Michele Pasciullo's dream has always been to be a full-time artist, but people around her had persuaded her not to follow that path, claiming that she wouldn't be able to make a living by selling arts and crafts.
"I was kind of pushed out of it," Pasciullo said. "People were like, 'Oh, that's not a real job.'"
Pasciullo, a resident of Ocean City, is proving them all
Sitting in her living room, which doubles as her art studio, Pasciullo spoke recently about her life as a full-time mosaic artist and how she got to where she is now. Scattered across her dining room table were hundreds of tiny pieces of colored glass and half-finished projects, including the frame of a clock, a small square mural and a seashore-themed mosaic dish created specifically to hold beach tags, one of her "best sellers," she said.
Her home is also decorated with a bunch of her finished pieces, from the small coffee table that sits in front of her couch topped with rainbowed glass pieces to the picture frames that hold family portraits and the door stopper that greets people upon entrance to her home, to name just a few.
Pasciullo stumbled upon mosaic art after losing her office job about five years ago, she said, which she now refers to "one the best things that's ever happened to me."
"After that, I decided I might as well do something I really like," she said. "I had a degree in graphic design, but I don't really like using the computer to produce art. I like to working with my hands."
Searching for her passion and wanting to get out of the house, Pasciullo wandered over to a local craft shop where customers can make their artwork on-site, and she began crafting a mosaic, piece by piece. By the time she was finished, she was hooked.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, I love this,'" she said, as she showed off her very first mosaic, which now hangs on the wall in her guest room.
From there, she enrolled in a few mosaic workshops and began perfecting her craft. Today, she's a full-time artist who sells her artwork at shops throughout her hometown, including Stainton's Gallery of Shops and Arts on Asbury, both on Asbury Avenue, as well as at the Maple Tree in Seaville and the William Ris Gallery in Stone Harbor.
Pasciullo also teaches beginner mosaic workshops at the local libraries and is looking into selling mosaic craft kits, which would include a little bit of grout and glass. Maybe, that way, she will inspire someone else to find their calling in art.
"I'm lucky to be doing what I love," she said.
Contact Elisa Lala:
Upcoming mosaic workshops
Mosaic Garden Brick two session workshop, 1-3 p.m. June 7 and 14 Sea Isle City Library - adult program, pre-reg required
Mosaic Night Light two session workshop, 1-3 p.m. July 12 and 19 Sea Isle City Library - adult program, pre-reg required
Dig Into Reading Mosaic, 10-11 a.m. July 10 Ocean City Library - children's summer reading program grades 4-8, pre-reg requested, but not required
Visit purplelotusmosaics.com for details on all of the programs, will also be listed and updated as more are added.