I was first introduced to the beautiful Hacienda Mosaico, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2013. What a magical corner of the world. Upon my arrival at the colorful mosaic front gate I immediately felt at home. This walled garden hacienda with swimming pool and inviting common areas is artist owned and operated by Samantha (Sam) Leonard. Art abounds! The accommodations are magnificent and every room is uniquely decorated and dreamily comfortable. Meals are prepared poolside by a private chef who learned his skills at a Four Star resort restaurant ensuring that every meal is a treat.
As a long time arts educator I have taught classes in many different environments, from school rooms to church basements to picnic tables in public parks, but the studio space at the Hacienda is as close to perfect as it gets. Open air, great light, 24 hour access, large work tables and comfortable seating all make creating easy and joyful. Bougainvillea dancing down the stucco walls and lush gardens surrounding the studio space are a delight for all of the senses. The sound of splashing water from a fountain at the studio edge is refreshing and peaceful.
I am excited to be teaching there for a second time and in my January, 2014 workshop “Large Scale Mosaics, Architectural Installations and Home Enhancements.” Students will learn the process of designing, fabricating and installing large-scale permanent mosaics for exterior or interior architectural settings. This is a unique workshop in many ways. Large scale mosaic works are tricky to fabricate, and the success of an everlasting architectural work depends on proper construction. Artwork constructed with appropriate materials rated for the seasonal environment coupled with best practice installation methods will result in artwork that can live forever (think Romans). My goal is to send every student home with the confidence to install any mosaic artwork wherever their vision leads. Each student will create a personal mosaic to take back with them for installation at home.
As a huge advocate for community art the workshop will also cover considerations for large-scale works. This part of the workshop will be especially interesting to educators, art teachers and civic leaders who wish embark on a community based mosaic project. We cover everything from design planning, to working with volunteers, fundraising and onsite installation. As a component of my last Hacienda workshop the class helped install a special mosaic I created during our weeklong stay. This gift to the Hacienda is a stained glass work titled “Discover Mosaic,” everyone in the workshop had a hand in the installation process. Providing students with practical installation experience gave them the confidence to tackle their own works independently once they left paradise. And, we will add to the wall with a custom designed and fabricated mosaic in our next workshop.
Multi-day workshops are very special experiences and students are serious about their study. Students in the creative and safe environment of Hacienda Mosaico flourish and the learning is accelerated. People from all over the world attend workshops at the Hacienda and the bonds that are formed over the week are memorable. I am thrilled to be journeying there again, and the students already onboard for the workshop are peeking my interest; someone from Alaska, another from British Columbia, a Californian and two folks from my home of Washington, DC.
Hacienda Mosaico is located in a family friendly residential neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta. A quick and inexpensive taxi ride from the Hacienda gets you to the beaches and wonderful shopping, art galleries, restaurants and nightlife. Puerto Vallarta is a warmly inviting and gorgeous beach resort. However, truth be told, I spent most of my time enjoying the Hacienda property and the company of my students! This artful destination has it all; beauty, comfort, inspiration, education and creativity.
All Images Are © Bonnie Fitzgerald
Bonnie Fitzgerald Artist Bio
Bonnie Fitzgerald designs and fabricates architectural mosaics for a wide variety of clients. She is the founder of Maverick Mosaics, a working mosaic art studio and school in metropolitan Washington, DC. Over the past 15 years she has taught over 20 different art workshop topics to hundreds of students. She developed a program bringing world-renowned mosaic artists to the DC area to teach master classes. Bonnie has taught workshops in many exotic locations including France, Mexico and art centers throughout the United States. Mentoring students and creating art are interdependent pursuits that shape Fitzgerald’s artistic voice every day. She is also the author of 300+ Mosaic Tips, Techniques, Templates and Trade Secrets (Trafalgar Square, 2012), and her second book What Every Mosaic Artist Wants to Know is scheduled for publication in late 2014.
Blog / Website: Maverick Mosaics