Meet Our Instructors: Luz Mack Durini

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When Luz Mack Durini first learned of Piece by Piece, she had no idea she would find herself teaching mosaic art, working with an incredible group of inner-city artists, and leading large public art projects. Luz started working with Piece by Piece almost six years ago, and she has become an integral part of the organization's instructor team. Her technical prowess in all things mosaic combined with her keen sense of detail keep all of our artists and instructors alike striving to raise the bar in their personal and community work.

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Red Borealis by Luz Mack Durini

Luz started out working in stained glass. From the beginnings of a small votive to refined mirrors to exquisite fine art, Luz has always pushed the envelope in this medium. Her education is extensive and she is always taking workshops to improve her work and expand her vision.

This drive for excellence is an inspiration to many of our participant artists. At every workshop, artist are always asking her advice on grout color, adhesives, or design. She is tough, they all know, but she is honest and she truly cares about helping our artists become the best they can be.

Luz class

Recently, Piece by Piece was awarded a public art project through the Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency and A Community of Friends. Luz and Dawn Mendelson collaborated on unique design for Villas at Gower, a permanent supportive housing development for homeless, at-risk of homelessness or families dealing with mental illness. The entire Piece by Piece team including founder Sophie Alpert, our instructors and participant artists all worked for almost two years to complete this amazing project. It was a wonderful accomplishment that has led to many other large opportunities.

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Dawn Mendelson and Luz Mack Durini with leaf from Villas at Gower public art project.

We asked Luz a few questions about her relationship with mosaic and with Piece by Piece:

How did you come to mosaic art?

 I bought a mosaic candle holder that I lit during the night.  It gave me such joy to look at the shapes, the colors and the reflections bouncing on the wall! Soon enough, I found myself trying to make a mosaic...that was more than 15 years ago and I haven't stop since then.

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Oro Blanco by Luz Mack Durini

What do you like about it?

Mosaic is an amazingly flexible and approachable media that I can do at my own pace. It does not require a big or a special fitted space, it can be done with the simplest of tools and it can be made with practically every single material available that is new, recycled or repurposed. Mosaics can be functional, non-functional, flat, tridimensional, kinetic, can be used for dry or wet applications, can be created for indoor and outdoor spaces,  private or public locations. Mosaics offer unlimited possibilities that inspire me, give me  comfort, fuel my passion and keep me connected.

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by Luz Mack Durini

What is your inspiration? 

Materials, textures, shapes, colors, music, architecture, beauty, nature, art.

Do you have a favorite artist who influences your work?

I am moved by a lot of artists and artistic expressions.  I feel all the interactions in life influence my work.

Luz Jose Juan

What do you like about

Piece by Piece

?

It's an amazing organization that through art gives the opportunity for growth to all who are involved.  It provides a nourishing environment to develop confidence, creativity, and teamwork; it promotes connections and creates friendships. The instructors are people that I respect, love and consider my family.

What do you see in the future for

Piece by Piece

?

I see Piece by Piece continuing its growth, embracing more participants and representing a strong art mosaic force in Los Angeles.

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Dawn Mendelson

Dawn Mendelson has provided leadership in the development of Piece by Piece since 2007. She has over time built an arts curriculum for participants that fosters learning in design, drawing, creativity and collage mosaic technique. As Piece by Piece Artistic Director, she steers the vision for workshops held at a variety of locations. Dawn specializes in pique assiette, a style of mosaic which uses recycled materials. She has been featured on HGTV and Dawn was twice selected as Educator with the Mayor's Gang Reduction Program. Her passion is working with people, especially those who are new to art, and enjoying their moments of self-discovery.