I love the idea of wearable art, it is why I started making mosaic jewelry many years ago. It’s a fun way to share the art of mosaic with a larger audience and also to wear a piece of unique art on one’s body.
Late last summer while working on pieces for my show that was to happen at the end of the year, I started thinking about what is in my closet that I could wear for my opening. Then started thinking about how it would be really cool to wear mosaic in a larger sense, more than just as a pendant or ring.
I had seen some photos online of an artist (not sure who it was unfortunately) who had created a mosaic dress. But this dress was a permanent fixture, it had a space for a woman to slide into it and be photographed “wearing” it but she couldn’t actually move around. I wanted to figure out something I could wear and move in.
Started noodling on ideas and decided to start small and try and construct a belt of mosaic. I’ve always had a love for anything Japanese and took inspiration from Japanese obi belts. Thought about how an obi fits all around the body, usually a bit higher up and wide.
Mosaics are heavy and solid, so those are considerations to think about. This wasn’t going to be a belt that was just wrapped around anywhere. I had to fit it to my proportions so built a form of my body and then molded my base material on that. I created 2 solid C shapes, then next had to figure out how they’d attach to one another. Decided on a system of adjustable leather straps that wove in and out of the belt on the sides, slightly hidden under the arm.
Finally I mosaic’d my base form and chose to use the same palette of glass that I used in some of my actual art mosaics that would be on display at my show. I’d match the art on the wall! I wasn’t sure if I’d prefer a black or white version, so made a belt in both colors. In the end, while wearing a black dress the black version won. I’m keeping the white version to wear on a lighter color dress in the future.
It was a ton of fun to wear this mosaic belt at a few events. It tickled me beyond belief that I figured out how to make it work, make it relatively light (it is ~1.25 lbs) and fairly comfortable. It is 2 solid pieces so not as comfortable as a fabric belt but still comfortable enough to wear for many hours, even while eating dinner. I’m already dreaming of ideas to create something bigger – corset or bustier type top maybe?