Seppo’s Life Story Mosaic Panel
When the world went into lockdown back in March 2020, our neighbours became more important in our lives, and this mosaic panel is a direct product of the pandemic. Without it, I’m sure Seppo and I would never have got to know each other as well. We are neighbours and have been for 9 years, and before Covid we knew very little about each other’s back story.
During those months of confinement, Seppo and I would meet for a glass of wine, (2 metres apart of course, lol!), and chat about our past lives, and the concept for the ‘life story’ mosaic began to take shape. I can’t remember exactly whose idea it was to create the mosaic panel, but the whole process has been collaborative from the start.
Distilling a life into a mosaic has been challenging at times, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the artistic process of research, creating mood boards, and refining ideas that would translate well using vintage ceramics, vitreous glass mosaic tiles and buttons. I was also able to include small artefacts that Seppo had collected on his travels to South Africa and Finland, when the world started opening up again.
During my research, Seppo showed me an artist, Joshua Miles, who he admired, and I took inspiration from his work, recreating the Protea flower in mosaic, from one of his paintings. If you look closely enough, there are rocks from Table Mountain, the Finnish coat of arms, as well as a representation of a Finnish mythological creature, all encapsulated in the Golden Ratio, a nod to Seppo’s career.
From the beginning, I was really interested to hear about Seppo’s move to South Africa from Finland as a young adolescent. His parents wanted a change of scenery and emigrated to South Africa when Seppo was just 14 years old. He grew up with the backdrop of Apartheid, and then watched the political and social changes unfold following the release of Nelson Mandela.
Seppo trained to be an architect at the University of Cape Town and forged a life for himself in South Africa. When a job opportunity arose in England around 25 years ago, Seppo decided to move to the UK and begin a new life here, represented by the Union Jack which encapsulates the whole story. The final concept of framing of the piece with the flag, came at the end of the process, and my framer friend at Urban Framers, helped with the design and construction for this, thank you Ryan! He also helped me install it just in time for South East Open Studios 2023!!!