28 May 2009

New Ravenna Mosaics defines the word mosaic

A week ago, I was reading an article written by Adrienne Palmer on Susan Palmer's Design Blog and I came across this image. It's a mosaic back splash from New Ravenna Mosaics and Stone.

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!


  1. These are AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!!!

  2. Between the mother of pearl I picked for Kelly and now these, it sounds like Fifi may need a new back splash after all!

  3. Really beautiful! Thanks for the comment on my post about floral design tips. I always thought by submerging my oasis it would fill up with water quicker and I never knew about the word oasis being on top. It's great learning new things!

  4. Isn't it amazing how much stuff you learn from the blogosphere? What a great thing we're in on Susan!

  5. Holy smokes, these mosaics are AMAZING!!! I love the one that looks like blue waves And the feather.... how cool is the feather?!?!

    But I'm still sticking with the MOP tiles for my backsplash :-) They are seriously sexy!!!


  6. The peacock feather is what about did me in too. I have some more photography from them and I'll be writing another post or two about New Ravenna shortly.

  7. WOW what a coincidence! We got our sample kit at the office today from Sara and I am even more blown away ... and did not even think that was possible ... yes I think "genius" is the perfect word to describe New Ravenna and the talented team led by Sara. Susan and I spent the whole morning oohing and awhing over the glass samples and the catalog.

    We were thinking of putting the Twiggy mosaic in our Kama'aina showroom display but then we saw in the catalog one a mosaic that incorporates these beautiful peach colored hibiscus flowers ... amazing ... but then the wave patterns are also so lovely ... I am just overwhelmed, it's like discovering fire or something!

    And the best part is that I won't have to sell a kidney to afford to put it on display ... but if I had to I would and it would be so WORTH IT!

  8. Thank you for alerting me to Sara and her team Adrienne. I get the best stuff from you guys!

  9. Oh Lord for some reason my riding helmet no longer fits:) Hmmm. THANK YOU guys for all the awesome compliments and PR. Without amazing distributors and promoters we'd be so lonely and unappreciated (and poor)!!! You guys are just the best, proving that 1 + 1 + 1 can equal ten. THANK YOU.

  10. You are very welcome Sara. You guys do an amazing job and you deserve to be recognized.

  11. The feather is just amazing-grat work


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