Small and Smaller

In August, I got some news that nearly caused me to implode with excitement.  One of my pieces – a micromosaic named “Delphine” – was accepted into a show in Brooklyn, NY.

I’ve viewed New York – as I’m sure many other artists have – as one of the ultimate hopes of a place to get into.  Having Site:Brooklyn accept my piece was one of my biggest highlights this year.  Thankfully I didn’t implode and was able to enjoy the moment.  😀

Even more good luck came my way when I found out the show opening for Small and Smaller was just 2 days after OneZeroOne in Rhode Island.  This meant we were able to attend the OneZeroOne opening and then 2 days later (and 2 states away)  pop over to NY and attend Small and Smaller as well!  It made for a super great extra long weekend.

The show opening at Site:Brooklyn was terribly exciting.  The gallery is enormous and they were actually having openings of 3 different shows the same night.  To say it was packed would be an understatement!Delphine was among some amazing company in this show.  All of the pieces in Small and Smaller were fantastic.  It is always so cool to see what folks do in limited space.  Again I was lucky, many of the artists were in attendance and I met some wonderful new people whom I traded cards with and look forward to following online!

We spent a couple days after the show exploring the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn, eating good food, watching murals being painted.  It was quite fun for us as neither the husband nor myself had been in this area of NY before.

It really was overwhelming a bit…So excited to have gotten in this show, just truly amazing to get to go to NY and see my piece in a Brooklyn gallery.  Hopefully they’ll be more opportunities like this in the future, and maybe…one day…a Manhattan gallery.  Gosh that would be a dream – but I’m throwing it out there – you have to ask the universe for what you’d like to have in order to manifest it, right?

Here’s some pics from the show and a bit of around Williamsburg.  The show is up till October 20 – at Site:Brooklyn Gallery 165 7th St, Brooklyn, NY.  If you’re in the area stop by and check it out along with 2 other great shows! 😀

A little luck…

I started studying Chinese a little more than a year ago.  One of my favorite parts to learn is the characters.  A lot of folks will start with just learning the pinyin but the characters fascinate me.  It gives me a serious thrill when I can identify one on a sign – so far it’s never more than one but hey you gotta start somewhere!

I like the history of how the characters formed and how you can see how the character for mouth looks like an open mouth 口 or how the character for person looks like a person walking 人. Or even the crazy complicated ones that don’t look like what they are, they’re just beautiful to look at, like 发现 🙂 They’re like little bits of art to me.

One of my favorite characters has become the character for Jí 吉.  I originally came to Jí 吉 when I was searching for a character that I could make in murrini that meant luck and could be used as a charm that was to be a gift for people we visited in China.  I wanted to be sure I didn’t mis-step even though I found the character and its definition in a reputable dictionary. I did a double check with a Chinese friend of a friend in Singapore to make sure it was an appropriate character and would be well received as a gift.  They assured me it did mean luck and general well being and that it was a lovely character and any Chinese person would be happy to receive it.

So off I went with the Jí 吉.  I made the murrini out of it (glass rod with a pattern inside) but it didn’t turn out quite as great as I wanted and I abandoned the idea of making the charms.

But the Jí 吉 still suck with me.  I really loved it and loved the shape.  After I returned from China and found out I got into the miniature show, decided maybe I could make a micro-mosaic pendant for myself to wear to the show.  I decided on Jí 吉 !

Then, the news came that a good friend of mine who is Chinese was scheduled to have a very very serious surgery that will require months of recovery where she won’t be too mobile.  I wanted to do something for her, so decided to make her a little good luck micro-mosaic charm of Jí 吉 that she could keep nearby.

Both turned out great.  My friend was really thrilled with her charm and hopefully it will bring her good luck during the recovery.  I happily wore the necklace to the opening of the miniatures show and think it will become one of my favorite pieces of jewelry to wear for quite some time.

Here’s the final results of both the pendant and the smaller charm.

Internationale d’art miniature in Levis, QC

Earlier this year we came across a call for a show with an interesting twist.  The Internationale d’art miniature 10th edition, where everything in the show had to be miniature size with strict rules on dimensions of the art (max size 12 sq inches).

Decided it would be fun to see what I could do with such a small parameter and got to working on a couple of micro-mosaics.  I really love creating the micro-mosaics, they’re challenging and eye-fatiguing but just love it.  The pieces that make up the mosaic are very small glass threads that range in size from about 0.5mm to 4 mm wide, with most of the pieces in the 0.5 – 2mm wide range.  In order to get glass this small or in colors I want, I take a larger piece and heat it in torch flame sometimes mixing colors together to achieve a new color.  When it is soft enough I grab a bit and pull to get a thin thread of glass in the size that I want.  Then I cut that down into tiny bits to make up the micro-mosaic.  This extra bit of connection to actually creating the material that is used in the mosaic – not just cutting up pre-made or pre-sourced stuff – it really does something for me, gives me an extra link to the piece, think it is one of the reasons I love doing the micro-mosaics so much.

I worked on 2 designs to submit – a silhouette of woman in black & white with color on her dress, the other a mini-version of a larger mosaic I made years ago – the view of a Maiko (apprentice Geisha) from behind showing the nape of her neck.

It was a fun challenge to undertake.  Figured even if I didn’t get into the show, it was ok as it was good learning to make them.  Luckily though – both pieces got in!  I was so thrilled!!

The show is amazing!  It is being held just across the water from Quebec City in Lévis, QC.  We made a weekend trip out of it and went for opening day.  The show has 350 pieces by artists from 23 countries!  It is wall art and sculptural – everything under 12 sq inches.  No photography or digital stuff allowed, all had to be hand created.  It was totally fascinating to see what other artists do and the incredible details they can create in such teeny tiny spaces.  The opening day was a full house, tons of people all vying to get up close to each piece.  They even provided hand held magnifying glasses to use when looking at the super tiny bits.

It has been just so exciting to be included in the show and have discovered this whole world of miniature expositions.  Maybe it will become a new direction for me.  😀

If you’re up near Quebec City this summer – take the ferry across the water to Lévis and go see the show, it won’t disappoint!  It’s on till September 1st and held at Centre d’exposition Louise-Carrier, 33 rue Wolfe in Lévis and is open every day of the week. More info click here

For my 2 pieces in case you’re curious of the size – the lady in silhouette is named “Delphine” and she measures in at 3.3″w x 2.5″h while the “Maiko (apprentice Geisha)” is 2.5” w x 3.3” h they’re each set on a 6” x 7” background.

Here’s some pics of the show on opening day and our visit to the area…

Happy Holidays!

Each year in December I like to make a holiday themed mosaic.  This year, while trying to decide what to do, I stumbled on this amazing little wood bezel that had been floating around the workroom for a long while.  Decided to use it and make a little micro-mosaic tree.  The tiny bits of glass measure between 0.5 – 4mm wide with the total size of the piece being 2.2 cm x 4 cm.  Originally I was going to put a pin on the back and make it into a broach, but the husband had a better suggestion.  He said I should turn it into an ornament for the big tree and each year going forward create a new micro-mosaic ornament.  In 20 years time, we’ll have a tree full of micro-mosaics!

Wishing you all a holiday filled with joy and a wonderful new year in 2019!!  😀

Enough

The past two months have been a whirlwind of tremendous things happening one after the other.  Life is kind of ramping up at the moment for me, but in a good way.  Hope it is the sign of more to come.  🙂

I’ll share with you over the next few blogs all of the great things happening. Today’s is about a piece of mine that was accepted in a juried show!   The show was a special one to get picked for as it was the 1st year of the Canadian Annual Mosaic Exhibition.  It was such an honor to be a part of the inaugural year.  It was held at the Flagship Gallery in Hamilton Ontario during November, and there were more than 30 stunning works in the show.

The piece of mine that was chosen is a micro-mosaic called “Enough”  This technique is a little different than traditional mosaic, all the pieces in her are very tiny and have to be set using tweezers.  They range in size (width-wise) from 0.5mm to about 4mm.  All her glass was melted and pulled to size by me in a flame at GSS Flameworking.

her special murrini

I also created a special murrini (glass rod with a pattern inside) in black and white to go in her dress.  The tiny pieces take quite a long while to put together, when most are between 0.5 and 2 mm wide it is time consuming to fill even 1 square inch!

So why is she called “Enough”?

In today’s world we’re constantly connected, bombarded by so many demands on our time, so much negativity, unending terrible news stories in the palm of our hand.

A couple of folks getting up close for a better look at her tiny bits!

A feeling of frustration at this constant connection and negativity inspired to me create an abstract drawing of woman in a beautiful dress looking down with eyes closed, hands to head, having simply had enough of all that was going on around her.  The drawing laid around for months till finally she came to life as a micro-mosaic.

She is smaller (the actual mosaic size of this piece is 5 x 7, overall size 8 x 10) and floats surrounded by a background of swirly darkness representing conflict.

Really came to love her a lot and was so thrilled she was chosen for the show.  Her bits are so tiny, included below are some pictures but for best viewing click to make them larger.  I also made a little time-lapse video of her progression – if you’re interested it is at the bottom of this blog!  Be forewarned though, it was my first time doing this so it jumps a little.  Next time I won’t kick the tripod out of place so much!  😀

Murrini madness!

The whole reason I got into working with molten glass at GSS Studio was to learn how to make my own murrini (or millefiori ) and to pull glass into stringers in the colors and sizes I wanted for micro-mosaic pieces.

starting a murrini

the start, 2 layers of glass so far!

So what are murrini anyways?  Most likely, you know what it is – or you know it by the name millefiori.  It is slices of glass, cut from a rod that has a pattern in the cross section.  It is most famously made on the island of Murano outside of Venice Italy.  Often you see it in jewelry or on decorative vases or paperweights. The pattern can be anything – when it is a flower based pattern it is called millefiori (a thousand petals) other patterns are called murrini, though many would use the term millefiori loosely for any pattern as it is the more well known name.

Murrini are complex to make, involving many layers of molten glass being put together and shaped, then heated up till red hot and finally pulling the hot blob by hand into a long rod.  You have to be careful to not twist or turn the blob of molten hot glass when pulling or you risk messing up the pattern created inside!  After the rod has cooled, it is cut into slices revealing the pattern in the cross-section.

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rod just after it has pulled

I buy commercial murrini made in Italy and use it in my micro-mosaic jewelry.  So why would I want to learn to make it?

While I love the murini I can buy, I just thought it would be so cool to create unique patterns myself.  Then if I’m using my handmade murrini in my handmade micro-mosaic jewelry designs, it makes the piece of jewelry that much more unique, that much more “one-of-a-kind”.  Truly, no one else in the world will have anything like it.

Most of my murrini patterns so far are abstract (my ultimate love) or geometrical.  There will be more complex designs as time goes on but so far it’s a good start!  Here’s some pics below – look for some of these in this year’s holiday collection of jewelry coming soon!  😀

It’s official – I’m Canadian!

My holiday gift came early this year!  On December 9th, I received my Canadian Citizenship. 😀 glovesNot only did I receive my citizenship – but I was insanely lucky (and honored) to have been 1 of only 50 new citizens invited to attend a very special ceremony hosted by Canada’s Governor General at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

For non-Canadians, the Governor General is the representative of the Queen in Canada and carries out most of her constitutional and ceremonial duties.  Our current Governor General is the His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.  Rideau Hall is his residence, the largest official residence in Canada.

my micromosaic maple leaf pinI wanted to show my pride for becoming Canadian, so made a micro-mosaic pin of a Maple Leaf.  It’s small, 20mm x 20mm, with individual pieces just 0.5mm to 2mm!

The first part of the day was in the Tent Room where we had round table discussions on citizenship.  It was neat to meet other people and hear their stories.

the Governor General with my card!! photo by Kevin Burns

the Governor General with my card!! photo by Kevin Burns

The best moment was when the Governor General arrived, he went through the room stopping to talk.  Amazingly, he came right by me to say hello!  My (odd) hair probably caught his attention first- but my absolutely lovely mother-in-law leaned over and told him to look at my pin because I’d made it.  We had a nice chat and when I told him I was trying to do mosaic as a living – he asked for my business card!!  I was so nervous I grabbed a wad of them and handed him a bunch. :? It was like a dream to talk with him, he was so great!

I really had my mother-in-law to thank for the whole exchange.  I’m not good at self promotion, it was all due to her that he looked at my pin and found out I’d made it, I’m lucky to have her in my life!

We took our Oath in the ballroom with an orchestra and singer.  Also in attendance were the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General, & John Ralston Saul.  It was incredibly emotional – I’m not an outward emotional type but got choked up & nearly teary.  Several other people around me were wiping their eyes as well.

yay for cake!

Once we all received our citizenship certificates it was time for food and fun!  We had a reception with cake, beverages and photo ops.  We were given a tour of Rideau Hall, even into in the green houses.  In all, we were there 5 hours!  My face was sore from smiling so much.

It’s easy to look back on life and make connections – but somehow I think I was always meant to be Canadian.  I grew up near Seattle and we got Canadian TV.  I watched (the original) Degrassi High and related to the kids on that show more than the USA tv shows.  We often visited BC growing up and as an adult I worked for a Canadian company where I first met my future husband.  Though if you’d told me at the time I was to marry him 14 years later I’d have never believed it.  He often tells me Canada is more suited to my personality.  He might be right, my Dad used to get mad at me for apologizing and saying “sorry” all the time.  😉

I’m well aware that my journey to this great country was a smooth and easy one.  I wasn’t fleeing any war or horror – it was only love that brought me here (or could have possibly gotten me to trade Florida heat for -30 c winters!).  But it doesn’t make my journey any less, I am so beyond proud to be Canadian and thrilled to know I can stay forever.  It is the best gift I could have received!

A bunch of pics from our day are below – there is a really cool one of me and the GG on his site, can’t post it here but you can go to this link – it is the 3rd pic in!  https://www.gg.ca/gallery.aspx?ID=11391