CMS Student Sue Klein Tells Us About Her Modern Portraiture Workshop with Carolina Zanelli

January 9, 2018

How/when did you originally find CMS, and what keeps bringing you back?

The Chicago Mosaic School came into focus while taking a taking a local pottery workshop. 

My family then presented me a CMS gift certificate which I applied to a jewelry workshop and my first Smalti Weekend class back in 2010. I was hooked!

Since that time I have taken nearly every workshop available and am attempting to complete the Certification Program. My goals is not necessarily to be proficient enough to teach — my goal has been to concentrate on an art form that brings joy in my retirement from graphic design, to use my hands, not technology, to create attractive pieces, to assist and share what I can with others, and to become acquainted with like-minded artistic people.


How have the classes and workshops you’ve taken informed your practice?

Last January I took Carolina Zanelli’s Portrait Workshop—what an eye-opening experience!
This was the first time I was introduced to a method of replicating a portrait by matching the tonal properties of a photo placed below a transparent acetate overlay, then transferring it to a permanent base. It was liberating to use large pieces of full-depth Smalti, in unusual shapes—the modern Spilimbergo method, that I have come to appreciate. Carolina was gentle, soft-spoken, very approachable, and spent equal time with each student. Gripping the hammer close to the head, I watched as she fine-chiseled tesserae until it was the perfect fit—a skill I have taken away and used since.


What do you look forward to in your future learnings at CMS?

I have found great value in every workshop and am learning that they build on each other. I’m proud of the pieces I have produced in each workshop, but have yet to find a style of my own. This year I plan to commit more time to working at home in order to progress. The support of the friends I have made and the CMS Staff have kept me coming back. CMS is very fortunate to host accomplished artists from around the world, each with their own unique approach and mosaic techniques.

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