Stars overhead. Portals for beauty.

There is a place in Ravenna, Italy where mosaic stars twinkle overhead the tomb of Empress Galla Placidia. Central to her field of stars is a cross designed to impress us with the Christian notion of immortality and ever-lasting life.

This weekend at the studio:

Doran Studio Dallas, TX


I died for beauty, but was scarce

Adjusted in the tomb,

When one who died for truth was lain

In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?

"For Beauty," I replied.

"And I - for Truth, - the two are one;

We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,

We talked between the rooms,

Until the moss had reached our lips,

And covered up our names.

               Emily Dickenson 

Doran Studio Dallas, TX

We began installing the stars of Ravenna Side Tour project.  Back in the month of February we hosted two art events where folks joined us in an art experience and made several stars for the front of the studio.  Now we have a bit of cooler weather in which to install them.  May they be portals for beauty.

Doran Studio Dallas, TX


After a sabbatical I am back to teaching classes at the Creative Arts Center of Dallas.  What a joyful experience it is!  One former student has returned and brought a portrait of her mother to share with us.  I share it with you so you can see why I get so excited about teaching.

Dr. Mi Yang Min is enthusiastic about mosaic art.  Her plan is to return to Korea as a mosaic teacher.  We are spreading the love of tesserae around the globe!  It puts a smile on my face to see these unfolding self expressions of joy.  Dr. Mi will be an excellent teacher.  I am so proud of her.


Side Tour

We are excited to announce our partnership with Side Tour, a company hosting a variety of experiences with artisans.  Come join us in our studio and create part of a landmark mosaic mural while discovering the art of mosaic artists across the world.  Each event will focus on a different mosaic style from the ancient to the new.

This series of events will be held in small groups of 4-12.  Experience the world of Doran Studio and meet some cool new friends.  We provide all the materials, tools and safety equipment. Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes.  Take home a little gift from us to you.  We look forward to meeting you.

To sign up for an event go to the SIDE TOUR website.  This is going to be a blast!

End. Begin.

It's the end of a year.  2014.  

We've had the most generous clients ever.  Thank you. 

This custom glass on glass mosaic panel was designed with Mid-Century Modern in mind.  It's a privacy panel for a bath and is supported by a frame created by the sculptor, Daniel Sellers. You can meet Dan and take welding classes with him through the Creative Arts Center, Dallas, Texas.  He's one of those artists without a website or even a portfolio.  His integrity and the quality of his work is enough cred.

I have to say this, I know the best people.  It's one of my gifts.  I cherish my relationships and share them with you as a way of passing on the wealth.  

2015.  Begin.

The new year brings many exciting opportunities for the studio.  One is a mosaic show co-curated by Jamie Pink Weisbrod and Katrina Doran.  We invite you to enter your mosaic work based on stories from the Old Testament and the story of Passover.  All mosaic styles will be considered.


Location: The Museum of Biblical Art, Dallas, Texas

Application deadline: February 16, 2015

Show dates: March 29, 2015 - June 7, 2015

Register: Juried Art Services


Ice Cream for Breakfast

Yesterday, I tried out a new recipe I made up and this morning I ate it for breakfast.  Yes, it's that good.  So, I am sharing it with you.

 A coconut milk ice cream delight.

A coconut milk ice cream delight.

Caramel Banana Ice Cream with Pecans and Dark Chocolate


2 T. butter

1/2 c. unrefined sugar

2 ripe bananas, sliced

1/2 c. pecan pieces

pinch of salt (I used Himalayan salt because it's pink and pretty)

dash of vanilla

2 cans Thai coconut milk, unsweetened and chilled

1/2 c. dark chocolate chunks (you can cut up your favorite chocolate bar or use chips)

To make:

Melt butter and sugar in a pan, stirring until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize.  Add sliced bananas and pecans and continue stirring.  I stir until it feels right to me.  I know this is not technical.  It's how I cook.  What you are looking for is a not-too-sticky caramel with a medium consistency.  This process requires your attention as the butter can readily burn.  Keep stirring.

It will look something like this when you are done:

 Caramelized bananas and pecans.

Caramelized bananas and pecans.

Add a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla.  Stir.  Set aside and let cool.

I keep my coconut milk in the refrigerator at least over night.  I shake the can before I put it in the frig and again when I take it out.  Research on the internet says this brand of coconut milk works best for ice cream (check out my Pinterest recipes board-Delicious).  I've tried many brands and they all work pretty well, however I find myself using this one most often.



Shake your cans really well or open into a bowl and gently whisk to make it creamy.

I use a Cuisinart Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt and Sorbet Maker.  You can use any ice cream maker or just whisk all ingredients together and freeze.  Assemble the ice cream maker and turn it on.  Pour the coconut milk into the unit.  After it has churned in the machine for about 20 minutes, add small drops of the caramelized bananas and pecans to the mix.  Next, add the dark chocolate chunks. When thoroughly mixed, pour the ice cream into a freezer container, seal well and let it set up overnight.

Sweet and cool.  Enjoy!

A Little Bit of Love Food

In addition to making mosaic art and sculpture, I am an avid cook.  My mother taught me the basics and I seemed to have a natural inclination for combining tasty treats.  We are having a memorial for her next month and as I am preparing the service, I find myself wandering off to cook.  Lately, the obsession is ice cream made with coconut milk.  Let's just say, delicious.  I also hear it's healthy.  I guess that's a bonus!  Anyways, I'm working that one with my guinea pig friends.  Yep, this stuff is good for you.

The current recipe is Caramel Banana Pecan with Dark Chocolate Chips.  I'll let you know if it turns out.  If so, I will even post the recipe.

Here's to cooking with mom!

May your life be delicious.

Little Picassos

Here's what can happen when pre-schoolers create a mosaic table for their art auction.

Each child painted whatever they liked on a piece of rag paper. Strings, dipped in black paint were used to make bold lines over each painting. The paintings were attached to a coffee table and the children placed colored glass tiles around the edges of the table to make a colorful border. Shattered safety glass was used to cover the surface of the paintings and the table was grouted in black. The name of each artist can be seen through the glass.


The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project caught my eye a few years back and I am now ready to participate.  Ideas for the making of things arise in my awareness and ebb and flow in my life as I choose to take action or not.   Some things occur as a calling.  All works are somehow related.  I don't always know where these makings will take me.

What I am aware of at this point in time is that I am drawn to making things with pages from my dad's old books.  Some of these makings will lead to mosaics.  This project is a space in which I can explore and examine that which is desiring to make itself known. 


Math is beautiful.

I always think of my sister when I use tape.  She wrapped our presents in an eccentric and obsessive fashion that made us savor the opening of the gift.  We often laughed at the madness induced by having to take so long to get inside a single box.  All the boxes were wrapped that way.  I don't have the same amount of patience with tape.

Dad died and left his books.  He had all of his books, ever, including his books from college.  I understand.  I have a huge library in my studio.  We inherit books, we save books, we savor books.

My son is a print-maker and a book-maker.  His birthday is soon.  I am making art pages for him to print on from Dad's book, Tables of Functions with Formulae and Curves . The book is written in German and English. It is very beautiful. 

Who is my son?  Taylor Pierre Bryant

You can see his work here: 




I am a dreamy girl.  Off in my head, I wander to places imagined, I tread paths unknown and I dream of things yet to be.  I am an amazing cook.  I learned from my mother and inherited generations of good cooking genes.  Somehow, I know how to combine herbs, roots, vegetables, etc. to make an offering of deliciousness to the body.  The flavors, textures, tastes and smells arrive in my mind with absolutely no effort at all and my body then moves in accordance with that knowing to make something good to eat.  It's an inspired way to cook and when I cook for  someone it's especially good. I love to cook.  It is a privilege and a treat to have so much to select from, or challenging when there is very little.  Making mosaics is very much the same.  I dream, I imagine, and then I discover the delicious process of piecing it all together.  However, it's not always so easy.  There are moments galore of questioning, stepping back, pausing, looking.  More challenging to me than cooking.  I've decided to take on the practice of knowing how to make the mosaic in the same way I know how to combine ingredients for cooking.  Given I make all my mosaics for someone even when I don't always know who that person is, what would it take for me to allow myself to trust the inspiration and give up angst?  I certainly never allow angst to enter into my food making.  That almost always results in something not-so-good to eat.

   She Walks In Dreamtime

 She Walks In Dreamtime

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
— Henry David Thoreau

Call of the heart.

One of my all-time favorite stories from teaching comes from a project I did with Elementary school kids.  This particular group belonged to the Art Club and we created a mosaic splashback for their art room with the theme of Under the Sea Creatures.  One young boy in particular was especially drawn to the mosaic process.  His panel in the mosaic was of a dolphin and every two or three tesserae he placed on the mesh backing came with the exclamation, "Oh my gawd, it's so gorgeous".  To this day, I use that expression for myself when I am developing a new work.  I train my adult students to take it on as well.  It's so much fun to say.  Try it.  

In the midst of a commission and needing to handle some overdue paperwork, I find myself called to make a mosaic heart.  What for?, my brain asks.  For pleasure, I answer. 


 WIP: WISH  (smalti, rusty bits, gold, millefiori and silver backed glass)

WIP: WISH  (smalti, rusty bits, gold, millefiori and silver backed glass)


I don't think of myself as a person/artist who can draw. I know I can figure out a rendering or design and I refer to that kind of mark making as a cartoon. However, drawing is something best left to my husband, a splendid portrait artist.
Funny, the things we say about ourselves.
Tonight I let myself just draw. I used my Sketchy app and my finger. Here's what happened.
I let myself draw. I played with line and color. I noticed the moments when I wished I knew what to do next, what color to use where. And, I let myself draw. I noticed the noise of judgements arise and fall away. Used to be those noises caused me to stop, to erase all efforts, all experiments. Tonight, I am leaving things be. I am expanded in who I know myself to be. Just a tiny little bit.


Working and dreaming.

I am currently working on a sculpture that is one of two in a set.  The detailing and meticulous nature of the work is slow.  I find myself taking breaks often, looking around my work space and day dreaming.  It's a type of creative meditation for me.  Projects that have been sitting still for long periods of time resurrect themselves with a knowing of what to do next.  I move back and forth between the new and the old, playing, creating, developing and doing what I do best, dreaming new worlds.

A while back and two blog-sites ago I started a tutorial on making sculpted mosaic flowers.  The tutorial stopped as did the medium sized flower I was sculpting for that tutorial.  Now, I know what to do.  I also have new plans for small scale flowers, petite fleurs.  With time comes creative development.  New workshops on making the petite fleurs are coming soon.  Check the Classes and Workshops page every now and then for updates. 

Also in consideration is a book on making the three sizes of mosaic flowers... 

Here's a view from my working space: