Give artist a break while she ‘reincarnates’

PIECED TOGETHER: Helen Millar with some of her mosaic art. (Rebecca Hosking) 190051

By Luke Voogt

Broken plates, old tiles in a skip and shattered windows are all opportunities to Highton artist Helen Millar.

For more than 20 years the mosaic specialist has found new life for broken glass, China and ceramics from friends, family members and op shops.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh, I broke a beautiful plate, can you re-use it?’,” she told the Indy.

“I say, ’Yes, I reincarnate that in class’.“

A former art teacher, Helen set up a home studio in Highton about two decades ago after having children of her own.

Helen sometimes smashes old plates and glass, but more often she uses nippers to methodically chip away materials.

She recently added to her stash when her neighbours were “throwing away their beautiful 1980s bath tiles in a skip.”

About 15 years ago she received a community grant to teach other people the “user-friendly and accessible” art.

“Anyone can do it,” she said.

“People can come up with some really surprising mosaics. There’s a real randomness about it. There are these odd little eccentric pieces.”

Her three pet chickens had inspired her students’ regular favourite piece, “a bird on a stick”, she said.

“In four hours they leave with a finished product.“

Helen’s sculptures decorate Geelong West Community Gardens and she will hold her next public workshop there tomorrow, from 1pm to 5pm.

“It’s such a beautiful place to work,” she said.

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