Turquoise & Silvery Grey Blocks

This week’s post is all about the 3rd of the “blocks” series of mosaics that were created in late 2014.
A combo of 4 different types of smalti were used to create this piece.  Turquoise 24k gold leaf (a perennial love of mine!), silver 24k gold leaf, some really fun mexican grey iridescent and a bit of dark grey piastrina that I’d picked out of a big tub when I visited Orsoni in 2012.  I’ve been saving that dark grey for few years now, finally a project came along where it fit perfectly! 🙂

soft grey background in one light

soft grey background in one light (partial pic)

The bulk of the background is a grey iridescent – most of the time it just appears as a soft grey.  In some light though, when the sun hits it just right or you walk at an angle, there is a soft dance of other colors that appear and move.  Coupled with the way the light plays off of the turquoise gold, it makes for a very pretty sight.

Just loved this combo of colors – always love that turquoise, but putting it with the grey this time made a nice change from black.  It is softer, different.

Like all in the blocks series, the different panels are set at different heights – to give a bit of fun dimension for the eye as you move around it.

a bit of colorful iridescence in the grey in a different light

a bit of colorful iridescence in the grey in a different light

The blocks series has been one of my most favorite things to do, this piece wraps up the ones that I worked on in the last half of 2014 but it will not be the end of the series by far.  I’ve been working on new designs the past couple of months and have several more plans for new pieces to come in the “blocks” format.  I’m so excited by this direction and can’t wait to work on more of them!

The size of this mosaic – framed – is 11 1/4″ x  27 1/4″ and it is available for sale in our shop!

final face on

Meandering copper

When I created my first test of the blocks series that I showed you last time ( Taxes as art inspiration? ), it was originally going to be done in a couple of shades of copper gold-leaf smalti.  Since that didn’t work, and the project used other colors, I was left with some beautiful material to use in something new!

details vert

copper meandering in a 3 color background

Wanting to continue the “blocks” series – I drew out a simple meandering design over 6 blocks.  I didn’t want to label it as anything in particular (path, stream, tree), but wanted to viewer to decide for themselves.  My husband for example, sees a tree  – but I see something else.

I also didn’t want it to be “loud” but more of a quiet, suttle piece.  Now, before you say – um, Mercedes, copper gold-leaf is kinda loud and shimmery!  I realize this is often true, but it does work softly here.  Besides I’m a girl who loves the shimmery, so will find a way to justify it! 😉  For the background, went with this gorgeous soft drawn beige-y glass, then every so often studded it with transparent smalti in a different shade and a little tiny bit of creamy metallic glass.

For the paint on the supporting base, I picked an odd sort of brownish sort of not brownish color.  It has a great effect in it giving a texture and not just boring flat.  I also had good luck in finding this amazing frame – it is a very deep, rich, super dark brown and it sets off the mosaic perfectly!

It could be hung either way a viewer desired, but I kind of like it vertical so that’s how you’re going to see it in the pictures. 🙂  The size of the actual mosaic is 6″ x 12″, overall framed size is about 11.5″ x 19″ and if you like it enough to want it in your home, it is currently available for sale in our shop!

Taxes as art inspiration?

You never know where you might stumble upon inspiration!

In April 2014, I made the journey to my accountant’s office for the annual signing of the income taxes.  Never an exciting or fun visit – yet this time was different.

While waiting in the lobby  – there were new paintings on display.  On one of them, the painter had used different panels, painted a little scene on each one and then set them at different heights.  It was a huge piece, really interesting, and got me thinking how it could work with mosaic.

the simple geometric pattern

the simple geometric pattern

I noodled on the idea for awhile, then in summer 2014, started on a new set of tests.  For the first, I chose a simple geometric pattern just to see if it would even work out.  Instead of a different scene on each panel, I chose a single pattern going across all of them.  Originally I’d picked two shades of copper but after laying it out, the 2 coppers weren’t different enough.  It was pretty, but you didn’t see much of the pattern, so I changed gears and went with turquoise and black gold.

This mosaic below is the result of my first test in the panel – or as I’ve come to call it – the “blocks” concept.  There are most certainly things I would do differently, but for the first one, was happy.  It proved to me the concept could be interesting (it’s really neat to view from different directions) and inspired me to spend the rest of 2014 working on a couple others.   I’m excited about this new direction, it is really fun and there are several designs I’ve got in the hopper just waiting to come to life!

Over the next few posts – I’ll show you the others that I finished in late 2014.  For now, here’s the photos of the first one of my new “blocks” direction initially inspired by my taxes! 😉   The size of the actual mosaic is 6″ x 12″, overall size is about 11.5″ x 19″.

Mercedes Mosaics - blue and black gold blocks geo pattern

Labyrinth Tray

Recently I wrote about deciding not to tray the blue and black optical illusion mosaic – and instead frame it.  Well, this left a black tray floating around the workshop still calling out to be mosaic’d!

I didn’t have a clue for the design, just that it should be simple yet interesting.  I’d been looking through some pictures of a trip to Verona where I visited the Giusti Gardens.  One of the pictures was of my friend walking the hedge labyrinth.    Bingo!    A labyrinth design it will be!

F441 (3)

The Chartres Cathedral labyrinth was a special place for my Dad and that makes it my most favorite.  But that labyrinth design is round and my tray was square.  A bit of research led me to some math calculations that morphed Chartres labyrinth into how it would appear in a square format.

The tray isn’t very big (10” x 10” inside) so used a small bit of the pattern along with fantastic blue & black tiles in 3/8″ size.  The colors may look familiar, they are the same as the optical illusion mosaic that was originally going to go in the tray!

Whether it gets used as a tray or a conversation piece on a stand – it is a simple yet beautiful design.  Maybe if there was a stressful dinner party happening, the host/hostess could take a pause in the kitchen to relax and trace the labyrinth with their finger!

I’ve been working the past couple of months on a new series.  I’m quite excited about it, as it goes in a bit of a new direction.  The frames for the pieces finally came in, and now that they’re finished I need to take their pictures.  I’m heading off to a class this week, and after the return will take the photos of the new pieces and start sharing them with you – so check back with us soon to see the new direction!

Didn’t tray it, framed it!

Earlier in the summer I posted the entry  ( To tray it or not to tray it? )  about a neat little geometric optical illusion mosaic I’d made.  It was initially going to go inside a black serving tray, but after completing the mosaic portion in the reverse method I was having a hard time deciding if it should go in the tray or if it maybe should be a stand alone framed piece.

I got some good feedback on it including many folks who liked the idea of it as a table.  It was a little small to make into a table (just under 11″ x 11″), but I may revisit that idea later and make a bigger one.

corner shot

fun angular frame

After it sat on my floor for a few more months and I went back and forth on the best plan, ( I’m a Libra, making decisions isn’t our strong suit! 😀 ) eventually I ended up deciding to frame it.  Recently, I’d found a great little framing company and they had this modern frame with an angular shape that I thought would add an extra bit of fun to the mosaic.

Think the right decision was made to not tray it, but frame it.  The blue / black combo is quite pretty and when the light hits it you get a ton of other colors coming out in the blue portion thanks to the iridescent finish on the tiles.  There’s the fun play on your eyes with the illusion too, especially as you move around it to different angles.

It isn’t up on our website yet, but will be going into our Shop!  portion in the new year.  Pictures are below…hope you like it!  In an upcoming blog – I’ll share with you what I ended up doing with the tray that this didn’t go into.

To tray it or not to tray it?

Lately I’ve really been fascinated with optical illusions. Not sure why – but geometric shapes and patterns really attract me, add in an optical illusion and it is just the bee’s knee’s in my humble opinion! 🙂

I had a 2nd serving tray floating around the house. I’d repainted it black and it was just calling out to be mosaic’d so I decided to play with the idea of a geometric shaped optical illusion design. I’d never done one in mosaic before and wanted to see how it wouldIMG_2738 work out.

A nice solid black vitreous glass with a good sheen that isn’t too glossy was paired with this amazing blue that has an iridescent surface that changes as you move around it.

The mosaic part got finished – it is being done in an indirect method so it will be even surfaced when it is put in the tray – but now I’m in a quandary. To tray it or not to tray it???

I really loved how it turned out. It almost seems a shame to stick it in a tray. Should I put it on a board and make it wall hanging instead? Or put this one in the tray – and maybe make a 2nd, bigger one that is a wall hanging?

For now – it lies on the floor awaiting a decision.

Speaking of floors – wouldn’t it be so cool if you had a square shaped room to do something like this on the floor?? Or a tabletop? So much fun!!


Funky little geometric tray

Just a quick project to share with you this week.

I had bought a couple of serving trays on clearance after the holidays and decided to repaint them and stick a mosaic in at least one of them.

Geometric shapes and patterns seem to attract me so much, so I decided to go that route for the tray. While I adore figures and designs that are more of a real “thing” (like a flower), I’ve been realizing that I often have more fun when working on a geometric or non-real-thing design.

Years ago – before I understood quantities of tiles very well – I’d ordered way too many of these creamy-shimmery tiles. Decided to use some of my ever present supply of those (they’re almost gone, only 2.5 bags left!) and paired them with a lovely iridescent purple vitreous glass that I also had on hand. Stuck it all in the mid-tone grey painted tray and grouted in a nice mid-grey as well.  The tiles have a lovely quality to them in that in low light they just look purple and cream but with a little light on them the iridescence comes out and they’re multi-colored, shimmery and almost blend together.

It was fun and quick to do. Sometimes we all need a fun and quick project. 🙂


You know that old saying ” a cobbler’s children have no shoes “, well my poor husband had no mosaic.  He’d requested one specifically a year and half ago.  But his project kept getting pushed to the side.  Finally it was his turn.  He had to wait so long…I really hoped it would be worth it.

Thankfully it was worth it and he was thrilled.  He had requested a giant version of the Shimmery Squares that I’d done at Orsoni – that were based on a project I’d seen there.  But I didn’t want to copy the same thing.  I presented him with several alternate ideas, some with a tiny bit of raised area to give a little 3-D effect, he picked one idea he liked and we went with it.

The end result is 3 squares, a little off-set, with the smallest square being slightly raised from the other two.  It is made from blue and green gold smalti and is so shimmery and neat when the sun hits it!  The pieces are laid with the outside square horizontal, mid square vertical and inner square horizontal – it is really hard to get a good pic of this – but here’s a few shots below.

We’re going to go radio-silent for the next month or so.  Heading south to take a class that hopefully will give me skills to add a new dimension to the mosaics then getting in a little R&R after that with the husband.  Check back with us in May and hopefully I’ll have some fun bits to share with you!

Bronze Beauty

2014 has had a creative start, but mostly in the realm of my old life as an IT developer!  Been working not just on the Mercedes Mosaics site, but also others.  A bit of non-mosaic promotion here..if you like tea and live in Canada, check out the country’s newest online tea retailer!  Thé du Dragon ( www.thedudragon.ca ) specializes in mostly organic teas and ships country-wide, for now their website is only in French but they can answer any inquires in English too, their tea is amazing!!

the magpie in me can't resist this sparkly bronze!

the magpie in me can’t resist this sparkly bronze!

Ok, back to mosaics….
Because of all this computer focus – I’ve not blogged on some completed mosaic projects and intend to rectify that over the next few weeks!  First up – a little Bronze Beauty as I’ve come to call it!

A fantastic mix of bronze colored gold in different shades and heights was calling to me from the cabinet.  Finally I couldn’t resist anymore and decided to do something quick and graphic in nature.  A quilt pattern I’d seen online provided the inspiration.  I offset the cut bronze triangles so they’re not just flat and will catch the light and reflect nicely.  Originally I was going to use black for the in-between portion but it was too heavy.  A bit of frustration occurred but my local Home Depot came through with a nice translucent uber-dark brown/black with some copper fleck in it.  Perfect!

Next up, a bigger sized project, so check back in with us next week to see what it will be!

Shimmery squares

Everyday in our breakfast room at Orsoni, I was fascinated by 2 great big mosaics on the wall.  They were created by a professor of the Spilimbergo School of Mosaic and were a seemingly simple design of a square within a square of colored gold smalti.  Doesn’t sound too exciting but they were!  What made them special was the way the individual pieces were set.  The interior square was set vertical while the outer horizontal, significant space was left between the pieces (not something I’m used to!) and each piece was set slightly different than its’ neighbour.  Either straight or not, or straight but one end squished down into the cement with the other end higher.  This setting, coupled with the metallic sheen of the colored gold created a fantastic play with the light as you moved in relation to it.  They shimmered in the most captivatingly beautiful fashion!

Being a bit of a magpie, I had to create one of my own!  Mine are on a much smaller scale – there are 3 in total that I was able to complete.  I learned on the first one though that simple appearances aren’t always simple!  There was a fair bit of math to these little guys that I didn’t realize when choosing a size for the wood when it is was originally cut.  Thankfully it worked out ok though, they’re all nice but the 2nd two benefited from the learning curve of the first one!

Here’s a few pics (click to enlarge), often I say the pics don’t do the mosaic justice – but in this case it is even more true  The light when it hits these just can’t be accurately captured in a picture.  They were done in the direct method on wood and measure roughly 8″ x 8″.