Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

I'm always happy when I can find a use for something that I'd normally throw out — it helps somewhat to assuage the guilt of keeping a lot of things around that "someday I might want." Maybe painters can be neat and tidy because their supplies are pretty much limited to paper or canvas and paint, but one of the things I love about mosaic art is that you can use found objects in your work, which feeds my tendency to keep a lot of things that I should just toss, so my workshop shelves are groaning, and there are boxes of tile and buttons and shells and other "stuff" hanging around under the table and stacked along the walls slowly inching their way toward me. It doesn't help that friends are always giving me their leftover tile from home improvement projects not that I don't appreciate it!

So, when I acquired a new dish drainer, it was a delight to realize that the old one was perfect for storing the large glass pieces that I was using for the Monet project (see last post). It helps me see what I've got, what's getting low in stock, and reminds me of the color palette. Usually I store glass in those clear plastic shoe boxes and stack them on shelves, but this gives me a way to have what I need for the current project at hand. I feel righteous and efficient.

Friday, April 26, 2013


As I look back over the last few posts, it seems I've always been showing and talking about unfinished projects. Hopefully all of them will be done someday! But today I have the pleasure of showing you a real, honest-to-God finished product. It's the first of two panels, 48" by 40", with the subject of Monet's "Water Lilies." My clients have seen the originals at L'Orangerie in Paris, and they wanted to see if it could be re-created in mosaic. To tell you the truth, I was not so sure at first. I'm used to piecing together random shards or tiny squares of glass or tile, but this project required a different technique so that it would have  more of the flowing quality of water. I experimented and came up with a vaguely oval-shaped piece that I cut randomly from sheets of stained glass. They are laid horizontally where the intention is to portray a lily pad, and vertically for the background water with its refections of the surrounding trees. The second panel will be another view of the pond.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Finally getting somewhere with this tray project that I started last month. I really only have time to work on it in my beginning mosaics class if my students don't need me, so that means fits and starts. That's fine, because that means the project evolves intuitively. I don't have time to think about it too much - I just stare at it for a while until it occurs to me to place a piece of glass somewhere! So now it's nearly done; I just have to fill in the sky, and grout it. I used larger pieces than I usually do, and I like the effect. The finished size is 12 by 18 inches.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Something Useful

A shop owner once told me that people are more likely to buy a work of art that has another use besides being a work of art, such as a mirror or bowl. After I got over my indignation ("people should appreciate art for itself, etc. etc."), I realized she had a point, and I produced a few mirrors, which promptly sold. The two galleries that now show my work, Ashby Art and Antiques in Towles Court, Sarasota, and The Baobab Gallery, in the Village of the Arts in Bradenton, carry both types of artworks, I'm happy to say.

I'm working on a new "useful objects" project that will be mosaics about 12 by 18 inches, which a framer friend, Dotti Sechrist (Uptown Framers), suggested I produce to turn into trays after she frames them. I think that's a wonderful idea and am about halfway through one of them. The second photo is the stacks of primed masonite boards waiting their turn. (I stick a yogurt or cottage cheess lids between them so they won't stick together. I also use those lids as a paint palette for the small amount of painting that I do. Waste not, want not!) Stay tuned for photos of the finished trays.