Hi I’m Helen Bushell  and along with Will Bushell, my partner, we make up the artists of Summerhouse Art.  As the official blogger for Summer House Art blog I’d like to tell you a bit about us.


We’re both graduates of the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, both majoring in Painting.  Will went on to take a year of Post Graduate studies at the University of Alberta as well.  We made the move to our favorite holiday destination, Victoria, years ago and love it here. And although we both still paint, we also explore and work in other mediums as well.

The fact that we’re a couple of artists who happen to recycle, has had a way of working into our art forms.  We create mosaics from old dishes and ornaments, collages from found objects and ephemera, and lately have even taken to creating some art furniture too with found furniture . Most of all, we believe that the world is an abundant place…as long as you like second hand.

And we do like second hand!  Spring, summer and fall will find us happily spending our Saturdays garage sailing.  And all year we’re in the Thrift shops.

We also enjoy beach combing and have started to create jewelry from beach glass and pottery and driftwood we find.  You can find that on our Etsy shop FoundMadeArt.

We hope you have some time to browse all that we have to offer.

We love teaching mosaics and have enjoyed passing on the fun of recycling to many student over the years.

I have set up a gallery of mosaic posts as well with links to posts about them.  A general Mosaic gallery is also available.

And please check out our work on some online shops, like, Red BubbleSociety 6 and Zazzle.

Will also features more of his thoughts and work in fine art and photography on his blogs:  Marks on Marks,  Image on Image.

He has work featured on Saatchi as well, where you can purchase originals and prints.

Serendipity is our motto.

The gift of being able to make delightful discoveries by pure accident.

Coined by Horace Walpole after the “Three Princes of Serendip”







15 thoughts on “About

  1. Skye says:

    Helen, I LOVE your blog!! It’s absolutely wonderful 🙂 I’m having a ball checking out your daily Santas, so nice to see them showcased in little groups like that!

  2. Ruth says:

    Hey There
    Awesome job on the blog, Helen. I really enjoyed reading about your Santa.s. Will continue to do so. Take care

  3. Marie says:

    Hi Helen,

    I have just found your website whilst trying to get inspiration for my next mosaic piece and I absolutely love, love, love your work. I have about 5 small projects in various stages at the moment and they all utilise old dinnerware, china, ornaments etc. Although I have hit a stumbling block as I am not totally sure how to apply some of the ‘more’ 3D pieces. Perhaps you can help with letting me know your preferred method if you wouldn’t mind? Obviously as I am in Australia I can’t attend a class but if I ever make it over your way that will be the first thing on my ‘to do list’. Thanks. Marie

  4. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Marie. Happy to get your comment about my work, and glad you love it too. As for how to apply the 3D pieces it really depends on a few factors. For one, the glue you are using. I use a glue that is used for tile application, so it’s got a lot of body and dries hard. You may have it in Australia, it’s called Mapei Ultramastic ECO. (BTW this mastic is only good for interior pieces.) If you don’t have that, try to find a good tile mastic. I prefer a mastic that is solvent free, which is better for my health. I use that to glue down all the pieces of dishes and tiles and ornaments too.

    The other factor is the 3D piece. If the piece is big, or if it has a texture that will collect grout, or if it’ll be difficult to grout around, I’ll often leave a space for it and tile around that space. Then when I grout I’ll keep that space free of grout then add the 3D piece, often keeping it in place, until the mastic dries, with masking tape. If there are little grout-free spaces around the base of the 3D piece, I carefully either grout and fill in the spaces around the base of it then or wait until the glue has dried and then mix up a tiny bit of grout and fill in any spaces left. Sometimes I’ll glue the piece in and protect it with tape and plastic while grouting.

    Hope this helps. I find it’s really always a case of creatively solving a problem and “making it up as you go along”. Maybe one day when you can you could email me some photos of your projects. I’d love to see what you are up to too.

  5. Helen says:

    Not totally sure what you mean by cantilevered pieces but I’ll assume you mean things that are jutting out of the mosaic. So basically if it is something that seems as if it’s on a shelf, that’s because there is a shelf made. The bases are made with plywood and when we have a shelf, it also is made from plywood. The shelf is screwed on from the back and also glued on with wood glue. Hope that answers your question. As for gluing pieces down for interior mosaics I use a mastic or tile glue. For exterior I use mortar.

    An example of a shelf made would be in this post of the Bridges of London mosaic.
    Thanks so much for looking at my blog and thanks for your comment and question too.

  6. Julia Hetherington says:

    Hi Helen,
    You followed one of my Pinterest boards, so naturally I checked out your Pinterest and WOW! What a kindred spirit…..too many wonderful paintings, up cycled, etc etc to pin. Your passions are my passions (apart from your partner of course!) and this was perfect synchronicity as yesterday i primed a small table top to start making it into an outdoor mosaic table…..I’ve never done mosaic before but my garden must have been the village dump and I have dug up huge quantities of blue and white China……….exciting! All very inspiring?.. Thank you

  7. Helen says:

    Hi Julia, I agree we are kindred spirits on Pinterest. I’m enjoying seeing what you are pinning. And I hope you’ll have fun with the table top. Lucky you with all that blue and white china to find in the garden. Thank you so much for your comments too.

  8. Marianne Goodrich says:

    Hi Helen – as always, I love your posts and look forward to new ones with great pleasure!! Enjoyed Gail and Jane’s lovely mosaics – such harmony in the movement and colours of their designs! And I always find inspiration and encouragement in all the pieces you create. Hope you and Will are well and happy, and enjoying the warm weather. All the best,

  9. Helen says:

    Hi Marianne, Hope you’re enjoying the great summer we’re having here in paradise. Enjoyed your website too BTW. Good work there!

  10. Diane says:

    Am enjoying reading your instructions about making stepping stones. Can you please tell me if thinset is the same as quick set. Thanks.

  11. Helen says:

    Hi Diane,
    Thinset, here, is the same as Mortar, which is what you use to put up a brick wall, for instance. So ask for mortar. You are looking for an adhesive mortar. We use a dry mix and add water, less waste.
    Quickset, as far as we know, is a mixture of cement and gravel made for putting in fence post holes or where you need a fast setting cement. I’ve changed the term in the post so as to be clearer. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Hope that helps.

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