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Talk of the Town - Broken treasures August 03 2005

Lisa Kishoni creates mosaics from vintage, antique and collectible china

The sound of a broken plate is no calamity at Lisa Kishoni's Gwinnett County home. In fact, it's the precursor to creative endeavors: Kishoni picks up the shattered pieces and turns them into artwork for her elaborate garden. The items she breaks in the name of art are not of the everyday dinnerware ilk. Rather, Kishoni primarily uses collectible vintage china — including old Staffordshire, Noritake and Limoges — as the pieces for her mosaic creations, and occasionally incorporates such amenities as antique spoons and glass door pulls.

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What began as an effort to spice up her garden of 10 years has now grown beyond an outlet for creativity. Through Kishoni's acquaintances and website, www.vintagechinamosaics.com, she caters to requests for individualized mosaics. She also plans on starting a class in the fall to turn more people on to the art.

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Creative Loafing: How did you start creating vintage china mosaics?

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Kishoni: I started to do it because my house was on a garden tour and I wanted some garden art. I went out and I couldn't find anything I liked that was nice and affordable. There are a lot of statutes and such, but that's not appealing to me. I wanted something a little different and I decided to try this. I really like the process and the creativity of it.

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In creating your artwork, do you plan a design of each piece or is the layout of china decided while you're placing it onto a piece?

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The artwork is in the china, so it's really nice to work with something that completes itself. I'll have a general idea of what I'm going to do. I use a charcoal stick to draw out the focal points and then I start to just go with it. A lot of things are done at the last minute and it's not part of the grand scheme of things.

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Do you waste a lot of the china by breaking it into pieces?

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I don't waste that much. Really, the only part on a plate you can't use is the footer area because it's uneven. You can use everything else. A lot of people want to reuse china they've broken.

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What holds the pieces of china together?

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The pieces of china are cut with a wheel tile nipper; it can be very exact, so it's really good if you want a small square. I affix the pieces to the base with thinset mortar, and then I affix every piece to the base using regular tile grout.

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Does your garden attract a lot of visitors?

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I was in a garden tour this year and then I did a little garden tour for my daughter's school to raise money for their outdoor classroom. We had a few people come, never enough. I'm the kind of gardener that would love for people to stop by here on their evening walks. To me, it's not a garden if it's not being enjoyed.

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cityhomes@creativeloafing.com



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