Keyton | A life immersed in colour ​

A life immersed in colour ​

Friday, 10 November 2023

A trip to Barcelona on a Mediterranean cruise reignited Henry Kendall Gardens resident Lyn McKenzie’s love of glasswork. 

Inspired by the abundance of colourful mosaics throughout the city, her passion was piqued. She brought a few small pieces home, then jumped on Facebook, where she found a whole community of fellow mosaic-lovers to encourage her interest. Soon, she was sourcing tiles, china, and sheet glass and began experimenting.

Embracing creativity in challenging times

"It was at the start of Covid—I bought a glass cutter from my old lead lighting teacher,” she says. “I started fiddling around and watching the videos that are available online. You can just about teach yourself anything from the internet!"

Lyn has always had a creative streak. At high school in New Zealand, she learned to sew in home economics and never looked back. "My son’s a drag queen and I help him sew all his costumes—we just finished an amazing one!" Later, she dabbled in painting and drawing. About fifteen years ago, she started lead lighting, drawn to the challenge of working with glass and its many possibilities.

However, she developed carpal tunnel in her right hand and had to stop. "When you’re cutting glass, you need a really good strong grip." But Barcelona gave her the courage to try working with glass again in a different way.

One of Lyn's mosaic art pieces One of Lyn's mosaic art pieces

Creativity as self-expression

"I’m not brilliant at anything, I just like to give it a go. Creativity brings you back to nature, back to the things you love and enjoy. And doing different things helps you express yourself in different ways." The piece chosen for the resident art trail was Lyn’s first attempt at glass on glass, a technique she learned at a workshop. When she brought the piece home and put it in her office window, she was pleased with how well the floral design reflected the garden outside. From here, she began to look more closely at patterns in nature and how she might represent them.

Lyn enjoyed sharing her creative skills in her role as a disability support worker, a job she did for many years. Seeing the pride and pleasure others found in their accomplishments brought her great satisfaction. "What I really enjoyed was teaching my clients all the different things that I can do." She introduced mosaics to one client who was keen to advance beyond painting, drawing, and sewing. "He loved it! He said, 'This is my new favourite hobby!' We ended up doing mosaics for about two years."

A colourful retirement at Henry Kendall Gardens

Five years ago, Lyn retired and moved to Henry Kendall Gardens on the Central Coast. With the forest right on her doorstep, and plenty of windows opening to the trees and the birds, she loves the spot. "It's a really nice place to live. It makes me very happy to have colour, and my house is very colourful. The walls are cream, but I’ve just covered them with paintings—They're everywhere!" she laughs.

She has added unique touches to her kitchen renovation and now she’s doing the splashbacks in her new bathroom: "Just a little frieze along the top. I’ve been sick for a few months, and I think this is my creativity coming back again. Because if you don’t use it, you lose it."

Lyn's kitchen with mosaic splashback Lyn's kitchen features a mosaic splashback

Enriching adventures and future projects

Travel remains a passion for Lyn. She likes taking the opportunity to explore new creative techniques on her adventures. "I’ve visited Bali a few times. I go to an art retreat in Mount Batukaru and train with an Australian lady, who teaches the principles of mandalas. She takes us all around to look at carvings, and there are lots of lotus flowers and water lilies, we’re drawing all different shapes. That’s a really amazing time."

Lyn’s next project is a koi fishpond mosaic tabletop. She has other plans in mind, too, for when she finds a quiet moment. "One day I might mosaic a mandala. I’ve got one drawn out, ready. Now that I’m retired I should have lots of time, but it’s amazing—you never have as much time as you think you’ll have. I’ve got a lot of things going on; I go to yoga, and I cycle and kayak—I can barely fit in time for doing the washing!"

Learn more about Henry Kendall Gardens.

For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550

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