ANJA HERTLE DESCRIBES HERSELF AS A HOARDER OF LOVELY BROKEN THINGS. The Grafton mosaic artist regularly combs thrift shops for dishware in bright colours or pieces with odd patterns, charming pictures, interesting textures, random words – all to be shattered or perhaps precision-cut in the service of her creations.
Anja teaches classes for all ages and her own work provides an exemplar of the possible. She collects wee objects like decorative tiles and bowls of buttons, beads and bottle caps. She keeps bins and bins of broken things in her sunny studio, a treasure trove to draw upon.
When a piece is finished, it becomes a game of hide-and-seek for viewers to spot that the tree trunk is actually a bent fork, or a scampering rabbit is clipped from a discarded Bunnykins plate.
“I love putting the personal touch to it,” she said.
Anja developed a love for painting after earning a degree in interior design from Ryerson University, but it could not stand up to her discovery of mosaic art in 1999. “It’s a dusty discipline,” she explained, “and you can’t paint at the same time.”
“Mosaics won out,” she declared. “I haven’t looked back ever since.”
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