EXMORE, VA -- New Ravenna, America’s premier designer and manufacturer of mosaics for both residential and commercial installations, recently introduced Natural Selections, a collection of 12 mosaics designed by Kevin O’Brien. Each design represents a mosaic interpretation of O'Brien’s velvet textile designs. For this collaboration with New Ravenna, O’Brien sourced designs spanning his 20-year library of artisan creations. Imagery in Natural Selections represents nature inspired geometrics, botanicals and historical design motifs.
Brocade is an interpretation of a classic damask, which originated in the Middle Ages. Vines is a nod to a sinuous William Morris botanical, notable in the 19th century arts and crafts movement. Fretwork is a window to centuries-old Moroccan design, the perforations that allow breezes to flow through the stone walls in northern Africa. The primary materials in the collection are glass and stone with brushed brass emulating the metallic threads found in O’Brien’s textiles. A trained artist, O’Brien feels, “glass allows me to think like a painter and shade my image more freely because of the limitless array of colors available at New Ravenna.”
Cean Irminger, New Ravenna creative director, continues to explain how material selection and finish were used to replicate the tonal and textural variations in O’Brien’s velvets. “Natural Selections is our first collection to showcase Kevin’s brilliant artistic vision and stretch our mosaic muscles to capture the soft textures and shifting hues of his hand painted velvets in stone and glass,” he said. “Kevin is an absolutely wonderful partner. He is an incredible design talent, has a beautifully intuitive grasp on color, and he gave us a ton of latitude to interpret his patterns, through color and material choice. Because of its huge palette and versatility we began by translating most patterns into glass first, using mixes of reflective jewel glass and tumbled Sea Glass to mimic the textural feel of burnout velvet. To capture the painterly feel of Kevin’s fabrics, subtle and fluid blending were imperative. Our jewel glass lends itself to this technique because it is also a hand mixed process, meaning each sheet has many tonal and textural shifts and we used them all.”
In working with the opposing characteristics of mosaics and textiles, O’Brien found beneficial and timely similarities. “Even though textiles and mosaics are obviously opposite in their physical manifestation, hard and timeless versus soft and ephemeral, they both exist to do the same thing,” he said. “They endure to create beautiful environments that help people moderate their reactions to the uncertainty and disorder of the world around them. Order, cohesion and a sense of completeness calms the mind and helps to decompress after all the other inputs that we need to process each day.”
Natural Selections can be installed on walls and floors, indoors and out.