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Inspiration comes one piece at a time for Los Altos mosaic artist

11.27.2013 AngelaSanderson MosaicArtist-2506
Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Angela Sanders pieces together precious stones and tiles into detailed works of art in her home studio.  Her work is currently on display at the Nature Gallery in Los Altos.

Angela Sanders balances a block of precious stone on the edge of a sharp, chiseled wedge of metal. With one swing of her hammer, she creates a clean break in the material. After several hits, she yields uniform squares smaller than the width of her pinky finger. To create artistic masterpieces in glass and stone, Sanders has learned to overcome fear in more than one way.

“Nothing is so precious that you should be afraid of it,” said Sanders of the 24-karat gold-coated glass and rare stone she frequently uses in her colorful creations. “You can’t be afraid to change your vision.”

An engineer and dedicated mother of two, Sanders did not always have time to pursue artistic endeavors. When her children matured into young adults, she found time to paint and make prints in her home studio in Los Altos Hills. But it wasn’t until she visited her ancestral home in Hull, England, that her interest in fine-art mosaics emerged. Finding inspiration in the Romano-British mosaics unearthed from local fields on display at the Hull and East Riding Museum, Sanders began her journey into the medium in 2005.

Piecing a passion together

With an eye toward detail, training from the San Francisco Art Institute and a certificate in Chinese painting, Sanders found an intrinsic fit working in mosaics.

“Mosaics create their own language,” she said. “I try to make (the mosaics) into a story that is interesting and intriguing.”

Sanders found training and mentorship through the Chicago Mosaic School, the first in the Americas.

She works with the materials to tell a story. Beginning with sketches on paper, her creations layer elements of texture and contrast into modern art. Her work decorates the canvas of pool decks and homes, as well as walls and floors.

In one of her most recent pieces, “The Fire,” on display at Nature Gallery at 296 State St., she drew inspiration from personal memory and Mother Nature. The approximately 12- inch-by-15-inch creation, anchored by a piece of petrified wood and surrounded by warm red, orange and yellow hues of cut and chipped glass and stone, evolved from last summer’s 250,000-acre wildfire at Yosemite National Park. The work reflects Sanders fascination with Mother Nature’s need for destruction to bring about new growth and her personal memory of getting married at Yosemite.

Focused on completing her piece, Sanders spent 12-15 hours a day working on the piece for nearly two months.

When Carol Garsten of Nature Gallery saw the piece, she invited Sanders to display a selection of her work at the shop. The artwork on display is priced from $1,800 to $6,000. Sanders also creates customized mosaic work on commission.

For more information, visit angelaturnersanders.com.

Mosaic artist Angela Sanders - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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