great upcoming Visiting Artists Seminars and events. Check it out HERE

The 2016 CMS Catalog is Here!

February 7, 2016


Check out our lush roster of classes and workshops for Spring/Summer 2016!

Click here to check it out :  CMS Spring 2016

Travel to Chicago for our CMS MOSAIC INTENSIVES:

Can 4 days or more change your life, or at least in your approach to your studio practice? Yes! Give us a minimum of 4 days or a combination of time and we will give you back-to-back instructions in your choice of two or three intensive classes. This is a wonderful opportunity to gain confidence and new skills. Customize your own experience by choosing to enroll in any combination of three classes at reduced rates.

Take 3 or more classes and get 10% off.

June Sequence:

Portraits with Carolina Zanelli • 6/1-6/5 • $700

Monochromatic with Toyoharu Kii 6/8-6/12 • $675

Design Fundamentals with Sue Giannotti 6/10-6/12 • $400

Undulation with Sue Giannotti 6/13-6/14 • $325

Smalti Dimensions with Sue Giannotti 6/15-6/18 • $495

Large Scale Mosaics with Gary Drostle 6/22-6/26 • $725

July Sequence:

Direct Method • 7/6-7/8 • $425

Drawing Fundamentals • 7/9-7/10 • $230

Ravenna Technique • 7/11-7/15 • $525

Mosaic as an Expressive Art Form with Dugald MacInnes • 7/17-7/21 • $900

Mosaic as an Expressive Art Form II with Dugald MacInnes • 7/23-7/27 • $900

Hammer & Hardie • 7/30-7/31 • $225

August Sequence:

Clay in Mosaic with Karen Ami • 8/9-8/11 • $325 Texture • 8/12-8/15 • $425

email us at to register or for more details

OPUS PLEIADES opens at GoCM 1/15/2016

January 2, 2016

Opus refers to any artistic work, especially one on a large scale. Pleiades is Greek and in astronomy The Pleiades or Seven Sisters is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus.

Opus Pleiades describes this exhibition perfectly as it embodies the community in which the seven artists create. These contemporary mosaic works, while classically driven, speak in the feminine voice.

Opus Pleiades (FB)

 Featuring the works of these 7 outstanding American women artists:

Sue Coombs

Martha Crandall

Carolynn Friedman

Sue Giannotti

Andryea Natkin

Angela Sanders

Casey Van Loon

GoCM “Made in Chicago” show opens at Wheaton College

“Made in Chicago” travels from Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics (GoCM) to Wheaton College, Adams Hall – Walford Galleries, Wheaton, Illinois, January 8th – February 11th, 2016. Untitled 2The show features over 25 local artists affiliated with The Chicago Mosaic School.

Artists Reception: Thursday, January 14th 4:30 – 6:30

Happy New Year from CMS

December 30, 2015

1836636_941038312633133_523347317464911454_oHappy New Year from all of us at CMS. Here is our year end Newsletter...:)


CMS Artists Market Dec 12-13

November 30, 2015

12295359_924519890951642_4501192834960869892_nOur first ever ARTIST MARKET

featuring the unique and original work by many local artists and artisans!

Saturday and Sunday December 12th, 10am – 4pm

Some of the artists are:

Artery Ink – Greeting Cards and more
Sarah DeLuca/Oak Dresses – Fashions
Casey Van Loon – Mosaic Jewelry
Regina Lombardo – Ceramics
Catherine Kang – Mosaic Jewelry
Square One Soapworks – Soap
Richard Bitterman – Jewelry
T.J & Laura Marie – Photo Frames
Mary Lou Romano -Mosaic Jewelry
Doris Richardson – Ceramics


Made in Chicago Opens in September

August 19, 2015





Trained VS Self Taught Artists – a discussion

July 25, 2015

“Trained VS Self Taught Artists?” by Wasentha Young



Over the years as an artist – self taught and educated, I have had many discussions with colleagues about creativity and art finding that both self taught and educated artists speak poorly of each other. Where I find great value in receiving formal background from an art institute, there is also the “self” development that allows one to be free in creativity.

Now in a certificate program at The Chicago Mosaic School,  I am learning so much more about the history, use of proper tools, lines (andamento), and by definition – what is mosaic art – really. However when I speak to other people I know who are self taught, they seem to resent that I am getting a “formal” education in the art. It is like a fear comes up that “education” minimizes their experience – that they will no longer be respected for the understanding and creativity the exemplify. Likewise with those who have an educational background in art… they seem to feel like self-taught artists proclaim to know so much, that they in essence speak to minimize the many years classically trained artists have spent receiving an education. For me the environment of an art institution is very supportive and provides not only a comprehensive mentorship and learning of classical and contempory techniques, but provides rich conversations, focused study and networking. When it comes to “self”-expression this same environment can be gritty, but no less useful in advise and mentorship.

Sometimes I equate these two perspectives and their tension like the difference between classical and and jazz music. A classical musician may be able to play a jazz piece by reading the written music but will lack the spirit of the music and an untrained jazz musician can play music that will “hurt you” (an outcry we say when the music moves us deeply) but not be able to read music and at times not successfully reach the desired notes, because s/he were unable to prepare him/her self sufficiently – which is something classical musicians learn.

In combining the classical training and deep self expression… to me, that can be ultimate in expressing myself creatively.

What are your thoughts about the friction between, experience and value of of both?

Posted by Wasentha Young.

Wasentha Young is a  2nd year CMS Certification student from Michigan and Director / Founder / Proprietor of The Peaceful Dragon School/Harmony of Energy Center in Ann Arbor.

Kids Summertime Mosaics at CMS!

This summer we are offering a series of youth classes for ages 8-14! Each weeklong class is intended to introduce young beginners to mosaic tools, materials, and techniques!

The next session is August 17th-21st from 10:00-1:00 pm- register here !IMG_7660

Summertime Mosaic Class covers cutting, adhesives, substrates, design/layout, and grouting. Students will create one piece a day while learning about traditional mosaic arts and contemporary examples. There will be short walking fieldtrips to local mosaic installations, such as the nearby Irving Park El station and a completed CMS project at Lakeview High School. All materials, supplies and tools are provided. This class will provide students with an opportunity to explore a beautiful and ancient art form and create their own original pieces to take home.


Gary Drostle Returns to CMS September 2015

June 7, 2015

We are excited to announce British artist Gary Drostle will be returning to Chicago (due to popular demand!) to give his “Large Scale Mosaics” Workshop at CMS September 9-13, 2015.  In this exclusive 5-day workshop, students will have the opportunity to learn about the process of creating large scale mosaic projects.

Artist Gary Drostle has been creating large scale mosaics using the paper faced reverse technique for over twenty five years, undertaking major commissions across the UK and in the USA, Canada and South America. His work has won numerous awards including the National Tile Contractors Association (USA) award for best mosaic in 2011 and the SAMA MAI Best in Show award 2013.

Click here to register:

IMG_7139 IMG_7122 (1)



Apocalyptic Alphabet opens Friday, May 1st at GoCM

April 25, 2015

The Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics at The Chicago Mosaic School invites you to a special exhibition of works on paper & mosaics by Australian artist Pamela Irving.

Pamela Irving’s “Apocalyptic Alphabet” fuses nonsense and humour. Her use of objects and shards, which have their own intrinsic value, combine to give the common alphabet new, quirky meanings. Irving’s assemblages, prints and mosaics are inspired by the mosaics at Torcello, Venice; The Baptistery Mosaics in Florence and the work of Milanese artist Enricho Baj all fused with Irving’s own virulent imagination. This is Pamela Irving’s first exhibition in the USA. Irving is thrilled with her association with the Chicago Mosaic School and the level of education offered at CMS.

Pamela Irving Show (flyer)

SOAMA Tiny Pieces Mosaic Supply