Helen Miles

I am drawn to things which are made by the slow and deliberate accumulation of parts whether it be the dry stone walls of the north or a sentence that contains all the needs to be said.  The result has a quiet simplicity which seems effortless but the process requires time and skill.  So it is with mosaics.

Initially, I trained in the art of mosaic making with master crafts people in Greece who taught using traditional methods with a focus on Byzantine iconography. I later became interested in Roman mosaics and now make contemporary pieces for interior and exterior spaces.

Born in Glasgow, I moved to Thessaloniki in Greece in 2003, a UNESCO city famous for its concentration of Byzantine churches. It was while living there that I began to study mosaics which later led to a full-time profession as a mosaic artist.

I am now based at Out of the Blue Abbeymount Studios in Edinburgh. I mainly use Winckelmans unglazed porcelain and vitreous glass tiles but also love to experiment with found and foraged materials including stone, single use plastics and hardware. My aim is to preserve the simplicity and directness of early mosaics while producing works which suit the way we live now.

Each mosaic takes many hours to make over a number of days, sometimes weeks. The individual tesserae are cut to size and then placed one by one, often with tweezers. The making of a mosaic is a process which is defiant in its refusal to change despite the passing of millennia.

The materials used in my pieces vary and can be selected to ensure they survive the elements. If a larger mosaic is needed, then the mosaic can be cut into sections and assembled and grouted on site.

I teach classes at Abbeymount Studios and run an annual summer residential workshop at the Lagou Raxi Hotel in Pelion, Greece.