Above: Victoria Diggle. Photo by Esme Robinson.
Victoria Diggle’s love of mosaic goes back many years, but it was only in 2021 that she was able to devote more time to it and study for a year-long diploma at the London School of Mosaic. Victoria has also recently taken over Mosaic Workshop (the formerly London-based supplier) and is running online sales from her home in Bedfordshire. Read about her path to mosaic, inspirations and more…
What led you to mosaic?
A little green parrot made in smalti by my sister-in-law many years ago opened my eyes to mosaic and I started putting bits of broken china into a box, determined that one day I would make something myself. In 2020, after nearly two decades and plenty of domestic accidents, the box was overflowing and, at the same time, my job with a literacy charity was coming to an end. I had by then been on an inspiring short course with the brilliant Emma Biggs. I had very little experience, just a strong feeling that mosaic was something I really wanted to do – and that’s what led me to the diploma at the London School of Mosaic.
What inspires your mosaics?
Pattern and colour have always been important to me, and I was the kind of child who lay for hours studying my bedroom curtains and spotting repeats in the wallpaper (not so difficult, since it was the 1970s). Encouraged by my antique-dealer father, I started collecting ceramics when I was young. All this led me to a degree in history of art at Cambridge University and I went on to work in the commer-cial art market. I spent more than ten years in the wonderful circus of the international auction world and had extraordinary close-up access to everything from classical sculpture to contemporary light installations; I soaked it all up avidly and the visual experiences of that decade certainly inform myapproach to design now.
Can you tell us about your time studying for the diploma at the London School of Mosaic?
It was a wonderful year of creative and intellectual satisfaction and a time that allowed me to get really hooked on the physical processes of making – both on my own and as part of a team. The staff are passionate and involved and gave me cast-iron confidence that I could achieve whatever I wanted. And the value of being in a student community shouldn’t be underestimated – there’s lots of fun and chat, but also very helpful discussions on technical and aesthetic questions.
What’s keeping you busy at the moment?
It wasn’t part of my plans, but when I heard that London-based supplier Mosaic Workshop was about to close I had a feeling that I should try and get involved. As a result, I’ve taken over the business and am running online sales from my home, with the hope that I may one day be able to re-open a shop in London. It’s meant that my mosaic work hasn’t taken off as quickly as I hoped, but it’s a wonderful way to stay connected with the community. I feel this is an exciting time for us all; there’s a vigorous renewal of interest in the handmade, in things that will last, in crafts with a history, and in projects that have social value – the zeitgeist is very much on mosaic’s side and I’m looking forward to being a small part of the unfolding story.