1302 News from Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art

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February 2013  

Wow the new year has gone off with a bang!  New workshops, new students as well as returning ones, this year is going to be great.  

     As more and more people are coming to SBSMA and creating mosaic art, we are seeing how the students’ eye for art grows.  It is good to see that a student wants to learn the elements of art, such as balance, composition, contrasts in color, shading, gradation and more. 

     In a Beginner workshop students learn about the tools, tesserae (tile), fittings, adhesives and grout, then they have the confidence to move on to more advanced skills like listed above.

     The Table top and Garden sphere/Boulder workshop are great ways to advance those skills and create beautiful and functional art.

    The visiting artists here at SBSMA are great resources for learning these and even more advanced skills.  Having them here on the west coast is also a great advantage since most travel from at least 1000 miles or more to be here.

     If you have thought about advancing your mosaic skills and want to learn from some of the best teachers around the world this is your chance.  Check out the bios of the artists listed below or click here for

SBSMA schedule page




  • Everything Color with Erin Pankratz-Smith, learn how to use color in shading, blocking and gradation
  • Mixed Media with Laurie Mika, learn to work with Polymer
    clay while creating a colorful and unique triptych piece
  • Realistic Mosaic Art in Stained Glass with Professional Artistic Techniques with Carol Shelkin, learn to use stained glass in a portrait or image using shading and tones. 
  • Pebble Mosaics with Deb Aldo, learn how to work with different size river rocks in creating a spiral or mandala.

All these workshops and more can be found at  www.santabarbaraschoolofmosaicsart.com



 “Wide-awake I can make my most fantastic dreams come true.”

~Lorentz Hart  



Schedule for upcoming workshops 

Workshop                                  Instructor               Date                               Fee

Table Top                                                     Tami Macala                Feb. 16                      $185+base
Mexican Smalti                                        Betsy Gallery                Feb. 23-24              $210+$50 mat.
Everything Color                                     Erin Pankratz-Smith Mar. 9-10             $250+$30 mat.
Mixed Media                                             Laurie Mika                Mar. 23-24              $295+$20 mat.
Glass Mosaic Portraits or Images
                                                                           Carol Shelkin             Apr. 6-7                    $395 inc. mat.
Table Top                                                      Tami Macala             Apr.27-28               $185+base
Stained Glass mosaics in”A” day   Tami Macala              May 11                       $175
Pebble rock mosaics                               Deb Aldo                      June 6-7                   $300+$30mat.
Garden sphere/Boulder                      Tami Macala              June 29-30             $195+$40mat.




Betsy Gallery 

Betsy Gallery studied classical mosaic making in Ravenna and Venice, Italy, and modern mosaic techniques in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Her large mosaic murals are found throughout Santa Barbara. Her work is in collections from Madrid, Spain to Taipei, Taiwan. Betsy has published articles in The Groutline, the publication of SAMA (the Society of American Mosaic Artists), and has been the subject of interviews in the press and T.V.

Betsy has lived in West Africa, Spain and Costa Rica, picking up inspiration for her work from these cultures. Her current project is creating mosaics from children’s designs from Santa Barbara and East Cameroun, West Africa.

Betsy Gallery’s Mexican Smalti



Laurie Mika

Laurie Mika is a mixed-media artist with a passion for combining and overlapping a variety of mediums creating an original style of mixed-media mosaics using handmade polymer clay tile. Laurie’s background in painting is evident in her mixed-media works influenced by medieval and Renaissance art. The gilded devotional panels of the past become secular icons imbued with personal narratives. Art and folk traditions referenced in her work derive from her travels and experiences of living abroad, (East Africa). The highly embellished surfaces, including segments of text, form sumptuous tapestries of traditional and modern materials. Like a modern-day alchemist tinkering with the ancient art of mosaics, Laurie finds magic in combining disparate elements. Laurie shares her distinct style teaching at national and internationally recognized art retreats like

ArtFest, Art Unraveled, Art and Soul and Raevn’s Nest.

 She recently taught a workshop in Reims, France. Laurie is often on the move also teaching at venues across the States. Closer to home, Laurie participates in juried shows, teaches workshops and has her work in local galleries.


Laurie Mika’s Mixed Media


Erin Pankratz-Smith


As a multi-disciplined artist, Erin Pankratz-Smith has spent nearly a decade developing her skills and creating a supportive community of colleagues. With a background in dance, following training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Erin went on to study at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Carving a new path in the visual arts, she established her own mosaic tile business supplying both education and materials to artists across North America.

Born in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Parnkratz-Smith has spent most of her life residing in northwestern Canada. Now married, with three children, Erin admits she has always been a highly visual individual, and sees mosaic as her current medium of expression. She considers art a practice that intersects every aspect of our existence, as a way of articulating the subjective human voice. Therefore, she expects that her art will continuously evolve, in both composition and subject.


Her most recent work “Everything Flows, Nothing Stands Still” celebrates the effect of color and the seasons, in particular the ever-present landscape of the North Saskatchewan River, which both bisects and connects the city of Edmonton. The juxtapositions of urban and rural, texture and atmosphere; all contribute to a dynamic interpretation of cultural and geographic diversity.



Erin Pankratz-Smith’s Everything Color     



Carol Shelkin  

Carol Shelkin is a mosaic artist who creates fine art pieces for galleries,

homes, architectural and public settings internationally. It was made clear at a young age that Carol’s life would be centered upon her passion for creating and teaching art. Carol continued her studies at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Fleisher Art Memorial, and Philadelphia College of Art. She eventually opened an arts-nursery school/child care where she works today. Along with her school, Carol has been teaching a variety of art mediums to adults worldwide. Gathering community and making art is a special passion and she has worked with up to 600 students at one time to complete a public mosaic.

Carol, having a successful career in painting and pottery, has been accepting commissions with mosaic work as well as being invited to show her work worldwide. She has won many honors and awards including works at Ciel Gallery, N.C. with Maestro Giulio Menossi, Italy, honoring her mosaic. Her mosaic portrait, In A Village has been displayed at The Museum of Man, San Diego during Mosaic Arts International 2009 after one year of mosaic experience. She was invited to display another portrait Fabulous Hair during Mosaic Arts International 2010 at Smith Museum of Stained Glass, Chicago, Ill., and was honored again to have another portrait on exhibition at Mosaic Arts International 2011 in Austin, Texas.

The dominant influence on Carol’s work would be the simple joy of living. She is a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists, British Association of Mosaic Artists, Philadelphia Magic Gardens, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia Art Museum and a Juried member of The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.



Tami’s Latest Commission 

This piece was commissioned by a man wanting to have a scene representing the hills of Jerusalem that looked up to the “old temple”.  The river that runs through the hills represents the water which ends at a faucet that is used to wash hands while saying a prayer when entering the home.  
The materials used for this piece are Italian smalti, stone, marble and gold smalti.  It’s substrates are 1/4″ hardie backer screwed to 3/4″ marine board and mounted with french cleats.   It measures 5’x3′.


temple mosaic  


Student Works

Koi fish boulder in process
                                               Garden Sphere in process
Tile lizard on boulder


LAB is a great way to work on all your mosaic projects. For $20/hour you have access to the SBSMA studio, all adhesives, grout, tools and my guidance as well as not worrying about making or cleaning up your mess.
Email for more details or to reserve a time.

Private Lessons

If you would like to learn mosaic art but do not have the time or weekend availability now for $45/hour you can book a minimum of two hours with Tami privately to have the full undivided attention with access to the studio tools, adhesives and grout. 

SBSMA Birthday Parties

Have your next child’s birthday party at SBSMA.  Any age, up to 12 kids.  Rates based on time and materials.  Call or email for more info. 

Gift Certificates 

Gift certificates are now available.  Any size amount towards classes, kits, tiles or other supplies.  What a great holiday or birthday gift.


 LAB punch card  

SBSMA LAB punch card.  For every 10 hours of LAB time you get the 11th hour free.  Students are loving their punch cards and getting their free hours. 


SBSMA Supply Store

 SBSMA has all your mosaic art supply needs. More new colors added to the tile collection as well as stained glass, Italian Smalti and Vitreous glass. There are new tools stocked up as well as nippers, files, adhesives and grouts.  Just added are Leponitt brand mosaic wheel nippers for $28.95. 



Tami Macala
Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art
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