The making of “Wine up the Hill”, 2017


The making of “Wine up the Hill”, 2017

©Glass Art By Alley |

Vineyard scenes with a freehand approach  

When I create art with wine/ vineyards as a theme, my whole creative process is freehand. Memories (from having worked in the wine industry for a number of years) triggered the design.

I start off with a rough sketch to get an idea of where the main elements will go. The body takes shape as I go, while the details are influenced by my state of mind at the time of creation. There is a constant override of initial plans/ lines throughout this process.

I remember

“Wine up the hill” is set amongst vineyards, where wine is being enjoyed halfway up the hill. The scene itself was inspired memories made with good friends during wine harvest. After a session of Sunday afternoon pump-overs and punch-downs, we would grab some wine and glasses, and then drove up the hill to spend the rest of the afternoon overlooking the most amazing views that our Stellenbosch winelands has to offer. Sadly, we took no photos, so memories are all we have.

It’s been coming on for a while now… 

I started with this piece back in 2015 and for various personal reasons, left it halfway.

Erm, yeah, so the screwcap went on before the label.

It was only when a fellow mosaicist from South Africa passed on in 2016, that I committed myself to completing this piece in Cher’s honour.

For seven months though, I could not get myself to touch this piece. The reason for this delay only became clear once I plucked up the courage to get going… completing this would feel too final… and I was not ready.

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I started this one in August 2015. Then in 2016, when a fellow mosaicist passed away, I vowed to finish this piece in her honour, because she was like a fairy godmother to me when I started out my mosaic art journey. On one very special day, she commented on my work and said "the gods favour the brave". For the past 7 months, it has been difficult for me to work on this piece, because completing it would feel too final… and I was not ready. Today, I have finally found the inspiration, planted 2 more blocks of vines, and laid down most of the road. This one is for you 🌺Cher🌺. I will never forget you, because part of you will be present in every mosaic I create… always. 💕 #mosaic #art #wine #wineglass #vineyard #landscape #glassartbyalley #iamalley

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Cher Manning was a very talented, kind and helpful soul, and had a great influence on my mosaic journey during those years.


It’s personal

The feelings were running high and, looking back, I can actually pick up on the difference between the parts which now also represent different timelines in my life.

The sky came at the most difficult time. I made an entry that evening.

After a very emotional weekend, I emerged with a renewed energy and created the wine label. It was as if the completion of that phase of my journey (it felt like a very dark tunnel) unlocked a different level of creative thinking.

When I created the wine label, I thought about about the water-crises we are currently facing in the Western Cape, and the ongoing environmental sustainability scheme that is implemented by many wine producers.

Grouting  is the fun part where I get down and dirty and have a release of all things serious.



The final cleanup and polish is a more quiet and peaceful process. This is where I get to reflect on the journey traveled as I touch each piece one more time, and I get to appreciate what I have accomplished.

I feel content. I feel satisfied. I have peace.

"Wine-up-the-hill", 2017-Original-Mosaic-Art-By-Allison-S-Adams-glassartbyalley
“Wine-up-the-hill”, 2017 (60x60cm)

I think that there will definitely be a “Wine ON the hill” someday… when the time is right.

I am Alley and I create Art…
… because it helps me to better understand
the person I would like to become.

Raw. Untainted. Unfiltered.
View my art HERE.

Allison Samantha Adams is a qualified winemaker and self-taught artist living in Cape Town, South Africa. Read more