Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Knotty Problem

I'm always telling my mosaic students that creating a mosaic is a process of solving problems, and my latest project presented me with a doozy. 

It was to be a small accent table with a simple geometric design of a Celtic knot taken from one of my design books. The client, a friend, wanted a small accent table, and after much searching, we finally found the perfect one at a local thrift shop, complete with a handy lip, as it had once had a glass top. It also has an aged faux-gold finish that we both like and my friend decided to keep. She likes blues and greens, so we settled on a soft lime green and turquoise blue for the outlines of the knot in 3/8-inch ceramic tile, and darker blue and green stained glass to fill in, with a hint of soft orange stained glass as an accent along with a few scattered round ceramic dots from a shop on Etsy. 

I thought, going in, that it would be an easy job of a few days. Silly me. My first hurdle was translating the design in my book to the size of the table, then I had to dust off the geometry section in my brain and remember how to use a compass. A further problem was how to draw the larger arc that connects the bottom of the four circles, since the center point of those circles falls outside the paper. Fortunately, I found a circular tray in my cupboard that was the perfect size — not very mathematical, but it worked! 

The part I struggled with the most was the center "knot"; it was the last section I tiled, and I must have scraped it up and relaid it four times before it looked right. It's (obviously) very different drawing lines that appear to be going over and under each other and setting tiles so it looks as if they are doing so. Another problem solved.

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