Round Pond Artist Liz Martone’s Massive Mosaic Gems Are Simply Brilliant 

Her cut-glass creations, some nearly three feet tall, are designed to bounce color and light around a room.

Glass artist Liz Martone in her blinged-out studio
Glass artist Liz Martone in her blinged-out studio
By Jesse Ellison
Photos by Hannah Hoggatt
From our November 2023 issue

The golden hour in Liz Martone’s Round Pond studio is from one to three in the afternoon. That’s when light pours through the windows on three sides, striking the “disco bubbles” — artful takes on disco balls she fashions from tiny hand-cut mirrored squares attached to irregularly shaped papier-mâché forms — and sending droplets of rainbow-hued light around the room. Other glass mosaics come alive too: glittering serving trays bearing ornate patterns, a skateboard deck depicting Cleopatra in a towering golden headdress (part of Martone’s “Ladies with Funky Hair” series), and multifaceted gems that would make the Hope Diamond look lilliputian. On a large table set before a pair of windows, an intricate drawing of a round diamond is partially filled in with the complex medley of glass shards Martone will affix with grout. The latest in a line of bling that includes amethysts, emeralds, and tourmalines, the nearly three-foot-tall sparkler will eventually be sold and hung on a wall, where it will bounce color and light around another room. 

A New Jersey native, Martone studied illustration at Syracuse University, in New York, then landed a job at a mosaics studio in Manhattan, where she found the painstaking nature of inlay work suited her. “My hands are always busy, so I think I just picked up on the tactile quality of glass cutting,” she says. In 2012, she launched her business, EFM Studio, with a line of glass-mosaic gems called “The Rocks That I Got,” after a Jennifer Lopez lyric. “It was about combining my urban environment with science and nature and doing it on a large scale to play with color and light,” she says. Eight years later, she relocated to Round Pond, where her parents own a home. Now, she crafts her baubles in a pine-paneled aerie above the dining room in the 19th-century farmhouse she shares with her husband, Mike Bannon.

When she’s not in her studio, Martone serves as a co-curator at Bristol’s The Good Supply (which sells her mosaics), runs a summer art camp for kids, and helps Bannon manage their 25-acre farm, where they raise vegetables, chickens, and pigs. “People always joke, ‘You’re a girl from North Jersey, lived in the city, and now you’re a pig farmer?’” Martone says with a laugh. “And I tell them, ‘I’m living the dream.’”

Tell Us More
Liz Martone

Where do you find your mosaic materials?

My favorite place is Maine Art Glass Studio, in Lisbon Falls. It’s an old church and they have glass art and supplies and, in the basement, they refurbish stained-glass windows. I buy my glass in sheets so I can cut it down according to my project needs. I’ve also experimented with items like stones and mica. 

How do you cut the glass? 

It has taken a lot of years of practice and a lot of Band-Aids. Some people use grinders or saws, but I use hand tools. I use a glass cutter to score the glass, breaking pliers to break it, and a nipper to take the final edge off. At this point, I can pretty much get my desired result in a couple cuts.

How does making art here compare to making art in the city?

My first studio, in Brooklyn, I shared with two other people and we had no windows. Now, I’m like, “Mike, there are five windows! And they’re all mine!” To be able to look out at the pasture and, when you need that mental break, play in the garden, I feel like I’m describing a fake experience because it makes me that happy.

Martone’s mosaic gems, skateboard decks, disco bubbles, and trays are on display and for sale ($125–$2,200) at The Good Supply, in Bristol.

Down East Magazine, March 2024 cover

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