Leaving a secure career for a creative pursuit may seem crazy to some, but Tami Zweig has enjoyed steady, inspired success. The owner of All Cracked Up Mosaics has created a niche in custom décor for home, art and public spaces.
Zweig was raised in Thousand Oaks and earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University-Northridge in textile design and retail marketing. Strong at drawing and painting, Zweig loved the designing component of apparel. She landed a costumer job on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman that turned into a lucrative career in television and film.
During her travels, Zweig said she met someone who knew rudimentary mosaics. Together they covered windowpanes and walls during experimental crafty sessions. She was hooked.
Zweig began covering everything and gifting friends decorative mirrors and tables. Eventually, she began winning commissions from clients who had seen her work through friends.
“My business has grown solely by word of mouth,” Zweig said. “Happy customers are my biggest asset.”
To date, she said she has done a range of projects that include fireplaces, kitchen backsplashes, fountains, bars and spas.
Zweig attended a few workshops, but she said most of her experience is self-taught. She continued to try various materials to find what worked and looked best. She was tapped by Arby’s Restaurants to do the counter tops, treatment rooms at the Florida Ritz-Carlton Hotel spa and locally by EOS Lounge when it renovated in 2007.
Zweig earned accolades for a public mosaic wall she completed with kids from the Police Activities League in MacKenzie Park. The project was incredibly intricate and took four months and numerous hours on Zweig’s part to complete. She said she loved the collaboration and hopes to do more public murals in future.
In 2009, Zweig volunteered to teach mosaic art fundamentals at a community center and found she enjoyed the process of working with students. Last January, she launched the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art. She hosts tabletop workshops of six to eight people at her Santa Barbara studio.
“Students make functional art, such as tables and mirrors, and they love it,” Zweig said. “They leave with something unique that they made, which is incredibly gratifying.”
She provides the materials as well as instruction on how to shape the shards of glass for use on the project.
Zweig also offers classes in beginning mosaics, stained glass and creating garden spheres. Students consistently need tiles and glue and other items for their projects, so Zweig also has become a supplier to the public. While her workshops are on the weekends, she does hosts midweek lab times where students can pay hourly to use her tools and work in her studio on their projects.
Mosaics began in the Byzantine era as a way to tell stories of leaders, wars and divinity. Other cultures rapidly adopted it and modified it to fit their culture. Zweig describes her own style as Gaudi-esque. She routinely buys fiesta wear plates at Macy’s and brings them home to smash and mold into her artwork. In addition to teaching and doing commissions, Zweig creates fine art, which is sold as home décor.
Zweig offers classes in beginning mosaics, stained glass and creating garden spheres. Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art classes run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. The cost is $145 to $175.
Click here for more information about All Cracked Up Mosaics.