Beautiful kitchen yes, but what caught my eye was the mosaic on the wall behind the sink. Here's the detail shot Adrienne ran as part of her story.
My God, that mosaic's made with natural stone. I was hooked immediately. I left a comment to that effect after Adrienne's article and within an hour I had an e-mail in my in-bin from Sara Baldwin. Sara Baldwin is the artistic and entrepreneurial driving force behind New Ravenna Mosaic and Stone. She's also one very cool woman.
New Ravenna bills itself as the country's premier designer and manufacturer of stone and glass mosaic tile and I don't doubt that claim for a second. These mosaics are easily the most beautiful I've ever seen. There's a quality and thoughtfulness here that's something I'd expect to see in commissioned art. At first, that's what I thought New Ravanna was --the work of a single artist.
I spoke with Sara Baldwin in a wide-ranging conversation last week and it turns out that New Ravenna is a 100-person strong organization in rural Virginia. So instead of a single artist working on a custom piece, New Ravenna employs a hundred of them.
Most of New Ravenna's work is done as fully custom design projects. However, they have an extensive collection of production patterns that can be ordered from any of their 200 distributors nationwide.
In looking over these patterns, it's pretty clear that these designs are the product of someone who knows how to work with the materials at hand. But they go a couple steps beyond that. If you look through New Ravenna's collections, you can see that for every design that's brand new and modern, there's also a design that's a modern take on on a classic pattern.
The classically-inspired designs are what appeal to me most about New Ravenna's offerings. I love classical designs and motifs but it doesn't take any real artistic ability to copy a Roman or Moorish pattern. On the other hand, to take inspiration from a classical form and to re-interpret it with modern eye takes something akin to genius. New Ravenna's revisitations of these classics are what make a believer out of me.
Spend some time combing though the New Ravenna Mosaic and Stone website and you'll see what I mean. I have a long-lived admiration for the art of mosaic and I've seen a lot of them. I can honestly say though, that it gets no better than this. I have never seen natural stone, and now glass look as good as this. Bravo!