Cyprus Mosaic Days ~ day three

I was promised mosaics, and I got them in abundance during days three and four of the Cypriot study trip.  The Wednesday was all about the group making their own mosaics to take home, and so learning the dark arts of cutting tile, spacial awareness and sticking.

But first off, a quick visit to the local silversmiths just next door to the Student House.

There were two older men, casting beautiful silver pieces, many of them inspired by the history and flora & fauna of the area, including acorns (as the village of Kato Drys is named for the ancient Greek for oak – though few trees survive there today) and fertility symbols (see the last post about the museum).  As we found elsewhere, their grown-up children didn’t want to follow in their footsteps, but one of our group, Kirsty, did and hopes to have the chance to return and learn from them!

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One of the Silversmiths
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Martin Clark, taking a break

We then moved across to the student house, a charming house with an inner courtyard.  As I already know mosaics, Panayiota left me to my own devices to make a mosaic on mesh for the brick oven that we were making. I let her teach the class, though couldn’t resist assisting her when needed.

Panayiota has been making mosaics for the last few years, using mostly glass tile, but is very accomplished.  I hope I showed a new way of working and cutting to increase her skill set!  Love two-way sharing of info & skills!

I worked away on the fibreglass mesh which came from the back of the tiles, and used a box of ceramics which had come from Martin’s kitchen and his collection of coffee cups, searching out the special bits to include in my designs which in turn were inspired by our visit to the museum at Nicosia. The neolithic pots with zoomorphic designs.

So I finished with a goat, a cow, a fish and a couple of my usual flowers.

The others in the group made their own mosaics which were very diverse in colours and ambition.  Work – in – progress shots

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Having spent a lot longer than planned with the silversmiths, the grouting actually took place later in the week, but here are their finished mosaics

And a few of us finished off the day with a swim in the sea… way to go!

This visit to Cyprus has been funded by Erasmus+, with ARCH Network as the promoter and Kato Drys Community Council as our hosts.  We were welcomed by Martin Clark, a resident of the town, who is also a partner in Arch Network, and is a Director of Grampus Heritage and training.


My Cyprus Adventures ~ Day Two

Day two was all about Nicosia (Lefkosia), artefacts and the Turkish side…

We set off bright and early to the North town of Nicosia, which spans both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides of the country.  We travelled via the Kornos Coop Pottery, a women’s collective established many years ago to support a small community of women workers.  Now only two people are creating traditional pots, and they are looking to retirement.


The two women demonstrating the making process, sit on low stools and feed the clay onto the bases of the pots at such speed, it was most impressive.  I have posted a tiny film on my Facebook Page here (as I don’t have the facility to do it on my WordPress site).

We then headed to Nicosia, to the Cyprus Museum, which houses the Archaeological treasures in 14 galleries, including art pieces “from the 8th millennium bc to the end of Antiquity.”

And here I found mosaic inspiration in abundance.

The utilitarian pots had decorations on them that showed the domestication of animals including cattle and goats.  Three of the designs were interpreted in mosaic later in the week for the kiln (watch out for when I get that one written).

And I was drawn to the fertility symbols, and most certainly feel a mosaic sculpture coming in the future… maybe for next year’s New Hopetoun Gardens Art in the Garden exhibition!  They were flat figures, with breasts and/or arms, some had faces some with expressions on them…  Not that I need any fertility help myself, of course, so may need to find another reason to make them…

And the jewellry was also inspiring.  Throughout the visit, I was more drawn to the textures and use of decoration in all of the different items on show, maybe that is to do with the visual artist in me.

And finally, for my creative ceramacist friend Anna Olson, who has made gingerbread babies in clay for Christmas garlands, this piece caught my eye

Gingerbread Babies
in the archaological museum in Nicosia

We then headed into the town centre of Nicosia, via a traditional lace shop, and a leather supply shop.  The leather shop is a supplier for some of the fashion projects undertaken with the Green Village shop in Lefkara, and is such an traditional, old-style shop full of leather notions!

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Traditional skills of embroidery of Lefkara

Then it was passports out, and crossed the Green Line into the Turkish side.  I won’t go into the history of it all here, and it is certainly complicated!  There are sad stories of atrocities and also positive stories of neighbours of different origins helping each other, but complicated and still on-going.  Ironically, there is a Peace mosaic (and another impressive sculpture nearby) right beside the passport control.

With a tasty lunch in the Buyuk Han, an old caravanserai with a good restaurant, some craftspeople and touristy shops – I bought a turquoise pomegranite ceramic vase to go in my new kitchen – we then had a bit of time out to do our own thing.  I visited the Selimiye Mosque, which used to be a Catholic Cathedral until the Ottomans, and you can still see the building construction.  As always, surface decoration appeals.

And finally, graffiti … always love a bit of graffiti and personal expression it allows