The other day I was hunting around for something fun to do in Venice and I came across an article about the Mosaic Tile House in Venice. I saw they conduct tours, so I hopped on my bike and went over. It was a wonderful and unique experience…it brought me back to days spent at one of my favorite locations in the world: Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona.
The house used to be an understated ranch home that sits on a very large lot. The owners; Cheri and Gonzalo saw the potential for building art studios for each of them and creating a marvel for a passerby to stop and take note of what was once a very ordinary and nondescript residence.
Gonzalo conducted the tour. He was so warm and personable. He took the time to explain the pieces and the inspiration behind them. Cheri was in the studio demonstrating the techniques of her art to a few young teens. Their passion shined through for their work and also for each other.
This couple intrigued me. I had to find out their story. And once I got it, I learned more than just a background on two people, but more on the importance on how we choose to spend our time on this earth.
How did the idea for the Mosaic House start?
We needed to do something drastic to make this ugly house beautiful, so while waiting for the plans to be ok’d for the studio, we started making forms in the front yard and started to lay mosaic tiles. The very first 4”x4″ tiles Cheri made for the bathroom didn’t really work until we started breaking them up.Is there a special meaning to the fortune cookie in the front yard?
We had done several tiles with quotations on them, so the idea came to stuff them into a giant fortune cookie.
What’s a typical day look like in your lives?
A little drawing, a little kissing, a little glazing, a little pottery, a little kissing, once a month dancing at Hinano’s Bar, a little glass fusing, a little kissing, a little welding, a little kissing, a little painting, a little dinner and to bed.
Your house is just about covered in mosaic and art. What’s next?
After 22 years of tile making and setting, our craft is so much better that we are re-doing areas from 20 years ago. Also the 2nd story is slowly being prepared for more tiling. 10 more years and we’ll be finished?
How do people find out about your home?
We’ve been doing the tours for 20 years (by word of mouth) but 3 years ago someone put us on “40 fun things to do in L.A.” and on “14 fun things to do in Venice” so we are forever grateful. Wherever you are, thank you.
How do you acquire your figurines?
In the beginning we used to go to garage sales & get ceramic tchotch-kes that could be imbedded with the tiles but slowly people began to bring us broken cups, dishes, figurines, shards.What have you learned about this process…about your relationship?
We started this project in our 50’s. Cheri and I are two different people, so different in fact, that we need large workspaces to separate us and even then we squabble over space. We fight, we kiss, We fight, we kiss, We fight, we kiss. That’s what we do.
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Photo credits: Shawn Ferjanec