Mosaics & Mimosas: An Interview With Cathryn Atkinson

The Wind Festival for the Arts is just around the corner, can you believe it? We are super excited to bring you a weekend chock-full of amazing activities like an open-air artisan market, kid's workshops, and even axe throwing!

But this year we have one REALLY excited workshop happening that's not only unique, but sure to get you and your gal pals ready for a great weekend. It's Mosaics & Mimosas of course!

Hosted in the Squamish Arts Council building during the Wind Festival on July 28th, this workshop is all about learning the ins and outs of mosaic design and sipping mimosas while you do it.

It's run by amazing local mosaic artist Cathryn Atkinson, who we sat down with to get you the scoop and this great workshop:

What about mosaics interests you?

I love the history, the skill, and the beauty of it. Mosaic is a slow art form that has been around for thousands of years, and we can still see examples that are 3,000 years old. Today, there are so amazing artists doing exciting work, mostly in Europe, but it is growing in North America. I love the vibrancy of the colours and the durability of mosaic -- I've travelled all over the world to see them.

How hard is it for someone to pick up making mosaics for themselves?

There are a lot of different mosaic-making techniques -- too many to describe here -- and you learn the one that suits you best. In terms of making a basic mosaic tabletop out of broken tiles, for example, it's simple. But if you want to pick up the "Ravenna method" which was used during the Byzantine era and which I studied in Italy, it is a lot more complex. That style was used to create the mosaics you see in the ceilings of old European cathedrals.

I am running workshops from home this summer which will give people the basics and they will be surprised at how much they will be able to do for themselves. The main skill will be learning how to cut and how to design the picture they want to create with tesserae (the name for mosaic pieces). My workshop is a taste of that.

What will the workshop be like? Give us a sneak peek!

Each person will start with their own pre-made concrete stepping stone. I will provide the tiles and stone we are using, some pieces will be cut already, but participants will also have the chance to learn how to cut tiles, too. 

I am teaching a design I created as a tribute to the Squamish winds we all know so much about. It is a pine tree on a clifftop overlooking Howe Sound, with wind patterns flying overheard. It's simple, but I think it will look good. 

Please note: It will be a stepping stone to look at, not walk on, mainly because of the materials we are using. But the skills taught will allow people to create their own stepping stones for paths.

How much do you love mimosas though? 

A classy breakfast tipple! Second only to coffee (with Baileys!) I am especially happy about the orange juice for a healthy start to the day!

What does the Wind Festival mean to you?

The Wind Festival is a wonderful community event. Squamish is the "Mother of the Wind" in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language, and I love how the festival both pays tribute to the sweeping winds that cross the valley and also gives us an excuse to have fun!

The Mosaics & Mimosas workshop is now SOLD OUT, but keep an eye on our Facebook page for any spots that might open up. Want to see what else we have in store at Wind Festival? Check out our updated Schedule page for more info.