Local mosaic artist Christine Brallier has just returned from the Society of American Mosaic Artists Conference in Lexington, Ky., where she led SAMA members in creating a mosaic triptych, based on her designs.

Each year SAMA brings together its members to create a mosaic that is donated to a local charity in the host conference city. This year, the recipient was Lexington’s nonprofit organization The Nest: Center for Women, Children & Families.

In three days, nearly 100 mosaic artists hand cut and glued thousands of pieces of Mexican smalti to fill three panels, totaling 32 square feet. It was then grouted and installed in the lobby of The Nest.

The mosaics, titled “Ready to Fly,” consist of goldfinches surrounding a nest of baby birds in the branches of Kentucky’s state tree, the tulip poplar, while one of the birds is flying away. The design is meant to symbolize the families in crisis who come to The Nest for support and guidance. Using the resources and encouragement The Nest provides, the family develops the skills and habits needed for a healthier lifestyle. When they feel confident and self-sufficient, they are ready to fly.

Click here for photos of the conference project.

Brallier has been creating mosaics with stained glass since 2005. With a love of children, the arts and the helping professions, she graduated with a master’s degree in psychology in 1996, focusing on art and music therapy with children. Her mosaics are most often of animals and nature in a colorful, playful and whimsical style.

She has created several mosaics for public places, including Rhoads Park in Santa Barbara and the labor and delivery room of Central Texas Medical Center in San Marcos. Her award-winning work can be seen in several publications, and she is currently working on her first children’s book with mosaic illustrations.

Click here to view more of her artwork. Brallier can be reached at 805.252.5717 or christine@cbmosaics.com.