Mosaic Mural Making in Mexico with Laurel True

11 Nov

Mosaic Mural Making in Mexico: Sacred Peacock Mural with Laurel True
Hacienda Mosaico, Puerto Vallarta
January 24 – 30, 2016
$1,850 (based on double occupancy)

Usher in the New Year by entering the cosmos of the Sacred Art of Mural Making. Glittering glass, mirror and ceramic tile combine to create a multi-cultural celebration of creative expression and color. Get into the flow-state during a week of personal and collective making. Tap into your personal creative flow in the company of others on a similar path. No mosaic or art experience necessary.

Laurel True Installation Workshop

Join artist Laurel True at Hacienda Mosaico in Mexico for a Global Mosaic Project inspired by the sacred symbol of the peacock. One ancient myth has it that the peacock’s mission was to travel the world, seeking out and neutralizing negativity. The peacock was rewarded with beautiful colors.

This week-long workshop combines group mosaic mural-making with exploration of sacred symbols and inspiring texts to help students launch into a New Year of creative expansion and honoring our life paths.

Hacienda Mosaico Workshop

Workshop will include group discussions and personal exercises combined with hands-on mural making under the tutelage of Laurel True, who has been traveling the world, teaching and creating mosaic murals for almost 25 years.

Workshop participants will work with Laurel to create and install a magnificent peacock mural on the wall of Hacienda Mosaico. Students will also create a small piece to take home as a symbol for moving into a New Year.

Smaller, personal projects will focus on sacred symbols and finding personal meaning in our creative explorations.

True Mosaics Mexico

Mural Making Techniques  and lessons offered will benefit those who wish to pursue future projects, as well as those who want to engage in a collective, creative experience, culminating in a permanent piece of artwork.

Class will cover methods of design, color selection, and specific coding and sectioning methods required for large-scale projects, as well as planning techniques for successful architectural projects.

Students will receive instruction in precision cutting and setting techniques, working in the direct method using tile tape, and how to successfully combine on-and off-site mosaic work for larger projects.

Workshop will begin with welcome cocktails (or mocktails) and appetizers, and Laurel will offer an informal presentation and talk about her global projects around the world.
Some mornings and evenings will include optional group sessions and creative kickstarter activities. The studio space at Hacienda Mosaico is open 24 hours a day so that students can work independently after workshop hours.

Hope you can join us in Mexico!

To Register:
To register or for more information: click here. For more information about Hacienda Mosaico, click here.

A Little More:
Learn More about Laurel here and more about True Mosaics here.

Winter in Todos Santos, Mexico with Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art

16 Sep

Winter in Todos Santos, Mexico with Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art
February 3 – 9, 2016 (Wednesday-Tuesday)
$1,699.00 Double Occupancy

Imagine creating mosaic art with spectacular ocean views to inspire you, beautiful gardens and pools to relax you, and a personal chef to prepare gourmet meals to sustain you. This is just the beginning of the Todos Santos mosaic art retreat.

Mosaic Class Mexico

You will spend one full week creating mosaic art in one of the most creative and peaceful settings on the Baja Peninsula, the pueblo magico of Todos Santos. The accommodations for this retreat will be at the beautiful boutique hotel, Los Colibris Casitas. Los Colibris has 6 wonderfully inviting casitas, each with comfortable beds, great clean bathrooms, and private patios to enjoy the amazing scenery and ocean views. The infinity pool and hot tub are great for star gazing and observing the humpback and grey whales that often visit at this time of year.

Mosaics in MexicoDuring this mosaic art retreat each participant will learn the proper techniques for creating a mosaic art mural for vertical surfaces.  These techniques will be achievable and repeatable for anyone that would like to create a backsplash, a shower mosaic or any other vertical mosaic on their own. During this retreat participants will work on mosaic designs that will be installed at the property of the retreat.  Predetermined designs will be selected before leaving for Todos Santos, and each participant Mosaic Workshop Mexicowill have an opportunity to work on different parts of each of the designs.  The group will go through the whole process, including grouting, so that everyone leaves with a complete hands-on experience to repeat on their own if they choose.

We’ll also enjoy some of the most delicious and healthy Mexican food ever — always created with love by Chef Iker.

Mexico Whalewatching

Whale tail from our work tables

Todos Santos is an artist colony on the Tropic of Cancer, just one hour north of Cabo San Lucas, but an entire world away. Nestled next to 70 miles of pristine, undeveloped beach, Todos Santos is famous for the remarkable quality of its light, which drew the first American artists from Taos in the 1980s. Since then artists of all stripes and nationalities have populated the town, which is a charming reflection of their passions with wonderful restaurants, art galleries, and shops. The people of Todos Santos are warm and welcoming, and love sharing the pleasures of their hometown with visitors. The beaches of nearby Pescadero and Cerritos are added bonuses.

Retreat Price:  $1,699.00 (based on double occupancy)

Airport transfer on arrival and departure (within time frames)
6 nights lodging at Los Colibris
Evening welcome reception
5 full breakfasts & 5 lunches pool sideby local chef Iker
Refreshing agua fresca throughout the work day
Evening transportation into town
Last evening cooking class and dinner
Instruction: 5 days from 10a-2p.  More work time will be available if desired.

Baja Peninsula TravelYou will have plenty of free time to explore Todos Santos and its surrounding areas. Popular activities include a mosaic tour and gallery walk, hiking, beach walks, whale watching and shopping. There will also be excursion options that can be booked through Todos Santos Eco Adventures. Massage and yoga are offered at Los Colibris; the yoga deck sits at the highest point of the property on the tropic of cancer, and has one of the most amazing views of the Pacific.


Learn more about Los Los Colibris here. Room selections will be made in order of full payments received.

Baja Peninsula Art WorkshopOther Links

Todos Santos Eco Adventures
Todos Santos Eco Adventures Facebook
Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art

To Register

Deposit of $850 (1/2) may be made through PayPal (2.5% more will be added to the total using Paypal) or check. Materials, tool list & instructions on packing will be sent after registration. Payment in full must be completed by November 5, 2015.

Cancellation and refund policy:  All cancellations are subject to a 20% handling fee. For reservations canceled less than 90 days before the workshop, 50% is refundable. If canceled less than 60 days before the workshop, 25% is refundable. If canceled less than 45 days before the workshop, fee is non-refundable.  Should the retreat be canceled for any reason the entire amount paid will be refunded within fourteen days after the retreat’s cancellation. Instructors have no obligation regarding any additional costs or fees related to the issuance and/or cancellation of airline tickets or other travel reservations. Instructors and Los Colibris accept no liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable ticket or for canceled flights.  Travel Insurance is recommended.  All workshop participants should consider purchasing Trip Cancellation, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Baggage, Accident and Medical insurance from a reputable insurance company. Travel Insurance Guide is here.

To register, please email Tami with name and contact info.

Instructor: Tami Macala

Mosaics in MexicoI am a professional mosaic artist and teacher. I have been creating art all my life, and mosaic art for almost 20 years. In 2009 I started the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art based on my love for mosaic art and wanting share my passion with other creative people.

I have vacationed in Todos Santos several times in the past three years and have stayed at Los Colibris each trip.  I love the rustic and quaint feeling of Todos Santos, and Los Colibris is the perfect location for the accommodations and creating a wonderful environment for this mosaic retreat.

For more information, email Tami here.

Happy Feet Travel Tips: 10 Things You Probably Won’t Pack

3 Sep

Travel Packing TipsI’ve been saving this post from the helpful folks at Airfare Watchdog for JUST the right moment. Since I’m off to Paris and Provence with 13 lovelies in less than a month, today’s the day! Of course I couldn’t help adding a few notes of my own. Get ready for Fall Travel!


10 Things You Should Pack (But Probably Won’t)

by Christine Sarkis

Winter Escape! Go BIG in Mexico with Bonnie Fitzgerald

11 Aug

Winter Escape: Exterior Mosaics, Architectural Installations & Community Projects with Bonnie Fitzgerald
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
January 10-16, 2016
$1,725 double occupancy

There’s no better way to ward off the winter chill and get your mosaic mojo on than a trip to the warmth and beauty of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in January. This will be Bonnie’s fourth workshop retreat to Hacienda Mosaico, and she is very excited to be invited back to teach.

Bonnie Fitzgerald Hacienda MosaicoStudents will be guided through the process of designing, fabricating and installing large-scale permanent mosaics for exterior or interior architectural settings. You’ll create a personal mosaic using the appropriate indirect mosaic technique for your materials, and take the artwork home ready for installation. Additionally, you’ll gain experience in collaborative design, fabrication, and installation as a group by creating an architectural mosaic as a gift to the Hacienda.

All Skill levels are welcome. Mosaic experience is helpful but not necessary.

About Hacienda Mosaico
Want to see just how beautiful the Hacienda is? Click here for our 2014 video.

About the Workshop
Bonnie Fitzgerald Hacienda MosaicoStudents are invited to a welcome reception hosted by Hacienda Mosaico owner and famed artist Sandra (Sam) Leonard on Sunday evening, January 10. Formal class time will be held daily from 10:00 AM -2:00 PM. Instructor-supervised open studio is offered each evening after dinner to work on your own personal project. There will be tons of learning and lots of free time to explore Puerto Vallarta, shop or relax. Students depart Saturday, January 16.  Space limited to 12 students. Workshop has already exceeded the minimum and is a “go.” Deposit of 50% required to reserve your spot.

$1,725 Retreat Price Includes
6 Nights Lodging (double occupancy)
5 Days Workshop Instruction
24/7 Studio Access
Breakfast and Lunch served poolside daily by the Hacienda’s private chef
Welcome Reception Sunday night
Departure breakfast Saturday

Not Included
Dinners (many inexpensive options in the neighborhood)
Optional Field Trips
Travel Insurance

Bonnie Fitzgerald Hacienda MosaicoAbout the Instructor
Bonnie Fitzgerald is an artist, teacher and author. Her passion is designing and creating one-of-a-kind artwork and guiding art enthusiasts, young and old alike, on a journey to discover and develop their own personal artistic voice through the art of mosaics. Bonnie is also founder of Maverick Mosaics, a company specializing in art education and unique learning experiences, including international travel adventures and hosting workshops led by mosaic artists from around the world.

Dedicated to furthering the art of mosaic education, she has authored two books: 300+ Mosaic Tips, Techniques, Templates and Trade Secrets and Bonnie Fitzgerald’s Guide to Mosaic Technique300+ Tips has been translated into Italian, French, German and Dutch. Both titles were published by Trafalgar Square, London and are available on-line, from many book stores, mosaic supply vendors and Maverick Mosaics.

More Information
For additional workshop details, click here. To Register, click here. To contact Bonnie, click here.

Join us for a week filled with learning, laughter, community and sunshine!

Bonnie Fitzgerald Hacienda Mosaico

Ravenna Workshop in October 2015

5 Aug

Ravenna Mosaic Holiday with SISAM School of Mosaics
October 8 – 22, 2015

Ooh look! A wonderful opportunity to visit Ravenna for the start of the Mosaic Biennale, while also attending the distinguished SISAM School of Mosaics for a 9 day course in Roman-Byzantine mosaics, using the traditional methods. The course will run in the mornings from 9:00 to 1:30.  Afternoons and evenings will be free for you to visit the various activities of the Biennale, or just to have some quiet time at the nature reserve or on the beach nearby. We will also be visiting Faenza for one day, where there is a wonderful ceramics museum and many small ceramic workshops around the town. 

Mosaic Art RetreatsRavenna has played an important role in history. It prospered in Roman times, was the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy, and later the capital of the Byzantine Empire in Italy. During these periods of greatness many monuments were built with lavish mosaic decorations. Of the many churches and mausoleums, eight are World Heritage Sites. During your stay in Ravenna you will have time to explore this vast array of churches and fabulous mosaics. But there will also be many other exhibitions of modern mosaics celebrated in the Mosaic Biennale. This starts on October 10 with a grand opening night – Il Notte d’Oro (the Night of Gold), which will continue into the early hours of the morning!

Accommodation with be in La Tavernetta hotel in Marina Romea, set in a nature reserve. Ideally situated, the hotel is an easy two minute walk from SISAM mosaic school, and a five minute walk to the sea and beach. A local bus runs to Ravenna town, which is about 15 minutes away.

SISAM has been running courses in Roman-Byzantine mosaics and frescoes since 2001. Mosaic Art RetreatsOur course has been designed for people who have some knowledge of mosaics, to make two small (approx 30×30 cms) mosaic works. The first will be a copy of a fragment of a particular Ravenna mosaic, and the second will be a contemporary mosaic of your choice. Participants are encouraged to bring photos or drawings of their intended design with them.

Students will learn to use a hammer and hardie, along with the traditional methods using lime and paste, as used in the making of the historical mosaics of Ravenna.

Stones such as limestone, marble, brick, etc. are provided free, but students will be asked to pay for the paste used and any coloured smalti as well as all silver and gold pieces.  

INCLUDED (British Sterling Pounds £1875)

  • Half-board accommodation at   La Tavernetta hotel.

  • Nine 4.5 hour workshops at SISAM School of Mosaic, studying Roman-Byzantine traditional methods (some materials included).

  • Guided tour of the monuments in Ravenna.

  • One day excursion to Faenza and the ceramics museum.

  • Final farewell meal in the medieval village of Brisighella.

  • 24 bus tickets for Ravenna

  • Transfers to and from Bologna airport.


  • Flights to and from Bologna airport.

  • Glass, silver and gold smalti and mosaic paste.

For additional detail, click here. To request more information on this holiday, or to book your space, please phone Linda at 07738707007 or send an email to

Mexico! Clay Forms for Abstract Mosaic with Carol Shelkin

8 Jul

Clay Forms in Abstract Mosaic Design with Carol Shelkin
January 31 – February 6, 2016
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
$1800 per person, Double Occupancy

Carol Shelkin WorkshopsIn this NEW weeklong workshop, students will be motivated to create unique clay stamp impressions, small tiles and textures in earthenware clay and Apoxie Sculpt that will be incorporated into their mosaic during the week in Mexico. Spend your first evening with clay and learn how to make original clay pieces that can be transformed into mosaic designs. Carol, with over 25 years of experience as a potter, will lead you through various carving and stamping techniques to make your unique miniature ceramic tiles and forms. Underglazing and firing techniques will be used which can give the surface more visual depth and character.

Carol Shelkin WorkshopsThis informative class covers clay techniques, proper adhesives when using a variety of materials, substrates, design/layout and artist techniques. Explore with both traditional and contemporary methods. Students are encouraged to experiment with color and texture to discover the possibilities of clay merged in their mosaic for indoor display. No questions will go unanswered!

Clay and underglaze will be supplied, and tiles will be fired and returned during the week to incorporate into a mosaic. A list of supplies will be given after registration. No art or mosaic experience necessary.

ITINERARY: (Subject to change)
Carol Shelkin WorkshopsSunday, January 31: Arrival, Welcome, Creation of tiles and forms
Monday, February 1: Creation of tiles with a variety of clays
Tuesday, February 2: We’ll continue to design our mosaic and develop the composition
Wednesday, February 3: This will be a good day to explore the area, take a shopping trip, visit Sayulita or just go to the beach!
Thursday, February 4: Continue working on tiles and painting with acrylic glazing and other brush techniques
Friday, February 5: Our mosaics will have all the components to finally come together. Tiles and earthenware forms will be out of the kiln and we’ll paint the last of the clay pieces that haven’t been glazed
Saturday, February 6: Departure

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Carol Shelkin, with studios just outside of Philadelphia, is a professional artist with over 25 years teaching experience. She Carol Shelkin Workshopsattended PA Academy of the Fine Arts, USA, and Scuola Nazionale del Mosaico Restauro in Ravenna, Italy. She has shown her work both nationally and internationally in juried shows and galleries with her mosaic artwork  found in public installations and private collections. She has been invited to be a Presenter and Instructor at the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand (MAANZ) Summit, the Society of American Mosaic Artists’ yearly conference, and also offers workshops in Costa Rica, Canada, Spain, Morocco, Australia, Italy, Mexico and throughout the USA. Carol is a founding member and President of the Mosaic Society of Philadelphia, a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists and a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.

“Every year I go back to the Hacienda it feels more like my home away from home – full of art, inspiration and friends. January 2016 will be my sixth weeklong workshop! Sam has created a beautiful and relaxing retreat location — I never want to leave! This workshop is intended to prod you out of your artistic comfort zones with the security of our small, fun and sweet gathering of friends for the week. Let’s have fun!”  ~ Carol

Visit Carol’s website here. Contact Carol here.

Limit: 12 students
Retreat & Workshop Price: $1,800.00

6 Nights Lodging (based on double occupancy)
5 Days or Nights Workshop Instruction
24/7 Open Studio Time
Breakfast and Lunch Daily served poolside in a tropical, poolside setting
Welcome Reception on Sunday
Departure Breakfast on Saturday

Optional add-on excursions
Travel Insurance (Recommended)


Contact: Sam. More about Hacienda Mosaico here.

Flora + Fauna of Costa Rica with Carol Shelkin and Pam Goode

28 May

Flora + Fauna in Costa Rica with Carol Shelkin and Pam Goode
January 9 – 17, 2016
San Ramon Area, Costa Rica
$1960 per person, Double Occupancy; $2360 Single Occupancy

Mosaic Workshop

Farm Trail, © Pam Goode

“Up at 5:45, and I’ve already missed the sunrise. I go to breakfast early to do some writing, and all nine of us are already there, ready to take on the day. We scarf down eggs cooked with tomato, beans and rice, half-dollar-sized cornmeal cakes, rustic bread, buffalo cheese (fabulous), buffalo yogurt, and carambola (starfruit) jam. As soon as I finish, I miss the tastes. By 9:00 we’re gathered for our tour of the organic farm, and before we hit the path, our guide Ishmael has already shown us a tree full of toucans (yesterday a flock of parakeets flew overhead); jackfruit, which can weight up to 75 pounds and often hangs bulbously and pimpled in an unseamly flop between forks in the tree; and the fruit of the Lipstick tree, a beautifully freakish hairy and crimson pod used to color lipsticks, cheddar cheese, fingers (oops) and cheetos. Just beyond, Ishmael moves beneath a large bush, reaches both hands overhead to grasp an oblong yellow fruit, and begins twisting it on the stem until it snaps. About a foot long, this is cacao, the mother of chocolate. Smashed once against a trunk, the pod opens to reveal a white slime, which we’re encouraged to taste, and it is deliciously sweet/tart with the faintest hint of bitter chocolate. Later Ishmael hands us the halves of several nerf-ball-sized green orbs with fleshy spikes, with a thicker white goo-ish interior. This is anonas, or custard apple, also known as ice cream fruit, and the most sublime mouthful I’ve ever tasted. I eat more than my share, scooping out the custard with my fingers and licking it up eagerly.” ~ Pam Goode, Costa Rica Retreat, 2013

Mosaic Workshops

Firing Up the Pizza Oven, © Pam Goode

Mosaic Workshop Costa Rica

Baby Ocelot

Costa Rica, how we’ve missed you! Our 2016 retreat will combine onsite organic farm and rainforest tours, an adventure or two (think water safaris, hot springs, butterfly gardens, lava hikes), and a possible community outreach project in a neighboring village. Accommodations will be at glorious Finca Luna Nueva (New Moon Farm), a sustainable rainforest ecolodge and certified organic biodynamic farm with single or double lodge and cabin accommodations (triples and quads also available), fabulous organic food grown and prepared onsite, panoramic open-air workspace, wifi, ionized pool, jacuzzi, and spa. Optional activities at an extra cost include guided Arenal Volcano Lava Hike, Butterfly Garden or Cloud Forest Tours, Zipline Canopy Tour, Rafting, or Hanging Bridge Canopy Tour. And surprise! There’s a new baby ocelot wandering around :)


Mosaic Workshops

  • Transfer from Juan Santamaria Airport in San Jose to the Lodge and Return Transfer
  • Eight Nights Accommodation (rooms will be assigned in the order received)
  • Seven Breakfasts, Seven Lunches, Seven Dinners
  • One Guided Farm Tour
  • One Guided Rainforest Tour
  • 5-Day Mosaic Workshop and Open Studio Time
  • Access to the Secondary Rainforest and Primary Rainforest



Mosaic Workshops

Open Air Work Space


  • Airfare To and From Costa Rica
  • Optional Tours and Activities
  • Transportation for Optional Tours or Local Transportation (Arrangements Provided)
  • Offsite Meals
  • Trip Insurance (Recommended)
  • Gratuities
  • Departure Tax of $29
  • Alcohol, If Available


  • Optional activities at an extra cost include guided Arenal Volcano Lava Hike, lunches and dinners in town, Butterfly Garden or Cloud Forest Tours, Zipline Canopy Tour, Rafting, or Hanging Bridge Canopy Tour.
  • One Day will be set aside for on-your-own adventures. We will choose as a group, but additional free time during the week is always an option.
Mosaic Workshops

Birds at Rest, Penas Blancas, CR, © Pam Goode

“The river is magnificent. The banks are almost vertical for twelve feet in many places, and covered with ferns and far too many tree species to taken in, several easily 200 feet. The occasional bamboo stand seems to have been caught in a cyclone, with every trunk twisted counterclockwise from the ground up into one reedy giantess, her broad stride twisting to a skinny waist and then flayed out against the sky again. We see a large family of howler monkeys noisily leaping through the trees, and a pair of white-faced capuchins, a fairly rare sighting here according to our guide. A snowy egret on the bank holds a flash of silvery fish at the tip of his beak, his black legs and bright yellow toes a vibrant contrast to his starkly white curl of a body. I anticipate that, like me, most of the wildlife will choose to shelter deep in the trees until the rains pass, but when we spy flocks of birds, they’re almost always outlined against the clouds on leafless branches, one breed with fabulously outstretched wings at rest, as if ready to take off and soar when they hear the call. I think I have a new animal spirit.” ~ Pamela Goode, Costa Rica Retreat 2013


  • Retreat has a minimum of 6  and a maximum of 10. Please reserve early, but don’t make flight reservations until notified that we’ve met the minimum.
  • Participants will bring their own materials; details to follow. Packing Tips here.
  • Photos from our 2013 Retreat are here.


  • Temperatures  for January average High 73, Low 59, with .4″ of Rain
  • Central Standard Time
  • Mosaic Workshops

    Volcano and Valley View, Observation Tower, Finca Luna Nueva, © Pam Goode

    Latitude: 10° North of the equator, with equal hours of light and darkness

  • Currency: US dollars are accepted pretty much everywhere, including tips
  • Electricity: 110, with standard US plugs
  • Fast Facts: Literacy rate 96.3%; Military abolished in 1948
  • Costa Rica is among the countries with the highest amount of protected land in the world; 25% of the nation is dedicated to park systems, reserves, or natural wildlife areas
  • Bridging the northern and southern most points of the two American contents, Costa Rica is the meeting point for a variety of cultures and a density of plant and animal species said to be unlike any other country in the world
  • Approximately 850 bird species, 9000 plant species, 34,000 insect species, 205 mammalian species, 220 reptilian species, and 160 amphibian species

ABOUT THE LEADERSCarol Shelkin Workshops

  • Read more about Carol Shelkin here. Contact Carol here.
  • Read more about Pam Goode here. Contact Pam here.


  • Read more about Finca Luna Nueva here.


Contact Pam here for a reservation form.


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