Glass Terrain is a Melbourne based studio established in 2012 by mosaicist, Donna Broadbent. Focussed on creating unique, contemporary abstract mosaic, Glass Terrain designs are presented as 2D or 3D artworks that can be wall- mounted or permanently installed as an indoor/outdoor feature. As the name suggests, Glass Terrain mosaics comprise various types of glass often resulting in richly textured and highly reflective surfaces. The finest quality made-for-mosaic materials are utilised to achieve this finish including Orsoni (Venetian), Perdomo (Mexican) and Bisazza smalti, stained and vitreous glass and 24carat gold smalti. Finished works create a stunning visual impact ideal for both commercial and residential settings.
Glass Terrain proudly adopts a boutique approach to mosaic by producing limited numbers of quality mosaics each year by the founding artist. This maintains the integrity of each artwork, and results in a truly bespoke process where original concepts are hand drawn, and each piece of glass is hand cut, shaped and positioned to realise the design. The absence of digital technology and the use of traditional mosaic methods ensure the individuality and uniqueness of each piece. Glass Terrain mosaics are available through exhibition, or direct from the studio. Commission enquiries are also welcome.
Applying ancient materials and methods to create contemporary works that are relevant today, is the essence of what I do. The intention of my work is not to imitate or provide a narrative, but rather respond to what I see and feel in an interpretive, abstract way. Colour selection is often muted or monochromatic, giving my work an understated sophistication and beauty. The incorporation of timber and concrete in many of my pieces juxtaposes the reflective qualities of glass, and aids the contemporary feel of my work. Through these artistic choices, I attempt to challenge peoples’ perception of mosaic, and promote it as a means of artistic expression.
As a mosaicist I derive a great deal of pleasure in watching people interact with my work. Unlike other mediums, mosaic evokes a tactile response, where people spontaneously reach out and touch the artwork, as if doing so might offer some clue to the process. Creating such curiosity, dialogue and enjoyment is a motivating force behind my work, and why I strive to push the boundaries of mosaic.
Affecting viewers in this way is not without its challenges. Achieving ‘movement’ in a composition when you are working with rigid, unforgiving materials is difficult. So too is using colour without the advantage of techniques such as blending and layering. It is perhaps these elements of skill coupled with its unlimited scale, diversity and longevity that make professional mosaic so intriguing, and why I prefer it as an artistic medium.
Artistically crafted mosaic demands not only these unique skills, but vision, patience, and by its very nature, an acceptance of imperfection. It is a medium in which I can satisfy my passion for design, but it is also a form of escapism. With its labour intensive process, its simple equipment and meditative influence, mosaic is the antithesis of our modern world. The deliberate departure from mass-produced goods, commercialism, technology and perfection is something I find both liberating and empowering.
As we live surrounded by individual pieces and patterns that integrate to form a whole, inspiration for my work comes from an array of sources: other artists; textiles; nature; responses to my environment and life events are all catalysts for creativity. But mostly my work is motivated by interiors, where I visualise how a ‘glass terrain’ could enhance a space. Mosaic can be crafted to offer serenity, brighten dull or poorly lit spaces, or create energy through use of colour, texture and design, making it a perfect design medium.
When I explain to people that I am a mosaicist, they assume I must come from an artistic background. They seem a little perplexed when I explain that whilst I have always been creative, I have actually devoted much of my life to the sporting field!
As a child growing up in Central Victoria, I was heavily involved in many sports, but it was Volleyball at which I excelled, playing for many years at an elite level, and representing both Victoria and Australia.
Involvement in sport lead to a Bachelor of Physical Education and a long teaching career in the fields of Health, Physical Education and English. Whilst on family leave I published several Secondary School texts, and was employed as a freelance writer for the Curriculum Corporation.
It was during this period of creativity via writing, that I began to renew artistic pursuits, mainly in the design field but also in mosaic, which had intrigued me from a young age. Whilst attending an interior design workshop with a view to making this my career, the absence of skilfully crafted, contemporary mosaic motivated me to provide that visual element as an option for interior designers and their clients. This lead to the establishment of Glass Terrain and a thumbnail sized creative space, which I happily share with my husband and two children at our property in Melbourne.