Walking into June Martin’s home studio, it was evident that her lifestyle and her artwork went hand-in-hand. The walls, painted in her signature chartreuse and coral red, were large-scale reflections of the jewelry that lined the wall and it appeared that each tidy workstation had been placed as precisely as the tiles in her micro-mosaic pieces. June has been an artist at Perks of Art since the shop opened so it was a treat to dig deeper into her inspirations and processes for creating her unique artwork.
June’s love affair with mosaics began over 20 years ago, during an impromptu trip to Barcelona, Spain. She was intrigued by the combination of the strong graphic shapes, the bold hues and how something so large and engaging could be created from such small, individual tiles. Returning home to the Bay Area, she felt a call to this medium and discovered mosaic artist, Laurel True, founder of the Institute of Mosaic Art. June dove headfirst into a variety of classes but along the way, found her own voice; veering away from classic floral designs, she has remained loyal to more modern, abstract designs.
While this was a wonderful introduction to the medium, about 5 years ago June decided to stray from her norm of creating large mosaic pieces and begrudgingly took a micro-mosaic class; thinking it would be tedious, she was surprised by the peace she felt while working. This was the moment when June discovered her true passion within the arts.
In the years since, June’s priority has been in locating vendors with materials that match her vision and style. This came with much trial and error but currently, she is quite pleased with the relationships she’s built and the products she receives; tiles delivered from Morocco, glass supplied locally as well as from Italy and bezels from Port Townsend, Mexico and Turkey.
Having these international vendors coincides beautifully with June’s passion for travel and all the inspiration she gathers abroad. In Costa Rica, she observes the local wildlife and uses these experiences for new designs; shapes of the butterflies, color palette of the hummingbirds and movement of the monkeys. But above all, June takes notice of the light. She notes that light appears differently in all parts of the world; causing certain colors to glow or textures to pop and she tries to find ways to bring that aspect to life in her art.
Observing as she opened drawer after drawer, filled with tubes of thin, cylindrical glass and chunks of earthy, rich tiles, I was amazed that she could complete pieces what with having such endless design opportunities. When asked about this, she laughed, saying she rarely has a vision before beginning to create; she places tiles when they feel right and removes them when they don’t. On this particular day, her home was being pressure washed and she joked that her pieces may be largely adorned with blues.
June’s process, from her inspiration, to vendors, to actual creation is such a strong representation of her experiences and surroundings. She says her work is meticulously crafted but the intention of imperfections; and with that perspective in mind, it’s easy to feel as though each piece is a bit of the world, curated in a specific palette or shape that is reminiscent of something bigger, broader. While June’s jewelry is undeniably beautiful, there is also a depth to it that I had not understood prior to our discussing and I am pleased to view them with a new appreciation.
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