Archive for the ‘Mosaic General’ Category

Remixin’ it up!

Posted: September 28, 2017 in Mosaic General
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In Ottawa each year there is a neat festival called Remixed.  It is held in Chinatown and pairs local businesses with artists for 1 month.  The idea is to “remix” the businesses and neighborhood.  Bring art into groceries, restaurants and shops where you might not expect to see it and draw in art lovers to some of these same shops they might not know about.

It’s a fun and different vibe with businesses all along the main drag of Chinatown participating.  On opening day there is a big festival atmosphere.  All the artists sit with their installation in the business they’re paired with as visitors walk around stopping at each location to collect a stamp for a chance to win a prize.  There’s fun stuff happening outside too, along the route you’ll find various performers, demonstrations, or large scale artists working.

Art House Cafe building

The festival is a juried entry and this year I was lucky enough to be one of the artists chosen!  😀  In another but of luck, I got paired with The Art House Cafe, a great business that opened this year in Ottawa and is a hub for artists and art lovers alike.

Three of my mosaics went up on their wall and will stay there for a month.  During the opening day I had a 2hr time slot to do demos.  It was a hot day but that didn’t stop a steady stream of folks from visiting.  I’d taken a project to work on during down time but didn’t have any so only stuck a few bits on!

Roman-Byzantine-Modern Mosaic styles

For the demo, I’d set up a little “history of mosaic” table showing different styles of mosaic ranging from Roman to Byzantine to Modern.  There was also a table with examples of materials and backings you can use, some fun tools and several books with amazing mosaic pictures.

As an interactive bit for visitors, I offered to let them try out cutting a some glass with the traditional tools of the hammer and hardie.  The hammer is heavy and it shocked everyone who picked it up, but they all did great making a cut and had fun.

It was a great day, so much fun to share my love of mosaic and my art with others.  I am so happy to have been a part of this wonderful event.  If you’re in the Ottawa area visiting, the art is up throughout Chinatown till October 16.   Find a map of all the locations on chinatownremixed.ca

 

 

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What do cufflinks & a log have to do with each other?  Nothing, except they’re both recently related to my mosaics. 🙂

jc626-1-blue-cream-square-mosaic-cufflinks-mercedes-mosaics-800x600Usually in November, I’m showing new jewelry created in time for the holidays.  This year though, I’ve put jewelry making on pause to focus on developing larger art pieces.

However – I really missed making those little jewels and decided to add a few pairs of cufflinks to the shop.  I did a mix of regular and micro-mosaic styles.  I definitely see my jewelry style moving more and more towards micro-mosaic.  It is really fun working with such jc630-1-blue-yellow-white-circle-micromosaic-cufflinks-mercedes-mosaics-800x600tiny pieces and I love the extra connection that I get by pulling my own glass in a flame and making murrini.  Pics of all the new cufflinks are below.

Now, about that log…

We’ve all had those special things that thrill us to no end yet causes others to shake their heads in bewilderment.  The acquisition of a log was one of those things for me this fall.

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hammer & hardie

One of the tool sets in mosaic that many people use is called the hammer and hardie.  It is a traditional tool set that has been used since ancient times.  The hardie looks a bit like a chisel and needs to be placed into something (usually a piece of wood) in order to use it.  Once the hardie is installed, you then put the bit of glass or stone on top of it and give it a tap with the hammer to break your material.

My hardie currently rests in a piece of wood that is great to work at while sitting.  But, I’ve begun working more and more while standing and needed something taller.  This put me on the hunt for a log just the right height to make a standing hardie.

m-and-log-1smOne lucky afternoon the perfect log was found after I combed through a downed pile.  It was slated to be tossed in a bonfire and had in-fact been partially burnt already.  I pulled it out, cut it to the right length and dragged it home.  It had to be de-barked and still needs some sanding after it dries a little more, but soon I’ll be standing and chopping away!

m-and-log-2smIt even has a cute little knob on the side that makes for a perfect place to grab while moving it around.  I was so tickled by finally finding the right log and rescuing it from just being burnt up.  The internal wood is really quite beautiful and it is nice to be able to give it another life as one of my tools.

Members of my household did indeed give me a bit of a head-shake about the log, especially as I was working hard to de-bark it!  But even though my extreme level of enthusiasm was not shared, they were able to appreciate how happy this acquisition made me.

Enough blogging for today – below are pics of all the new cufflinks, they make great holiday gifts (hint, hint 😀 ) and all are available for purchase in our shop by clicking here.

Winter cold made me slow and not terribly productive.  Summer warmth and sun have given energy but made me not want to sit behind the computer.  Both things have made me hugely neglectful of this blog!

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black & white mosaic with wires in progress

Hoping to rectify this and get back to regular updates and regularly reading all my other favorite blogs.  Connecting with and being inspired by others is my favorite part of blogging – the summer sun this year has just been a stronger pull!

So, what’s happened with all that sun-inspired energy?  Well, recently finished 2 mosaics that I’ll show you soon.  One is a black & white piece that I just adore, the other is a cream/copper with tons of shimmery goodness. 🙂

I recently taught a couple of sessions of mosaic at a day camp for kids!  There were about 26 kids a session, aged 7-12 with some social skill challenges.  This was a bit daunting as I don’t have much experience with kids (don’t have any / never around any).  I was worried if I’d do ok with them.  But the kids were awesome and it was both totally exhausting and totally exhilarating!  So much fun to help them make a cool project and see them happy with the results.  Even one kid who at first told me it was “boring” ended up doing the most creative stuff and had a great time.  Think he just need to get past the hump of starting ( I can relate! ).  It was wonderful to get their little hugs and thank yous after the class was over.

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shimmery bronze in progress

I’ve also been keeping up with lampworking, making neat stuff with glass melting it in a flame.  The past few months I’ve learned new techniques and improved my skills a lot.  I’m now trying to create sculptural glass forms that can be incorporated into mosaics, not quite there yet but think something neat will come of it.

Lastly – tossed the mosaic plan for 2 collections that I’d laid out for the year.  I’d completed 1 of each when the husband had a thought.  He knew I had other ideas floating around and suggested making summer all about just exploring those.  He’d thought it could potentially be very neat, maybe better than planned stuff.  At first I resisted – but then went for it and have gone down a bunch of paths that led to tons of new ideas.  Fun but also kind of hard to wrangle a million ideas down to a reasonable bite to chew off. 🙂

Hope the past few months have been as lovely and creative for you as they’ve been for me.  Looking forward to catching up on all your blogs and hope to update you soon with pics of new work and other ramblings!

creative process smIt’s been a bit of a slow go since February.  Some of it I blame on winter.  Even though I’ve been in Canada (from Florida) 5 winters now, still find it a bit hard to be so shut in.  Not having open windows and lots of hours of sun makes it hard to get up and go. Hopefully spring will come soon, though as I’m writing this, it is snowing. o_O

The other part of slowness I’m blaming on riding the creative process roller coaster.  It wasn’t a lack of creativity – in fact, I had a project to work on that’s been planned for quite some time and was really excited about it.

Why the slowness then?  Since we moved last summer,  I’d not worked on a larger wall mosaic at all till now.  Instead focusing on jewelry for the holidays and then more for Valentine’s Day.

When it came time to get back into creating a new bigger wall project I had so much anxiety just starting.  Really liked the design I had and wanted to do it right yet started questioning all the plans that I’d had for it and fell into analysis paralysis.  Then, once I got going,  I went into the up and down rollercoaster ride of:  this is going great!  this is awful!  maybe it’s ok….  wow – I’m crap what was I thinking!

This up and down happens to me on nearly every project.  Except for jewelry.  Guess because they’re small and over with in a short amount of time that it doesn’t allow for that roller coaster of feelings to come.  It just had been awhile since I’d experienced this ride and and this time it really slowed me down productivity wise.

I used to think it was just me who had this awful ride on projects.  Then awhile ago someone posted online this funny “Creativity Process” list in the pic above. 🙂 It was such a perfect description that I printed it out, framed it and put it on the wall right next to my worktable.  This way – when I’m in the “This is shit, I am shit” part of the process it gives a little levity and reminder that probably it will work out in the end!

As fellow creatives, I’m curious – do you go through this ride when creating your projects?  Does it ever slow you down and if so, have you developed any tricks to get around it?

winner - shop small not mall b
It is Small Business Saturday here in North America.   The day after crazy Black Friday sales at every major retailer that unofficially signal the start of holiday shopping.

I’ve always been a hunter of unique gifts.  Those one-of-a-kind, no one else will have it, super special items.  Well they’re not found in the pile of mass produced stuff at a mall – only your local (or online!) small businesses have that.

So today, after your Friday full of big retailer shopping  – go shop the small businesses you know.  Find that unique one-of-kind gift for the special people in your life and support the little guys who create those pieces!

As a small suggestion 😉 head over to our site  http://www.mercedesmosaics.com  we’ve got a great selection of one-of-a-kind Pendants, Rings, Purse Hooks and Cufflinks that make beautiful gifts.

If you’re a USA based shopper, your dollar goes further with us as $1 CAD = $0.75 USD, it is like an instant discount!

Since mid-July I effectively fell off the face of the earth, not just here on the blog but everywhere in my personal life too.  I had little to no contact with most of my friends and family, and no social media.  Even mosaics suffered as I didn’t work on anything.  The reason for all this, a move that was much bigger than anticipated.

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eco-friendly moving!

We moved houses within our same city, shouldn’t be a big deal but it was. From loads of packing – to movers that did not show up on moving day (!!) – to unpacking – to receiving 2 sets of visitors within a few weeks – to, right in the thick of it, receiving notice to come take my citizenship test (major stress 😮 )!

The new house, while lovely, came with many challenging puzzles that needed to be solved for us to be settled.  All this took up too much time and energy and there was nothing left over for mosaic, friends, communicating or anything really.

But I’m now ramping back up!

I’ve got a totally AWESOME(!) new studio in this house (pics below!), it is about ½ of the basement level – but don’t think dark dank basement.  Oh no, this basement has huge windows in it, lots of natural light and enough space to house all the mosaic supplies in one place.  I’ve never had this much space before and am crazy happy.

buddhaOne window looks into the backyard, but has a large dug out kind of rocky “pit” area – not horrible but not too exciting.  I decided to spice it up and built a little wooden platform that now houses a protection Buddha and a few other decorations.  It will be great to have Buddha watching over me as I work.  He’s a nice addition to the waving Pope Francis that sits on the worktable.  Along with Ozwald in a nearby chair – I’m well looked after in this new space!

Now that I’ve landed back on earth in this amazing studio and am ready to work and communicate again, I hope you’ll keep up with me and the new projects.  I’m working now on a new batch of jewelry for the upcoming holiday season then it will be back to some wall pieces and hopefully sculptures too!   Check back soon!

Recently I’ve shown you 3 pieces I created in the last half of 2014, affectionately called the “blocks” series.  It’s kind of the only thing I want to work on going forward.  But – that won’t quite be the case….

Late last year I redesigned my website and re-launched it as a business with art and jewelry for sale.  Since making that decision to try and sell pieces, and move to the next level (gosh I hate that term! but it is best one) realized I needed to approach how I work differently.  Less willy nilly, working on one piece then starting to think about the next – but making some plans, setting goals and targets, building some inventory.

January brought about this planning and I decided to focus on 3 “series” in the wall art area plus jewelry.  I’ve developed new designs by expanding on 3 separate areas of my existing work.  So what are the 3 series going to be?

Birch Trees at Night

The first series will just be to build a couple more of the Birch Trees at Night.  Created the first of these in 2013 and 2 years later, still am in love with the simple not quite realistic design.Birch at Night Mercedes Mosaics 70p

Black Turquoise Blue Op Illu Mosaic Mercedes MosaicsOp Art

Worked on some optical illusions in mosaic last year and really loved it.  I like a play on the eye and bit of fun with simple 2 color designs.  Most of what will be in this series won’t be “illusion” per se, but more geometric, op art style designs.

Cream Copper Blocks Mercedes Mosaics 55pBlocks

More blocks!  Yay!  I’ll be working on this series last – but have to tell you it is the one I’m most chomping at the bit to get to going on.  I have some great designs in the hopper and am really excited to see how they turn out.

The idea behind this is after creating these 3 series, to maybe then approach some places for representation (a little scary…) or perhaps just start to work harder at selling my art on my own.  A new collection of Mosaic jewelry will be created too, because I just love doing it!  🙂

So that’s my upcoming next many months!  Hope very much you’ll keep up with me and check out what comes from all these best laid plans!  And hey, if you have thoughts  – color combos you think would be cool, etc. let me know in the comments below!  🙂

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Just a little humor this week!

My sister gave me this cute little waving Pope Francis at Christmas.

He lives in my workroom and faithfully waves over the mosaics in progress on the table.

Perhaps I can look on it as a sort of Papal blessing?  😉

 

Update – for those of you who voted for my sister to get the Lotus in the last blog….she thanks you!   She was a run-away winner and will soon be the happy owner!

happy me with Gary Drostle!

happy me with Gary Drostle!

In late January, I traveled to Chicago for a workshop at the Chicago Mosaic School on Large Scale Mosaics given by visiting artist Gary Drostle.

Gary is an international award winning artist who specializes in large scale mosaic installations.  He has done gobs of amazing work and I’ve long been a major fan.  Three of my favorites of his: Electron Flow, Croydon Fishpond, and Shrapnel 1914 – War is a gun with a worker at each end.

I’ve wanted to mosaic my bathroom floor and walls, and the idea of maybe doing it for other people had percolated in my brain too.  This class was a great opportunity to understand all the nitty gritties on how to do large scale architectural work and learn from a master.

We had 2 projects, a personal small (12″x18″) treated as if it were big, and a group large (3’x5′) sign for Begyle Brewing.  If you visit Chicago, stop by to have a taste of their great brew (and see our sign installed)!

my sister's tattoo

my sister’s tattoo

For our personal work, we were told don’t worry about design, focus on technique. But, you still want something nice even if it is simple.  My sister has a tattoo on her wrist that I’ve always liked and I decided its’ design was perfect for my mosaic!

Our projects were made from vitreous glass.  I found some nice purples with shimmery bits and a mix of blues for the background.  We drew our cartoon on the paper, then rolled it up and only worked on small portions to simulate what would happen in real life on a big scale.  You glue your pieces to the paper face-down and the design backwards cutting off sections as you go.  A nervous moment occurs when you vigorously shake a section to see if any bits fall off!  The fun part came when it was time to fix the mosaic into cement on our board.  The sections are pieced back together, set in cement and adjusted.  Then the big reveal as you take off the paper and finally see what your mosaic looks like from the front!  (see detail pics below).

Several classmates asked if I was going to give this mosaic to my sister – since it had been inspired by her tattoo.  What do you think?  If she wants it – should I give it to her?     Vote and let me know!
lotus

 

 

 

 

 

 

My neighbour has built a new concrete shed and patio area….I’m now eyeing it as a perfect large scale candidate, perhaps they should be worried, they may wake up one morning to it mosaic’d!

I don’t intend to make this blog all about promoting the new web shop – but felt I’d be remiss if I didn’t post something for the USA Small Business Saturday!  Just a little nod to small business today, the malls and their big stores are great ( I go there often! ) but today, let’s celebrate the little guy.

For my part we’re offering a USA shipping special.  Any USA jewelry order placed by end of day Dec. 2nd will ship for $6.  Your order will ship out on Dec. 3rd via USPS Priority Mail.  Don’t forget, our prices are in Canadian dollars, right now the USA dollar is worth more – about 12% more – so it is like getting an instant discount!  Shop our store at:  www.mercedesmosaics.com

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