Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Summer Project

Just returned from a visit to lovely Coral Springs on the east coast of Florida where my brother and his family live. I needed to deliver a mosaic face they had commissioned for their master bath and also to mosaic parts of a couple of wall fountains. I was also due to see my neurosurgeon in Miami for annual check-up (which, by the way, was fine!), so combined busiiness with pleasure. To top it all off, it turned out that I had seredipitously chosen the very weekend that my neice and her boyfriend were going to be in town, so we had a chance to reconnect. 

The bath face will be bordered by a pencil tile border in the same honey onyx that comprises the counters and the sink vessel and shower accents in the bathroom. I also used a few 2x2 pieces around the edge of the face. I don't have a final photo because it hadn't been installed by the time I left; I'll add one here later, but this photo gives you a preview.

The fountains presented different problems! As I tell my classes (and I'm sure they are tired of hearing): a mosaic project is a series of solving problems. The "fish" fountain has four intricate sections that were to be tiled, and I thought I would first make paper templates and then transfer that to mesh. Well, my template-making skills turned out to be %$%^&* - (you get the idea). Rather than start over trying to make better templates, I just used what I had - partial mesh pieces - and filled in the rest by hand, standing up, in the heat, for what seemed like days. John took pity on me and found a fan. I did manage to make good templates for the small sections underneath on either side, so those went faster. I was using thinset as my adhesive, as the fountain has a rough texture. This worked fine for the larger mesh sections, but for smaller glass pieces I ended up using the silicone glue. 

The larger fountain with the lion face was a bit easier. I had the width and length of the side borders beforehand and was able to make finished mesh strips of glass before leaving Sarasota. This fountain is made of resin, so instead of thinset, I just used Liquid Nails to adhere the strips - much faster and less messy! The tricky bit for this fountain was stabilizing the front shelf; it had broken in a few places previously, so we found a few old tiles to glue down underneath it and mortared them in place; then I made a template for that front shelf and made a mesh strip to adhere to it. The grout pulls everything together on both fountains, and the grout color turned out to be almost exactly the color of the fountains themselves (a good thing for clean-up!).

Since I had a lot of work to do on the mesh before actually working on the fountains themselves, John set up a little "studio" for me in the (air-conditioned!) garage where he usually keeps his Z car - now that's love.

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