New Ravenna, the Eastern Shore-based maker of stone, glass and tile mosaics, is looking back to its artisanal roots of 20 years ago.
And it’s doing that in a collaborative effort with artists from across the nation as well as its own homegrown artists.
They recently debuted the “Broad Street” collection of nine glass mosaics, named for the street in Exmore, Va. where the company is located.
“We wanted to show that this is where we started,” says Cean Irminger, the new creative director at New Ravenna. “We’re in a beautiful place and it creeps into our design, even with the guest artists.”
Kevin O’Brien’s signature design, “Weeping Willow”, is a textured, ombre expanse of branches and leaves in its mosaic form. Chincoteague Island artist Gail Miller’s “Black Pool” panel uses 28 glass colors to replicate the hues of her own acrylic painting. And “Mod Palm” is the first tile mosaic by award-winning interior designer Joni Vanderslice.
The designs signify a shift from modern, water-jet and mechanically produced mosaics. “I think people are taking a turn away from slick water jet pieces with an industrial look, toward a handcrafted, artisanal feel,” she says. “You can have it made, frame it, use on wall as piece of art and see that human hands made it.”
Irminger’s own “The Glade” mosaic harkens back to the Art Deco era of the 1920s. “It stays in black and white and metal like New York’s Chrysler Building or the Empire State Building – it’s super glamorous and monochromatic,” she says. “It stays in that but we use lava stone in the leaves and some browns and mirror for the Art Deco – it moves when you move around.”
It’s got hard lines, but there are plenty of curves too. “It’s imagery that’s nature-based but that takes on the geometric side of nature,” she says. “I like recognizable figures in art, and I love the bold style and colors used.”
Surely, she’s in the right place for that.
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