For a former School Committee member and a nurse, the pieces of their new business -- Mosaic Oasis -- began to fit together in the past year.
Suzanne Baratta Owayda and Betsy Rodman, both of Arlington, have opened their studio and supply shop at 1189B Mass. Ave. The grand-opening celebration was held Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16.
Make your own mosaic art in class, buy supplies or choose a gift -- these are three options from a spot that the owners hope will be "a haven, to find some peace."
Each co-owner has her connection to mosaics, art or functional objects using small, colorful segments of stones, glass or marble.
Owayda traces her enthusiasm to travels in the Mideast. "Fascinating" is how she describes mosaic tiles, uncovered in Roman ruins in Jordan, that inspired her.
Rodman, a public health nurse since 1985, was feeling burned out in her job, but she found an answer in fitting together shards of her mother's china she was always breaking.
By August 2008, Rodman left full-time nursing and headed out on her own, selling her mosaics in such venues as Boston's SoWA open market.
Owayda, after leaving the School Committee in 2007, when her husband's business took him to London, found she had time to explore mosaics. Classes with Norma Vondee at the Hampstead School of Art sharpened her passion.
After meeting in early 2009, the pair fashioned their plan for a business that resulted in Mosaic Oasis. In the location between Great Wok and Video Horizon, you can:
â–º Shape your own mosaics in a class, ranging from $25 to $150 per project;
â–º Buy tools and supplies, including tesserae, Venetian glass and smalti;
â–º Buy artwork; and
â–º Buy studio time at $7 an hour, or less if you buy 10 hours for $50.
Sign up in May and get a free DVD, "Mosaic Art 2005, a Celebration of Incredible Diversity and Cotemporary Mosaic Art."
Head toward the Heights for a visit. Relax amid stones, with themes ancient and modern, set on walls painted from whisper yellow to Turquoise Bay.