Sunday, September 1, 2013

Monthly Mosaic Blog

 I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend the Chicago mosaic school for a 10 day workshop with Giulio Menossi. He did not speak English so we also had the honor of having Matteo Randi in the workshop helping with translation.   Giulio taught us the Classical Venitian Method for making mosaics which meant working with the hammer and hardie using the double reverse method.  This was very difficult to learn the precision cutting that was required.  By the end we were starting to get use to it.  Giulio did say that it takes years of practice to get to get the hang of this technique not just 10 days.
Here is my finished landscape mosaic.  We were given a few different landscape designs to choose from.  The materials that we used was Smalti.

I am glad to be home and finally getting into my next mosaic design.  It will be 2' x 3' and is for our Bedroom.  This is a play on the Jacobean prints and is representing a happy marriage. There is a female flower and a male flower and a vine that is a heart shape.   I am thinking of putting in words in the background with some of our songs we had in our wedding. I'm not sure how I will attempt this yet.

 I was thinking of just a blue and white theme but it seemed a little boring and cold.  I decided to add some other colors to warm it up.

 I am working on Wedi board and I like to paint it white first so that the glass seems lighter when place on top. You can see that I also drew the design onto the board.  I am now going through the process of deciding on materials and placement.  I started adhering the "frame" that is out of stained glass and vitreous glass.  I also made strips of stained glass to cover the edges of the Wedi board.

Here are some of the materials and colors I am thinking of using within the mosaic and will be adding yellow and a touch of red.  I like to have that "eye candy" in there. 
For hanging I decided to use two large T-nuts and a 5/16 x 5/8" bolt.  I put these on before I painted the Wedi board then put a thin coat of Apoxy Sculpt to hold it in place.

Goals for this month
-Continue my work on this current mosaic.
-Study Italian-I am heading on another educational trip to study mosaics in Ravenna Italy along with going on the Julie Richey mosaic tour!
-Attend the Mosaic Guild meeting and bring in mosaics for the show at Mosaic on a Stick.
-Attend the Art Guild meeting-we are doing some sketching outside.

Quote of the month
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"    -Lao Tzu

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Monthly Mosaic Blog

The last few months have not brought me into the studio as often as I would like.  I was able to finish my full moon mosaic minus the grouting which I will finish this month.  I am thinking of using a brownish red grout that I have.  I may use white grout for the moon to define that even more.  I thought it would be interesting to try a more organic soft look without the shine of glass and beads which I am more accustomed to.  I do like the feel and look of this and may do more. 
I used strictly Cinca unglazed tiles which come from Portugal.  I thought it would be a nice challenge since I have not used these just on there own and have a limited palette of colors.  I was planning on using the Azul (darker blue) for the background in my original sketch but found that when I went to do the background it was too close in tone to the Verde (green) that it would have washed the vines away.  So I ended up using the Brown for the background.  I thought this added nicely to the warm tones of the mosaic.  I think the black tiles would have given it a colder feel.
The Cinca tiles are easy to cut and you can use either side since the color goes all the way through, unlike other tiles. They are 7/8" x 7/8" square. When you receive them they come on a paper backing that you have to soak in warm water for a short time in which they then come off easily.  They cut very nicely with the wheeled nippers.

In June I took an art/yoga retreat at the Madeline Island Art School and found it VERY inspiring to get out my paints again and start an art journal.  I may be filling pages which could become some cool mosaics in the end.  Who knows?  It is always fun to switch gears once in awhile when we need a break from the same old routine.  Always fun to learn new things.

Speaking of learning...I am taking a ten day workshop with Guilio Mennosi the end of this month!  He is from Udine, Italy and studied in Milan under the tutelage of his master Domenico Colendani.  In 1976 he opened his own studio in Udine and is regarded as a master of high quality mosaic works employing fine technique and design.  I will be learning how to do precision cutting and technique that was used by the old masters.  The work that we will create will be done using the double reverse method on paper with smalti.  Very Intensive and VERY cool!

Goals for the month (not too many since I will be gone quit a bit)
Finish grouting Full Moon
10 day workshop with Menossi
Figure out a sketch for my next piece

Quote of the Month
"You are in the driver's seat of your life and can point your life down any road you want to travel.  You can go as fast or as slow as you want to go-and you can change the road you are on at any time."
                                                                                        -Jinger Heath

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Monthly Mosaic Blog

With attending the SAMA 2013 conference last month I have been doing more thinking then actual working on mosiacs.  This usually happens afterwords since it is information overload (in a good way!)  I have hit a point in this medium in which I am pondering what direction I would like proceed with it.  It is wonderful that there ARE several directions in which to spend my energy.  Teaching, having work in galleries, commissions, doing sculpture (large and small), being involved with large community projects, get into liscening my designs, etc.  Interesting to think about and see what works best for my personality, time and energy.

For now I will continue to plug along and figure it out as I go.

This is my 12 x 12 "Moon Garden" piece.  It was nice to try out a blue and white theme.  As you can see it has all sorts of materials within it.  Buttons, beads, marbles, glass rods, ceramic, mirror, karma tile, and other various glass tiles along with Cinca matte tiles for the background.  I have been wanting to do a play on the moon garden theme since I saw one when traveling to Florida along with seeing pictures of some.  

Since there was so much information at SAMA I am going to do  something new in my blog and share my experience along with give you a little taste of what I learned.  This month I will discuss what I learned in my Micromosaic class with Orosoni's Maestra Antonell Gellenda.  

Tools needed:  Filato rods, finished and sealed framed wood, pattern cut to fit inside of frame, file, tweezers, and putty.
1.  Take an amount of putty that will fit inside of the frame that when pressed down will fill up space halfway up the sides of the frame-Knead it first before pressing into frame.

2.  Choose a design that will fit into frame.

3.  Choose colors of filato that best suits your design.

4.  Cut out small area of the design starting in upper corner that you will start working in then place into the frame.

5.  Cut filato by filing across then breaking with fingers or tweezers depending on the thickness.  You need to cut them a consistent length so that when placing them into the putty it does not come up higher then the surface of the frame.  

6.  Start in the corner you cut out and place filato in with tweezers placing them vertically against each other.  When that area is filled in cut out the next section and continue until done.

-Make sure:  filato is being placed vertically and not slanted along with level with the frames surface.
-If you find the putty is "bunching" up you can remove excess with tweezers, you do not want the putty getting in between the filato.
-If piece is not completed in one sitting you can cover with plastic so that the putty with not dry out.

filato , frame, micro file, tweezers, lime putty

 Here is my 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" micromosaic.  This was one day of work.  You can see that this would work well for jewlery or just a small version of a mosaic design.  It was enjoyable to learn this artform which dates back to  Rome in the 1700's when mosaicist Giacomo Raffaelli invented a flinty mixture that could be spun and turned into wands from which he obtained tiny pieces that he used in 1775 to produce micromosaics.

I found a helpful website which you can learn more and get materials is

Here is my latest mosaic I am working on.  I decided to dust off those jars of Cinca tiles and do a mosaic with just them-no other materials will be in this.  It is definitely a different way for me to work since I LOVE using all different materials.  Next month I will discuss more where these tiles come from and what tools I have been using for this.  It has been fun to do something different.

Goals for the month
-Finish current mosaic
-Sketch each time I am in the studio.  This has been something new I started-I have been taking the first 1/2 hour of my worktime in my studio doing a 4" x 4" sketch.  It is meditative and I feel very productive after (I feel that I actually completed something).
-Take a look at a new commission I may be starting.  I will take pictures of the space and post next month.

Quote of the month
"What comes from the heart goes to the heart".  -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Monday, April 1, 2013

Another goal met!  I finished "Bloom and Grow"  just in time for the Minnesota Mosaic Guild Show.  This took about 85 hours to finish.  I am happy with the colors, texture and energy of the piece.  This is 24" x 36" on birchwood.  Along with all the different materials (stained glass, beads, buttons, vitreous glass, karma tile,glass rods,and a metal charm)I incorportated a homemade tile with a "D" and a butterfly, which I like to add to most of my pieces.   After its stay at the Hopkins Center for the Arts it will be making its final destination to my brother and sister-in law's home.  I am excited to have them see it in person and for them to hang it on their wall. What a fun project!
My next project will be for the SAMA Salon show in Tacoma Washington.  I need to finish it by next Monday since I am heading the SAMA on Tuesday, nothing like last minute again.  This is a 12 x 12 since it had to be within a certain size for the show.  This is called "Moon Garden" and will have a dark blue background made from Cinca Tile and I will be incorporating MANY white "moons" in the background falling to the bottom of the "garden".  I want this to have an elegant feel to it.  I like how it is looking so far.  The "moons"  will be many materials-beads, buttons, pearls, karma tile, stained glass and other various tiles.  I bordered the piece with ceramic 1/4" x 1" tiles that I like to get from  my favorite online store Wits End.

Goals for the month
-Finish "Moon Garden"
-Attend SAMA.  I will be helping with a community project, going to workshops, lectures, tours and lots of networking!
-Attend my first Buffalo Art Guild Board meeting and taking the minutes.
-Start my next project.

Quote of the month
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost."     -Martha Graham

Friday, March 1, 2013

Monthly Mosaic Blog

I took some time off this month to get some sun but it definitely put me behind schedule.  Sometimes we need a breather to get away and rejuvinate.  I always come back refreshed with new perspectives and my creative juices in overdrive.  I have been working pretty steady the last week to try and get my next mosaic complete.  My goal is to get this one done by Monday the 4th-hum,quite the challenge.  I found the orange area hard to get the right color I wanted so resorted to putting in some smalti.  Grouting will definitely take awhile since I have so many levels of tesserae within this.    I also had to take out an area and redo it since I did not like how flow around the red flower.  Once again, I am excited to grout it to see it all come together. 

My next mosaic is still in the thought process.  I am thinking of a moon garden theme or White on White with pattern and texture since I have been playing around with some Zentangle designs.  It will be for the SAMA Salon.

Goals for the month
-Finish flower mosaic- of course
-Sketch and start on SAMA mosaic
-Help with a local art event-our art guild is having an art show/cinema night at our local theater and they are playing "Surviving Picasso" with Anthony Hopkins
-Help with set up for our Minnesota Mosaic Guild at the Hopkins Center for the Arts and attend the Opening on March 7th.

Quote of the month
"The artist is nothing without the gift,but the gift is nothing without the work."   -Emile Zola

Friday, February 1, 2013

Monthly Mosaic Blog

I have to say I am glad to be inside blogging today since as I type it is a chilly -14 outside.  Unfortunately that makes my studio a little too cold to be in unless I have quite a few layers on and a space heater next to me.  A good day for computor work!  Here is my latest mosaic.  It is called "Nature's Layers"  I thought that would be fitting since I was going for the layered effect with use of different tones of color.  I used many materials-I find this is my favorite way to work, kind of like collage with glass.  Within in this is stained glass, glass rods, beads, various glass tiles, milliferi and paper under glass.  My intention for the background was always to complete it in a white, but decided that the black and grey background helps to definitely draw your eyes in.  I wanted a lot of movement within this and thought with the circlular movement and the composition of the "leaves" it helped to keep your eye moving around.  Elements in this are obviously the birch tree, sunflower, a sunset looking over the water along with a nighttime sky.  In the background I brought in some of the circular shapes and layers using stained glass next to the matte cinca tiles.
This is a sketch for a comission.  It is based off of a rug design that they have within their home and wanted to bring that design into a mosaic.

This is how far I am on the piece.  I have a goal to finish it by the 1st weekend in March-I am assuming I will be able to get it done by then.  I am once again using many materials.  Stained glass, beads, marbles, buttons, karma and vitreous tiles, ceramic, charms, smalti and a few clay tiles.  There is going to be a lot of textural qualities to this which is the fun part of mosaics verses any other medium. 

Well I am signed up for SAMA!  I am looking forward to 5 days of mosaic education.  I signed up for a few tours, one of them being a tour of the Spectrum Glass Factory.  They are one of America's largest stained glass manufacturers.  We will be able to see the mixing of the ingredients to the ladling of molten glass from the furnaces to the sheetsof hot glass rolling along the conveyor belts to the cutting stations.  The other tour is a Tour of the mosaics of Seattle one of them being Anne Gardners modern 5-story kinetic mosaic Lebeg.  I will also be helping with the community mosaic which is a triptych that will be going in the lobby of "The Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.  I did sign up for one workshop-I wanted to try something totally different then what I have been doing-it is Micromosaic with Orsoni's Maestra Antonella Gallenda.  In this workshop I will be learning about the Roman filati mosaic technique.  On top of those is all the wonderful education from the speakers they bring in and by the networking with other mosaicists.

One other thing that happened in this new year is that I have decided to be on the Board for our local art guild along with cochairing the programming for the year-I think this will be an exciting and busy 2013!  I have been a part of the guild for a few years now and thought it is time to help out more with this wonderful group of people.

Goals for the the month
Finish "Bloom and Grow" mosaic
Sketch a design for a mosaic for the SAMA Salon.
Attend MN Mosaic Guild meeting
Attend Buffalo Art Guild meeting
Update my website
Take many deep breathes as my thoughts are with our daughter who is the last one leaving our nest.

Quote of the month
"A man (woman) should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture everyday of their life, in that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul."    -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe