The Roundabout has a new look thanks to our local artist Aimee Harman. The talented artist gives us an insight into the project and her incredible Mosaics.
Have you always lived in Peacehaven?
I HAVE LIVED IN PEACEHAVEN FOR 27 YEARS NOW. ORIGINALLY I AM FROM CALIFORNIA AND I MOVED TO ENGLAND WHEN I WAS ABOUT 6. I have lived in the same house in peacehaven with a young family, which I have now covered in mosaics. My Home has become an inspiration to me and after lockdown I wish to start workshops from home.
I read an article in the Argus that said that you started making mosaics as a way of entertaining your daughter, had you already studied art or design during college or university?
When I left school I went to north Devon College to do an art degree, I ended up only completing a year of the course as I fell pregnant with my eldest son who is now 35. So I was never able to pursue my passion for art, so that came later in life. The mosaics started as a hobby, me and my daughter attended an evening class, she did pottery and I did mosaics, just from that one evening I was hooked. The Mosaics started as a hobby but quickly became a career as I was so passionate about them and they became quite addictive.
How did the first project start on the dell?
The original project started by me contacting the town council in 1998 as I often drove past the dell roundabout and I always thought it was very drab. I was teaching from home at the time, me and my friend Lyndsay created the panels and took them to a council meeting to show the councillors our idea of fishes and waves and they loved them. We received sponsorship from a mosaic company and all the tiles were paid for by them. Once the mosaic panels were on the roundabout I started to receive a lot of publicity from it, which led to everything in my life changing from being a hobbyist to almost a professional very shortly afterwards.
I understand that you produced a piece for the orient express, how did that come about?
Following on from the publicity from the roundabout the Argus did a wonderful piece, and the reporter wrote a lovely article, which was picked up by a gentleman who lived in Peacehaven who worked on the Orient Express and he took the article to work to show his project manager, who then called me saying they would like me to come to London and have a look at the mosaic floors. When I arrived in London I was quite nervous as I didn’t know about restoration work, so I went away and did some research and worked out how to restore the mosaics. I have now been restoring and maintaining the floors for over 20 years and I have a contract with Belmond who are now the new owners of the Orient Express.
How did the latest project on the Dell roundabout start and can you tell us about how you come up with the new theme
In 2017 I wrote a letter to the council expressing my interest in replacing the panels free of charge, the theme was a rainbow idea, this idea seemed absolutely perfect when lockdown started as I was unable to work or see my grandson which meant I had a lot of time on my hands. The idea behind the theme was to incorporate bees as the world needs to know how important they are, so I felt if I could theme the roundabout with bees and colours and flowers that attract bees it would be a beautiful way to express my art. Also the single words of encouragement and inspiration would make people of the town think of how to ‘bee’. I just began the project, which really helped me through the lockdown as it gave me a release and it lifted me.
Have you got any other projects lined up in the near future?
Before the lock down I had a commission to create a floor in the Northern Bell which is a sister train of the Orient Express. I had been sent the template for the new floor and I had brought the tiles ready to start the floor but I wasn’t happy with the shape of the template, so with all the tiles I brought I used the tiles to make the mosaics on the roundabout instead, so the roundabout is partly sponsored by me and the other tiles were kindly donated by hobbyisland.co.uk.