Mar 122012
Greek Isles (12" Square) Washi Paper Mosaic

Greek Isles (12" Square) Washi Paper Mosaic

When I first began creating my Washi creations, I called my medium “Washi Collage.” I found I was not getting accepted into events I applied for, and of course, no reason is given.

I assumed it was photo quality and set to work learning to create better images.

My acceptance rate increased a bit, but not as much as I wanted. To get a better idea of why, I began visiting the events I did not get into with an eye towards what the successful vendors were doing, who was there, etc. What I found was not what I expected. 

At the Danville Fine Arts Festival, I found that the displays were similar in quality to mine, the art was similar in quality – nothing glaring jumped out at first. Then, I noticed a few Asian Collage artists, and several other mixed media collage artists. I had learned that promoters try to balance the ratio of art categories so as not to have too many jewelers, oil painters, potters, etc., and seeing so many Asian artists and so many collage artists, and even a few Asian collage artists, I began to wonder if perhaps the general collage category and the Asian collage category in particular, were saturated for these events.

What to do? Well, perhaps I could change what I called myself. As I looked at my art, I realized it also was a mosaic. I had not seen any mosaic artists at the events I surveyed. So I decided to give it a try. I had no idea that changing what I considered my art to be would have such a dramatic effect on my work.

In 2011, I began to market myself as a Washi Mosaic artist, and I was accepted to 10 of the 11 events I applied for. In greeting visitors to my booth, I said the phrase, “Washi Mosaic” hundreds of times and described how my process mirrors that of traditional mosaic artists. The word “Mosaic” came from my lips over and over again.


I was wanting to expand the patterns of my work – my mosaics. It occurred to me to consider what mosaic artists did. Where had I seen Mosaics? Ephesus, the ancient city, originally part of Greece and now part of Turkey. I had visited it in 2001 – I was there on September 11. Workers were uncovering a long mosaic walkway that had been buried for hundreds of years, and it was in remarkable shape. It was beautiful.

What if I considered each piece of paper to be a tile. What would I create? I began playing with this concept, and in a short time, I created the first of my Ephesus-inspired framed Washi Mosaics. I named it “Ephesus, ” shown at right.

My simple name change, intended to create more art show acceptances, resulted in a new washi paper mosaic form. A lot goes into a name, and a name change can have a dramatic impact on all that follows.

  8 Responses to “What’s in a name?”

  1. “Be true to your word…”

    It doesn’t surprise me, what you have described here. Definitely food for thought! I am loving that you are courageous enough to go to the events which didn’t “accept” your entry, to look & see what they did accept and make positive changes to your own approach. And the miracle is (hehe, as usual!) that your introspection led to a deeper understanding of your own art and process, in fact, expanded your work!

    Thank you! This is inspiring me to try a couple of new, and adventurous things in regards to marketing!

    • Thanks, Laura. I am learning so much and really enjoying the process.

  2. good story- I ran into this “name thing” too for a while.
    Nice work Deborah..: )

  3. Saw your work at KPFA craft faire and love it. I am a quilter and also love the coloy play. Cannot wait until you offer a workshop. Soon I hope.

    • Thanks, Patty. I’ve been very inspired by quilts – my mom taught me to sew by showing me how to make a patchwork quilt. Several of my pieces were inspired by bargello too. I will let you know when the first workshop happens – I’m hoping for April!

      • Workshop in near future?

        • Hi, Patty,

          Yes, thanks for asking! As a matter of fact, I am working on my workshop plan right now, and it looks like April 27-28 for the first one. The first day will be creating the artwork/mosaic and the second will detailing and finishing it. More details to follow …

          How does that sound?


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