Walking the path to Anne Oshman’s studio in Montclair, NJ, one will notice her groundscape handiwork right away. She carefully crafted a beautiful orange and red fleur-delis mosaic, and then she had it installed by a mason so that it could shine on for years in rain or sun.
“Any canvas I see is mine to work on,” states Oshman – whether it be the backsplash in her kitchen (in green stained glass), the coveted Boomerang tabletops she fabricates for Vladimir Kagan, or some fine art pieces that make a social or political statement.
For example, the spritely mother of three was troubled at talk of reinstating the draft during the Gulf War in 1991. Her kids were in high school, hovering at or near the dangerous draft age
“They were still babies,” she says. So, she dreamt up “The Draft,” a 33-by-35-inch mosaic of a diapered baby in an Army helmet, with a camouflage duffel bag, a baby block and two beloved children’s books, “Goodnight Moon” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Tabling the Issue
Oshman is commissioned by the Vladimir Kagan Design Group to make striking mosaic tops for the iconic Boomerang tables, which were designed over 60 years ago by the midcentury furniture visionary Kagan.
“I’ve been doing the Boomerang tables for about four years now,” explains Oshman. “The design is always the same, darker on the outer edge and graduating to lighter on the inside. I’m starting a custom-color Boomerang table this year. The colors are ‘feathered’ in, for a celestial effect.”
She does the designs with smalti – glass tiles made in Mexico and Italy – which she cuts into rectangular pieces. After the mosaic is complete, Oshman grouts and seals it to ensure longevity. After all, it’s a tabletop.
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A little bit of whimsy
Oshman creates some imaginative objects, including playful garden sculptures in her Stalagmites collection, 3-D mosaic bras and hats, and giant cupcakes. The frosting has swirls, thanks to fiberglass, resin and wrapped towels underneath, and the cherry on top is built around a Styrofoam ball.
Still, her work can be equally elegant, which can be seen in a bathroom she was commissioned to tile in New York City.
She executed a glamorous design featuring flowering cherry blossom branches and tiny hand-cut pieces of glass that are burnished gold over black. Also, her newest series, “La Dolce Vita,” features refined gold chandeliers and pearls.
Oshman’s tools of the trade? Nippers to cut strips of stained glass, an X-ACTO Knife, tweezers to lift the little squares, and a carefully organized treasure trove of drawers and plastic food storage containers for sorting supplies by color and material. (She even stocks smalti in real gold.) Her passion for the variety is like that of a woman showing you a vault of precious glittering jewels.
But Oshman also finds peace in her passion.
“My work is very relaxing,” says Oshman “It’s a slow, slow process and very therapeutic.” She often heads to her studio with her morning coffee or after dinner, and works to tunes by Cat Stevens or James Taylor. Her faithful companion – a cuddly black dog named Marley, age 11 – is always by her side. He has an eye for a true friend, and good art.