# Arts in Milwaukee – Kerry Tharp –
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Arts in Milwaukee

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  • “Reflecting”Reflecting

    A wonderful reflecting space at Harrington Beach in Ozaukee County. Art glass, stones, tile. Framed in walnut, 22" x 14" #mosaicist #mosaicsbykerry

Kerry Tharp

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artist bio

I’ve been practicing art for over 20 years as a way to bring balance to my life. Art provides me with the opportunity to create, to connect with others, and to bring myself back to center. I enjoy working in watercolor, fiber, and jewelry. However, art glass has intrigued me for as long as I can remember--the colors invoke emotion and I'm amazed with how those swirls wind up in the glass! Mosaic allows for endless possibilities in working with this incredibly beautiful art glass. My desire to learn this art form came to fruition over a decade ago with an unexpected and unusual gift from my family: glass cutters, some glass and tile, and a bag of grout! Though I am self-taught, I have had many informal teachers along the way. I am honored to be a member of the Cedarburg Artists' Guild, Art on the Move Group, and most recently, the League of Milwaukee Artists.

artist statement

I cherish everything about the mosaic process. The first step begins with a general sketch that continues to evolve as I hand-cut and place the tesserae. Working intuitively, trusting the process is so freeing and it allows the art to take on a life of its own. Next, tesserae are adhered to the substrate. The final stage of grouting pulls the entire piece together. I find it interesting how the breaking and re-piecing the glass resembles the healing and growth process that I’ve noticed in many areas of life.

What do I use for tesserae? Primarily exquisite art glass. I also include tile, hand-built pottery, mirror, wire-wrapped found objects. Copper foiling techniques have also been incorporated to preserve my watercolor paintings, journal writings, and treasures from nature. Most recently, I've explored the contrast of light and shadow in water and woods.

Others have described my art as having a contemporary flair. I enjoy making bright, spirited pieces and... peaceful, calming ones. The common thread in my work is the andamento and movement achieved with thoughtful placement of the tesserae and choice of materials. Inspiration arises from nature; emotion of color; movement; and the surprises found in the glass itself.