Delft, says mosaic artist Sara Baldwin, is shorthand for blue and white.
“It’s the tradition that every porcelain has in its heritage,” the founder and creative director of New Ravenna Mosaics says. She’s created five new mosaics depicting floral, 17th century French Chinoiserie and classical Roman pineapple border designs. And she’s just getting started.
“It’s a collection we’ll be adding to,” she says. “My synopsis is that it’s a taste of things to come.”
The patterns she’s created are influenced by the Silk Road and the Dutch Deltfware, itself inspired by Chinese porcelain brought to the Netherlands by the United Dutch East India Company in 1620. To emulate the crisp and vibrant color combinations, Dutch potters covered their earthenware in a white tin glaze and used cobalt, a metal oxide pigment, for decorative motifs of daily life.
“There’s an interesting intermingling of cultures in porcelain,” she says. “There are different cultural influences like Turkish, Chinese, Persian, Dutch and English – and Portugal does a lot of blue and white tile.”
She was inspired personally by childhood summers spent in Nova Scotia at the Ardnamurchan Club, established by Admiral Richard E. Byrd for his daughters, and a cool retreat from warm days on the east coast. Her mother bought an entire set of English china there and shipped it home.
“This wasn’t a wealthy family, but we ate off of some of the most beautiful china at night,” she says.
Baldwin’s new collection is meant for use in kitchen backsplashes where the Chinoiserie design can spread out with a number of branches. It’s about the use of negative space, in the Japanese and Chinese traditions. “You could have something beautiful and elegant, with white cabinets up top and dark cabinets below, then a white marble countertop, and use it around a sink or window,” she says.
Or it could be inlaid in a wall of cream-colored stone, used on stair risers, on a shower wall. The tumbled sea glass finish could even be used on the floor of the bath.
Wherever it’s used, it’s an evolving collection, in glass and stone.
“It’s just the beginning of something,” she says. “Maybe out clients will help us flesh it out – it will resonate with certain groups because of the tradition.”
So it’s destined for collaboration, too.
For more information, go to www.newravenna.com.