Artist Sue Kershaw puts her Italy-inspired mosaic work on show at a new exhibition. KAREN DARLEY reports.

A VISIT to Ravenna in Italy 23 years ago had a life-changing impact on artist Sue Kershaw.

Standing in front of the one of the world’s greatest Byzantine mosaic interior of the Basilica of San Vitale, Sue knew she had to master the art and techniques of the anonymous great mosaicists.

Further explorations in the Roman sites of Britain, Italy, France, Spain and Greece, combined with a love of architecture and pagan archetypes, continued to inspire her geometric, literature and nature-based mosaics, which have gone on display at the Otley Courthouse as part of her Fragments of Time exhibition.

Sue, who is 45 and lives in Huttons Ambo, said: “Working from my studio looking out across the Wolds and North York Moors, I am continuously challenged and fascinated by the desire to successfully balance design with the physical creation and arrangement of tesserae, paying equal attention to the size and shape of every tessera as the spaces in-between and the overall flow of the work.”

Each mosaic is produced with hand-cut double-fired French porcelain, which has an impervious matt surface, very similar to the natural stone colours of Roman mosaics, with the additional highlight of vibrant glass and mirrors providing a contemporary twist.

“I chose Fragments of Time for the title of the exhibition as I felt it captured my attempts to freeze-frame moments of time, such as the ebb and flow of the tide running across sand in my piece called Flowing or the gaze of the hare in Hare and Moon, but ironically it takes a great deal of time to create a mosaic,” said Sue.

Gazette & Herald:

“The exhibition brings together a series of materials I have collected from my travels across the world, with a view to building a collection for my work.”

Sue produces mosaics for public art, as well as private sale and commission. She also organises mosaic workshops and community projects with a wide range of client groups in a variety of settings, with clients including the NHS, British Heart Foundation, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Macmillan, Mind, Action for Children and many schools.

“While I love to create my own mosaics for exhibition my real passion is in teaching others the art of mosaic,” said Sue.

“I am currently working with a variety of community groups and the Woodlands Methodist Church, in Harrogate, in creating four outdoor floor mosaics for their newly-developed sensory garden.

“I am also creating a mosaic for York Hospital, which will be one of 20 created by local mosaic artists to be installed this summer.”

Gazette & Herald:

The Fragments of Time exhibition runs until May 3 and is open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, and on the last Sunday morning of the month for the designer craft fair.

Sue’s next mosaic workshop is at Howsham Mill on July 25. For details, go to