Local artist profile: Kirsten Asche
THIS week we speak to Bendigo and Castlemaine mosaic artist Kirsten Asche.
How and why did you get into mosaics?
My art journey began at the Canterbury school of Fine Arts in Christchurch, New Zealand. Later I fell in love with the artisan craft of mosaic whilst travelling and seeing many ancient mosaics in Italy and Spain.
My aesthetic appreciation and cultural awareness was raised; giving me the inspiration to move into this artform.
Mosaics have fascinated people for centuries and are both a functional form and a decorative art and are a collage of sorts made up of closely set, usually variously coloured, small pieces of material such as stone, glass, tile or shell.
How did you develop your style?
My path towards my current practice has been through various forms of study and mentoring, honed by years of visual observation and response.
Mosaic has been my current focus, using glass tiles, recycled crockery and beads as well as semi-precious stones in order to create rich patterns and capture narrative.
As a ‘Modern Artisan’, my style is decorative with a contemporary edge.
My work reflects my appreciation for the beauty and the blossoming of the natural world.
Which other artists inspire you?
My favourite mosaic artist would have to be Gaudi whose work I saw in Barcelona.
I also discovered the contemporary American painter Robert Kushner whilst visiting New York city, who is known for his involvement in the pattern and decoration movement.
I’m also a huge fan of Georgia O’Keefe and the Australian artists Margaret Preston and Criss Canning.
What are some fond memories you have from your practice?
I’ve been practising art as long as I can remember and my grandmother was largely influential with this. She was a painter who went to art school with Arthur Boyd.
Following in her footsteps, I remember my sister and I learning to paint on the verandah with our easels and brushes from a very young age.
My creative practice has given me some wonderful opportunities to show my art in various galleries and public art spaces. This includes Linden New Art Gallery in Melbourne and more recently my show Arcadia at Arnold St Gallery in Bendigo.
What have you been working on lately?
I’ve been working on a series of illuminated letters that I’ve designed, which I’ve named Love letters, and also doing some mixed medium still life studies called Speaking with flowers using gouache, pen, ink and conte crayon.
My mosaic work uses sacred symbology, hearts and shrines, as well as the floral, blossoming theme.
Is there anything special coming up on the horizon?
An opening launch day for KIKA Design Studio & Gallery will take place at The Mill at Castlemaine soon.
Mosaic & Merlot classes have already been extremely popular. These are run on a regular basis where students can enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles whilst learning mosaic techniques.
Classes include creating a uniquely beautiful mosaic mirror frame. Beginner workshops are also offered.
How can people see and buy your work?
KIKA Design Studio & Gallery is a bespoke studio and gallery space which sells beautiful artisan products such as mosaics, jewellery, cards and prints.
More information is on my Instagram and Facebook pages.