I have always loved things which are made by the slow and deliberate accumulation of parts: the dry stone walls of Britain’s north, the densely embroidered panels on Bedouin dresses, patchwork quilts, market stalls and sentences that contain all that needs to be said. The result seems casual, organic and simple but the process is usually long and far from effortless. So it is with mosaics.
Having said that, I don’t suppose I would have started making mosaics if I hadn’t moved to Greece in 2001: I arrived with no Greek, small children and other passions which had nothing to do with my new country. Then, one day, I was sitting on the beach in Pelion running stones through my fingers as the children paddled and suddenly, so suddenly I sat bolt upright, I knew I wanted to make mosaics. It fitted perfectly with the things I love and the things I’d done – spending endless hours as a child in front of the fireplace in Perthshire piecing patchwork quilts and cheerfully and willingly helping my father repair the walls around our land while my siblings headed for the hills with books and fishing rods.
Here’s the beach where inspiration struck:
I returned to Thessaloniki determined to learn and soon started classes with a Greek master craftsman. Since then, I have always preferred to work with local stone and marble – it makes sense, it’s all around you here, there are streets lined with marble merchants, beaches with marble pebbles and you clamber over chunks of it on hill walks.
Mosaics are so much part of me that its hard to remember a life before I started making them but I was born in Glasgow in 1963, studied English at Oxford and then spent several years working in America before returning to the UK to take the Westminster Press Diploma in Journalism. I worked as a news and features journalist in Egypt where I met my husband, David. We have three boys and lived in Bahrain before moving to Thesaloniki in 2001, Athens in 2008 and back to the UK (Edinburgh) in 2016.
Here’s Farook, the dog, a crucial family member: