Catherine Conaty 

Catherine’s first encounter with stained glass art was 26 years ago and she says she fell head over heels for the discipline right there and then.

Today Catherine is an established stained glass mosaic artist who loves sharing her skills with students through an active role as a tutor with the Creative Glass Guild of Queensland.

And while she may now be the teacher Catherine says she never stops learning and growing with mosaic art.

My creative space is... 

one half of a double garage at home, where I have a massive workbench and tool trolley. I have a whole wall of shelves in this space filled with colour coded containers of small pieces of glass. Glass storage space is essential though, so I also have an ‘art supplies room’, where I store all my sheets of glass, along with other materials and substrates. Mosaic artists tend to be bower birds. We have a downstairs lounge room in our home which converts to a classroom when I am running or hosting workshops.  I set this space up with folding tables, which I pack away when not in use. This area is also a handy workspace if I am working on a large-scale project, like a mural.  

The last piece I created is... 

a 3m x 2m stained glass mosaic mural for St Catherine’s Primary School at Wishart. It quotes the words of Nano Nagle: ‘Today is a great day to learn something new!’ The quote is surrounded by images of learning and stationery supplies. The mural was an absolute joy for me to work on.

My biggest artistic challenge is…

time. There are not enough hours in the day or weeks in the year to work on all of my ideas! I work during the week in a Body Corporate role and I teach classes two days a week, plus run the occasional weekend workshop, so I am fitting in my making around these responsibilities. To create and experiment and play needs downtime and I am always reaching for a balance that allows for this.

My favourite tool for creating is…

I have been using traditional glass tools since I began 25 years ago and they haven’t changed in decades. However, I recently came across a new tool; the ‘Silberschnitt’ brand of running pliers. They have been a game changer for breaking glass. They facilitate breaking around deep curves, as well as breaking glass into thin strips. I absolutely love them.

My art is unique because…

Most of the time I create from a vision in my mind rather than following a specific pattern. I like bright, strong colours, and I am partial to touches of bling. 

Words that inspire me…

I love this quote by Karma Voce: 'Create what sets your heart on fire, and it will illuminate the path ahead’. My love of mosaics has led to all kinds of creative opportunities, interesting moments, and wonderful friendships.

Who is your hero and why? 

Not all heroes wear capes! My mosaic students who come to class each week are people that I admire greatly. They are allowing themselves time in their busy lives to immerse themselves in learning about mosaic art. With each piece they create they are pushing their comfort zones to get better. They are thirsty for knowledge, and it is so great to see their progression take shape.

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