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Baobab Tree Mosaics – Sunday Artist Interview

Over the next coming Sundays I shall be posting my own artist interviews with some of my favourite people who reside in this multitalented world of art… Today we have the the wonderful Yvette Green to answer a few questions… over to you Yvette!

First of all, who are you?

Hi, I’m Yvette Green. I am a glass mosaic artist, living in Cirencester in Gloucestershire. I originally completed a Botany degree in my home country of South Africa, before coming to the UK to teach Science. I gave the teaching up after my son was born with kidney failure which took up most of my time. I had taken mosaics up at an evening class as a hobby, and eventually as my son’s health stabilised a bit after a transplant it developed into a full time occupation.

I am now Baobab Tree Mosaics, and love the flexibility I get from doing my own thing. I started out in traditional mosaics, and still make quite a few of these, but I seemed to gravitate towards making mosaics on transparent bases such as glass or acrylic. Now I mainly make glass pieces for the garden because I love the way that the light speaks to you when it interacts with the glass. I do a number of shows every year with the Cotswold Craftsmen, and also exhibit in a number of garden exhibitions. As a sideline I also make some mosaic jewellery. I enjoy mixing it up a bit because I think it keeps me fresh. In the last year or two I have also taken on a large number or workshops at a variety of arts centres. 

All in all, it keeps me busy, or out of trouble as I like to say. The family is very understanding at the times of year, especially in the Spring when it all goes a bit mad. Family being my son, now 16 and just finished his GCSE’s, a husband and two cheeky cats.

I mosaicked one of the large hares for the Cirencester March Hare Festival in 2014 and the Cotswold Hare Festival in 2017. I am a member of the Cotswold Craftsmen, and also a member of the British Association of Modern Mosaic.

When you were asked (all those years ago!), “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  What did you answer?

At age 6 I wanted to be an archaeologist and dig up dinosaurs, then as I grew older I wanted to be a botanist and save the rainforests. Life sort of side tracked me on the way, but I am loving what I do now. 

What is the funniest thing as an artist that has ever happened to you?

I do remember sitting at a large fair once, and listening to a member of the public carefully explaining to her friend that this work was glass mosaic, which was basically stained glass for beginners. I just had to chuckle.

What is the hardest part of being creative?

Two things mainly, Focus, which is always a problem. I find I was much more focussed doing science. Now, even when trying to finish a commission my silly flitty brain keeps on coming up with other things to try. 

That and the inevitable self doubt. I always look around at other mosaic artists and think they are way better than me. That’s where the online creative community are so wonderful and supportive, so that some days you come away thinking, ‘Well I am good at this!’

My studio mate, Jo, at Muddle House Mosaics is also brilliant to bounce ideas off and will give me great feedback if I am stuck on a project or just generally need a kick up the ass.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Just keep going, keep working, keep trying ideas out. Look at the works of others, but don’tget obsessed or worried that you are not as good as them, or that you wish you could do what they do. Be experimental, play, try out those daft ideas, and find your own path. 

What subjects inspire you?

Nature, always nature. Having done a Botany degree I am obsessed with plants, and particularly tropical plants and flowers. Funnily enough, as I was never much of a birder, I find that birds inspire me very much at the moment. I am also becoming slightly obsessed with insects, and can feel something coming on…

I am also tremendously inspired by colour. I love bright colours, and I know it sounds silly, but colour blends make me very happy.

I also love the great outdoors. The Lake District is one of my favourite places, and I love going there to recharge. I am still wrestling with how to capture some of that beauty in a glass mosaic.

Who are the 3 greatest living artists in your opinion? (they don’t have to be famous!)

So hard, as I am inspired by so many of the people I work with and who are also members of the Cotswold Craftsmen. One of my favourite local artists is Tom Gowan, @tomgowan.art.  I have a few of his pieces and lust after them constantly online. I love his blues, and the way he uses light and texture in his paintings. 

Looking at more famous individuals, I love the work of Andy Goldsworthy. His natural installations and creations blow my mind, and the way he used light to emphasize them is fantastic. I think the work he does is like magic, or conjurings…

Another favourite is Anthony Gormley. I love the loneliness of his figures and the way they sit in their environment

Who are the 3 greatest dead artists in your opinion?

Edward Hopper, once again is it all about the light for me.

Vincent Van Gogh. I recently visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and was just astonished at the colour in his work in real life. I took the most marvellous quote from the recordings of one of his letters to his brother. ‘If you do blue, then do yellow and orange as well.’ I think I might make that one my motto.

Looking back a few years further, Leonardo Da Vinci. I recently saw some of his works in Bristol, and was blown away by their detail and accuracy. A perfect blend of art and science.

What is your favourite work of art you have ever produced?

Swept away.

I still don’t know where some of the ideas come from, but this one came in a rush. I loved the colour blending in this piece and also the movement. This photo was after it was exhibited at Chedworth Roman Villa, and the morning I went to collect it, the light was magical. There was dew all over the back of the pieces, so it made them glow.

What was the last piece of art you sold?

Red shift. This piece was exhibited at Showborough gardens this year. I had originally planned a piece involving owls, and stuck with that for about 3 months. I then woke up one morning in early January and thought, no that’s rubbish, you need something more contemporary. It was looking that my colour footprint pattern on Instagram, you know the ones with all the coloured dots, that made me come up with this. I only made the one, but they sold it twice, so I am currently in the process of making a second.

And finally… Because this is really important….

What’s the best type of cheese?  (haha)

Mozzarella, I love it with tasty tomatoes, basil and olive oil. Or in the Winter, some Somerset brie and a nice big glass of red wine.

www.baobabtreemosaics.co.uk

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www.cotswoldcraftsmen.co.uk

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