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Aboriginal Art Mosaic Shower

Aboriginal Art Mosaic Shower

Aboriginal Art Mosaic Shower

West Hartford, Connecticut

The client Sara Knight standing in front of a Wandjina, a generic term for a group of ancestral beings in the Kimberley area who the Aboriginal people believed controlled the elements, bringing rains to the land and fertility to the people. Wandjina would be described as mahi-mahi, which means special, pure and sacred among the spirit beings of folklore.  The radiating lines indicate lightning, which the Wandjina controls.

Designer, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Cathleen Newsham

Mosaic Artists:  Beth Klingher, Richard Youngstrom, John Mansfield

Mosaic Installers:   John Pope, John Mansfield

Client:  Sara Knight

Contractor:  Patriot Builders

Sara Knight, a private homeowner and world traveler living in West Hartford Connecticut, contacted Modern Mosaic Arts in 2020 about creating a shower mosaic inspired by her travels in the Kimberly region of western Australia.  She and her husband spent many years exploring caves in the region that were adorned with Aboriginal paintings (or petroglyphs) that were thousands of years old.   After reading and studying Sara’s books on the subject, Cathleen began designing her modern and colorful take on the 4,000 year old drawings.  The final product is a masterful mosaic that brings history and art to life.  To see the rock art inspiration for the mosaics visit Rock Art Australia’s website.

The Design Process

The process began by taking measurements and photos of the existing shower, which had not been renovated since the 1970’s.  Seeing the possibilites to tie the mosaic shower in with other architectural elements in the bathroom, an custom made window cornice and built-in medicine cabinet were the perfect design elements.

Resource Material

With client supplied books and printed art, Cathleen also began extensive research online and found a weatlth of information about Aboriginal art including a website that explains the meaning of the rock art symbols and ghostly figures.

Designing the Mosaic

Taking ideas from several different caves and experiementing with placement of the various design elements, Cathleen quickly determined that she needed to add more color and pattern to the overall design.  

Custom architectural and fine art mosaics for residential and commercial clients.

Serving New York, Connecticut, New Jersey. Worldwide shipping.
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Pebble & Glass Tile Mosaic Shower

Pebble & Glass Tile Mosaic Shower

Pebble Mosaic Spa Shower

Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

Designer, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Cathleen Newsham

Client:  Jill & Philip Lawrence

The master bathroom shower in a beautiful home in Mt. Kisco, New York. Created with white pebbles and glass tiles, Newsham designed, fabricated and installed this shower mosaic by adhering the tile to mesh with thin-set, then transporting to the home in small sections for installation.   Creating texture with various shapes and sizes of pebbles, Newsham created a serene and unique space with a minimal palette and flowing andamento.  Circular bursts of tile surround the shower to create a sense of whimsy for these unique clients.

Mosaic Details

The Design Process

Custom architectural and fine art mosaics for residential and commercial clients.

Serving New York, Connecticut, New Jersey. Worldwide shipping.
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Sacred Heart University Chapel Baptismal Font

Sacred Heart University Chapel Baptismal Font

Sacred Heart University Chapel Baptismal Font

Fairfield, Connecticut

Creative Director, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Cathleen Newsham

Client: Sacred Heart University, Fairfield CT

Sacred Heart University’s Campus Chapel of the Holy Spirit is a stunning work of contemporary architecture, designed by the award-winning international architecture firm of Sasaki Associates.  Occupying a prominent position on the campus quadrangle, it’s massive bells toll the hours and call the community to prayerfulness throughout the day.  The Chapel’s main worship space holds a treasury of dazzling mosaics created by the famed Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, who has created mosaics at the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in Vatican City, St. Hugo Church in Rome, and many other holy sites throughout Europe, Russia, Syria, and Slovenia.  Fairfield County Connecticut is fortunate to have two Father Rupnik masterpieces; the Sacred Heart University Chapel and The Knights of Colombus’ Headquarters Chapel in New Haven.

Asked by the university to complete a baptismal font mosaic that would highlight the chapel entryway, Modern Mosaic Arts created a stunning golden waterfall of smalti tile surrounding the image of the Holy Spirit; a single white dove.  Complementing the mosaics of Father Rupnik, the font was designed, fabricated and installed by Cathleen Newsham, owner of Modern Mosaic Arts.

Sacred Heart University’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit’s main chapel mosaics by Father Marko Ivan Rupnik

The Design Process

For many years the baptismal font stood in the chapel entryway awaiting the finishing touch of a mosaic insert.  Once hired for the project, Modern Mosaic Arts began the design process by creating templates of the areas where the mosaic would be applied.  Wanting to create an image that would reflect the name of the chapel, a single white dove was decided to be the focal point of the basin; the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

Choosing the tiles, then reversing the image, Newsham began the fabrication process st her studio in the reverse indirect method.  Adhering the tiles face down to the paper templates, the dove and golden water falls radiating from the bird began to form.

Installing the mosaics onto the font was the next step, placing the mosaics template side up into a bed of waterproof thin-set.  After allowing the thin-set to dry, the template paper was removed by wetting the paper.

The final step was grouting the mosaics with a cream colored mixture that Newsham chose to match the color of the granite stone surrounding the mosaic.

Custom architectural and fine art mosaics for residential and commercial clients.

Serving New York, Connecticut, New Jersey. Worldwide shipping.
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Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital

NYU Langone, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital Mosaics

New York, N.Y.

One of Modern Mosaic Arts most exciting projects was fabricating and installing five mosaic murals for the beautiful new NYU Langone, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital Pavilion.  A state of the art facility located in Manhattan at the corner of 34th & 1st Ave, the hospital was designed with the needs of children and families in mind.  The pediatric specialists provide the most advanced inpatient and outpatient care for children who have rare and complex conditions, as well as more common childhood illnesses.  For more information about this incredible new facility, click HERE.

Creative Director, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Cathleen Newsham

Lead Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Jonathan Schreyer

Mosaic Artist:  Liadain Clancy

Mosaic Artsist:  Jasmine Jacobs

Installer:  Greg Hare

Client:  Dimensional Communications, Inc.

Contractor:  Turner Construction Company

Architects:  Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnerships

The ground floor lobby, which can be accessed on 34th street, welcomes patients and families with a replica of Lady Liberty made entirely of LEGO bricks.  The statue originally was created for the Toys R Us location at Times Square, but was purchased by the hospital when the store closed.  Surrounded by a bench in the shape of a star, Modern Mosaic Arts was commissioned to make a mosaic to cover the bench face.  Using Italian smalti, the artists created and installed a mosaic that replicates the look of the legos and complements the colors of the statue and upholstery.
In addition to the star bench mosaic, Modern Mosaic Arts was also asked to cover the face of a 60 foot long bench in a playful wave design that curves behind the Statue of Liberty.  Fabricating the mosaic of Italian smalti tile, the entire lobby pays tribute to the most recognized symbol or New York city while providing plenty of seating area for patients and families.
The elevator bank in the 7th floor lobby is surrounded by a custom built facade replicating New York City’s famed Grand Central Station, the hub of subway transportation that links Manhattan and the four outer boroughs.  Created by the talented carpenters at Dimensional Communications, the structure’s upper frieze is an 80 foot long mosaic of subway tracks that glistens with thousands of tiny glass tiles, each hand set by Modern Mosaic’s artists.
Anyone who has visited Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan will recognize the replica of the famed Prometheus sculpture behind the 7th floor reception desk.   Sculpted by the talented artist Hilda Borem, the golden figure floats gracefully over a mosaic background that features the signature greenery of the plaza area, and sparkles with flecks of gold smalti.
The 7th floor reading nook is designed to give patients and their siblings a private play area.  Modern Mosaic Arts created a charming mosaic that fits perfectly into the arched nook under the stairwell, and depicts a subway platform complete with characters awaiting their trains.

Custom architectural and fine art mosaics for residential and commercial clients.

Serving New York, Connecticut, New Jersey. Worldwide shipping.
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“Jacqueline” Picasso Wall Art

“Jacqueline” Picasso Wall Art

“Jacqueline” Picasso Wall Art

Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

This mosaic posed an interesting challenge to the design team at Modern Mosaic Arts.The original Picasso platter had broken into numerous pieces (we break a lot of pottery at MMArts, but not this one!). The collector wanted to salvage the pieces and came to us for help. How do you interpret a genuine Picasso so its original beauty can be appreciated, but looked at in a different way?  After reviewing numerous Picasso paintings, the designers noticed many of the figures were very rounded. Using the rim from the broken platter, arms were created to mimic these rounded figures. Adding their own flavor, the designers chose elements such as brightly colored pottery, rusted keys and sun-bleached shells to enhance the restructured form. We hope Picasso would have approved.

Design Process

Custom architectural and fine art mosaics for residential and commercial clients.

Serving New York, Connecticut, New Jersey. Worldwide shipping.
Back To Main Portfolio Page