Made in Sarasota

By staff June 1, 2003

Randy Lassalle always had a special place in her heart for art. Even as she pursued a career in advertising in Baltimore and New York and busied herself with her two children (now 12 and 13), she attended classes in everything from batik to jewelry making.

Eventually, however, Lassalle found her way to the talent that is her business today: custom glass mosaic work, which adorns everything from cabinets to tabletops and window valances. Although she's marketed some pieces through regional and national catalogues before, Lassalle is now officially hanging up a shingle-"Mosaics by Randy Lassalle"-outside her Siesta Key home studio. In fact, her gorgeous, airy house is a good place to see some of her work. An eye-catching example is the blue, silver-gray and white mosaic that adorns the valances she built above her living room windows, their almost aboriginal design winking in the sunlight and framing the tropical view outside.

Lassalle creates the pieces in her basement studio, a room filled with sheets of iridescent glass: cream, cherry red, lime green, magenta with swirls. She sketches designs onto the surface of her pieces before cutting and pasting the glass onto the design. No piece of glass is larger than a quarter of an inch, and cutting and sizing them-all of which Lassalle does by hand-is a painstaking, sometimes tedious, process. She experiments with textures, sometimes deliberately "roughing up" pieces to create a more weathered feeling.

The best thing about her craft, Lassalle says, is its versatility. Glass mosaic can be used to adorn windowsills, backsplashes, mantelpieces, countertops, mirror frames and valances, giving them a permanent, attractive custom appearance. Although she began with geometric designs, she has started to focus more on intricate, artful themes, and also on the tropical motifs-turtles, palm trees-that have inspired her since she moved to Sarasota nearly three years ago. Colors, too, are vivid and bright, like the russet touched with gold leafing she chose for the roots of a banyan tree featured in one piece.

"When the light shines on them, it's beautiful," says Lassalle. And though creating them is time-consuming and meticulous, it's a process she loves.

"It's therapeutic," she says. "I put my music on, I shut the door, and I'm happy as a clam."

Lassalle made her debut on the local design scene when her glass mosaic table appeared in the 2003 ASID Showhouse. She continues to hone her craft, attending workshops here and in Europe, and is happy to work with clients and designers to create custom pieces. Prices begin at about $350 for mirrors and go up from there, varying according to the complexity of the piece.

You can contact Mosaics by Randy Lassalle at (941) 349-3509 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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