Mosaic artist puts artwork together one piece at a time in Hopkinton

Union Leader Correspondent
September 12. 2013 10:52PM
Mosaic sculpture sturdy enough to withstand New Hampshire winters is one of artist Liz Van Saun’s specialties. (Nancy Bean Foster Photo)

From furniture to windows to backsplashes, Liz Van Saun, a mosaic artist from Hopkinton, does it all. NANCY BEAN FOSTER

HOPKINTON — Being an artist can be a solitary existence, but mosaic artist Liz Van Saun keeps herself company by including lots of people in the creation of her art.

Van Saun has been working in mosaics for 11 years. Schooled in the visual arts, she started her career working on children’s books, but when she discovered a volume on mosaics, she fell in love.
Artist Liz Van Saun of Hopkinton brings her passion for mosaics to schools, art classes and the community. Nancy Bean Foster 

“I was just blown away,” she said.

Through a process of reading, researching and lots of trial and error, Van Saun learned the art, creating murals and windows, and turning ordinary pieces of furniture into something unique.

“I collect a lot of stuff,” said Van Saun. “Sometimes I don’t know what it is or how I’ll use it.”

Van Saun works with recycled glass as well as old china that friends and the local transfer station donate to her. In her studio, built six years ago on the property she and her husband own in Hopkinton, she works on commissioned pieces as well as art she sells at a variety of fairs and markets.

But Van Saun isn’t content to just stay in her studio and work. She travels to school districts, including an elementary school in Nottingham and the high school and middle school in Weare. She travels around New England working with all ages of kids.

A giant egg at the John Stark Regional High School in Weare was made with the help of Van Saun, and six new murals at the Weare Middle School have her signature on them as well, but it’s the students who did much of the work.

“Mosaic is something that everyone enjoys doing,” she said. “Anyone can do it and be successful at it.”

Van Saun also creates what she calls “community art projects,” including a giant fish she’s currently working on. She takes the pieces with her to a studio she works at in Vermont, to Market Days in Manchester, and the Arts Market in Concord. There, she lets people take part in the creation of art by letting them choose and affix glass and china to the sculptures or murals.

“People just join in and really enjoy participating,” she said. “It gives them a chance to connect with the artist and experience something new.”

Van Saun is also hoping to start working with senior citizens because it’s such an uncomplicated process.

In the meantime, she teaches classes at her studio and continues to work as an artist-in-residence at schools.

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