Sunday, March 27, 2011


The Landfill Art Project is a creative endeavor by artists all over the country and even internationally, to transform the lowly hubcap into a work of art. I found out about the project through my friend Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson (see her hubcap entry on her blog post, here) and decided to submit one myself. My hubcap, titled "Land, Ho," uses all repurposed materials, including a sweet little ship that my sister Barbara sent me a long time ago from a yard sale find. The bird is another of her finds: an enameled brooch. And so is the lighthouse, one of a collection of 10 or so from another yard sale. 

The picture below it is the "before" shot. I have to admit, the bump in the center threw me a bit at first (I'd never inspected a hubcap closely), but it finally worked itself out, as projects usually do!  I used plaster strips to cover the holes around the edges.

Visit the Landfill Art website for pictures of the hundreds of other submissions so far. There's nothing like reusing something that would usually be thrown away!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marble Adventure - Complete!

I've just been packing up the mosaic ready to install on Friday. I cut it into manageable sections so it won't be so heavy to lift into place (marble weighs a ton). This picture shows it still on my table. If I had it to do over, there are things I'd change about the design, but the client is happy, so I'm happy too.  I've also heard that there is a real possibility that the tile installer who's doing the rest of the bathroom might install this for me. Hallelujah! I am ready and willing to do it myself, but this is one of those cases where the mind is willing but the body ain't as nimble as it used to be, so I will be even happier if he does it. 

I've learned a lot on this project, and now I have a new skill in my toolkit. The marble is temperamental but so beautiful. Someday I'd like to hop down to Miami and have a quick lesson on the hammer and hardie, if they do that kind of thing (Gina Hubler's Miami Mosaic Academy is there). In the meantime, I'm cleaning up my guest room, where I've been working since it turned cold in November (!), as it is now reliably warm enough to go back out to my backyard studio. On to the next project! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teachers We Remember

Fellow mosaic artist Eve Lynch recently posted some interesting thoughts about why art history matters, on her blog Creative Nonconformity. It is an interesting question, and one that every artist is going to have a different answer to. I believe that art history is best learned when it is absorbed, like osmosis, by simply looking.  In college I had a wonderful professor - I don't remember his name - who taught an art history class in this way. He announced at the first class that grading would be a simple pass-fail, and that we would pass simply by showing up. He told us to put away our notebooks and pens, and said that he wanted us to simply look at the slides he presented, listen to his descriptions, and think about them. 

I loved that class. I don't remember what any of my fellow students said about that class, but as for me, I think I absorbed more about art history in that class than in any other. Years later, often when I would see a painting or sculpture, I'd remember it from that class and how it made me feel. Learning often is most successful when there is no pressure to learn.