Shop Small, Not Mall!

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!

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Falling off the earth and landing back in a new studio!

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.

frogbox for fb

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!

What direction to take now?

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!  🙂

The Pope is in my workroom…

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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!

Large Scale Mosaics workshop – should my sister get my project? Vote!

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!

Shop Small, Not Mall!

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

shop small 3

 

Here we go! Online store is open!

Happy to announce that Mercedes Mosaics now has an online store! The website has been redesigned with the ability to sell products, is now live and you can find it here:  http://www.mercedesmosaics.com

We’ve got a shop section where you’ll find the items currently for sale and a portfolio section that includes all work, even sold stuff. It’s exciting that I’ve already had a few sales in my first couple of days live.

I’m nervous as all heck about this –but at the same time happy to start realizing a long held dream.
A few years ago I got rid of 98% of my possessions before moving to a new country. I’d owned a home, so there was a lot of accumulated stuff to go through.iwouldlikeI came across a workbook from probably 1st grade. It was a touchy-feely “you are unique” kind of thing. You filled out your dreams and what you wanted your life to be like. All throughout it there were places where I’d written, I want to be an artist. I love art. Art, art, art.

It really struck me.  My 1st grade self knew exactly what I wanted to be. And frankly – that desire never changed.

But my growing up environment didn’t support being an artist as a career.  My Dad was a numbers and sports kind of guy, fun for him was playing with a calculator.  He liked art – but didn’t understand a creative person or that need. He put me on sports teams (I was quite a hyper kid so I see his point to run out the energy!) and math or computer lessons, but never art lessons. Both my parents encouraged a traditional career, both encouraged going to university – getting a good solid safe job. These aren’t bad things – but it told me “artist” was a hobby and influenced me to not choose a creative path.anartistI ended up with a successful career developing computer programs – though I didn’t get there through university. I fell into it after working for some wonderful people as an assistant – they gave me opportunities to play in a database – and I taught myself how to program on a small scale at first and eventually it bloomed into very large scale systems. I came into that career through the backdoor – I wasn’t formally trained, didn’t have a degree, but I had a lot of years of strong success. While there was creativity in that field for me – it wasn’t totally fulfilling.

After running across that 1st grade workbook and seeing my answers about wanting to be an artist – it struck me – you’ve got to give this a chance. You knew what you wanted when you were little – start to work toward it now. That was several years ago, but here today I’m finally taking a little step in that direction. Again – I’m taking a stab at having a (dare I say it?) career by coming through the backdoor. No degree, I didn’t go to art school, but hopefully I’ll have a similar success!

Wish me luck on this new online store venture! And stay tuned to the blog – I have also been working on a new direction with some pretty cool new mosaic projects that will have postings coming soon!because

A New Look

The latest project isn’t an actual mosaic but it is related and I’m excited to share it after working on it for several weeks!

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Backdrop of reclaimed barn wood

There is a sister site to the blog ( http://www.mercedesmosaics.com ) that houses pictures of almost all of my pieces.  Originally it was created to share pictures of the mosaics with my friends & family who all live about 4800 kilometers from me.  The original site was designed years ago and since at the time it was just for sharing with friends, it was less serious looking, less organized and frankly, a bit clunky.

I’ve been getting lots of ( polite ) pressure from these same friends and family to move in a more serious direction with the mosaics.  While this is also a dream of mine, it is kind of a scary thing when you’re a bit of an introvert type, so I’ve put them off for a bit.  However, in November the hosting company of my site gave me an offer for a much better web plan.  I decided to look on this offer as a little nudge to get me going and figured rebuilding and rebranding of the website could be the first step in a more serious direction!

The past couple of months I’ve thought out the design of the site, come up with a little logo, built a photo backdrop from some reclaimed barn wood then took some better looking / better lit pictures of my work, and started laying the foundation to start presenting some of these pieces for sale (though we aren’t to the sale part quite yet, it is coming soon though!)

So check out the site!  http://www.mercedesmosaics.com  Hope you like the look and feel and if you have any feedback please do let me know!

Happy Anniversary to us!

A couple of weeks ago I got a little notice that the Mercedes Mosaics blog had reached its’ 1st anniversary!  A bit of reflection was in order with that news – originally I started the blog only intending it to live for 6 months.  Never did I think anyone would read it much (outside my immediate family).  The goal was supposed to be that it was a way to keep me on track and provide an accountability of sorts while I ramped up my mosaics after having let them fall to the wayside for a couple years.

Much to my surprise the blog has been quite fun to write!  Also surprising has been the amazing amount of people who have read it – from all over the world!  Strangers read it more than my immediate family and friends – this has let me discover so many other amazing bloggers out there on all sorts of topics.  It has been a fun aspect that I didn’t expect.  The blog did achieve its’ purpose, it did help to keep me on track.  In the past year of the blog – I have completed 14 mosaic art pieces plus 29 pieces of mosaic jewelry!  Most certainly I have gotten my mosaic mojo back, am full of ideas and looking forward to seeing what comes out of the next year!

Thank you so very much dear readers for following along with me, the fact that you read my postings and leave feedback or like something means a lot and really helps keep my motivation high.  Hopefully you’ll stay with me for year 2 and we’ll see what it brings!

one year

Packing up the workroom

We’ve been a little MIA here lately at the Mercedes Mosaics blog – but it has been for good reason.  We’re needing to move out of our current house – and were doing some serious searching for new accommodations – it took up most all of my free time in May & June!

Now I’m working on packing up the mosaic workroom.  It has been a very large job, hadn’t realized just how much material I’d amassed.  It is uber-heavy stuff, the movers will likely be cursing me as they have to lift my boxes of tiles.  I was cursing this blasted art form myself a bit when I pulled my back lifting the boxes!  Why oh why couldn’t I have been drawn to painting or needlepoint or something else much lighter-weight and easier to pack!

It hasn’t all been boring packing though – I did manage to finish a quick little mosaic project, as a little incentive for you to revisit the blog – I’ll tease you with these thoughts, I absolutely love this little project and am considering making a series based on it – but you’ll have to check back next week to see a picture of it!

Also, we celebrated Canada Day here!  Lucky enough I get to live in the Nation’s capitol where we have the best celebration, got to have my picture taken on Parliament Hill with Mounties and watch the most amazing fireworks display ever and feel very thankful to call this fantastic country home.

Don’t forget to check back in next week for the pic of the latest project!

mercie and the mounties 2