Posts Tagged ‘Mosaics’


That’s how I feel today, the first of November, like I can finally sit back and take a breath.

It has been crazy quiet here on the blog this year and in most other aspects of my life as well.  No trips, no visitors, no going off with friends or long talks on the phone, not many dates with the husband – the reason, an insane amount of work!  But exciting work – it has been a thrilling if stressful 11 months and with the work finally finished I’m coming up for air.

Ever since I started in mosaics I knew it was what I wanted to do full time if I could, it took me a long while to get brave enough to put my art out there in the world and about 1 year ago I started applying to juried shows.  It was very fortunate that at the end of last year I received notice of acceptance to a dual show with another artist (this past spring’s Duplexity) but also a solo show for this coming November / December.

The gallery for my upcoming solo show is a beautiful space with a lot of walls to cover.  Both shows were going to be a huge undertaking, not only with planning what to go in them but also execution.  Mosaics are a slower process than other kinds of art – at least for me – and materials (the kind I use) not readily available at local art stores.  But since mid-December last year till October this year, I managed to create 26 new works and really flesh out 2 series ideas that I’d had for quite some time.

I loved working so intensely every day.  There were moments of frustration – as there always are  – and it was stressful for sure, but I would do it all again in heartbeat.  It could have gone either way, it might have totally burned me out on mosaics and creating art, but it didn’t – instead it makes me yearn to do more.  There are too many ideas in my head now, too much work that I want to do, too many designs created but not yet made.  My husband keeps telling me that I need to take a break now and just relax and do nothing for awhile, but think that will be very hard.  I liked the work, liked the crazy pace, liked having the really big goal and really liked seeing it all come together and come to life.

It also was a super learning experience.  I learned all about putting shows together, the marketing, how to hang things, etc..  I re-branded myself and created a new website focusing just on my art – with my jewelry becoming a separate entity.  I had failures happen during the year with some of the projects, but couldn’t wallow and had to find a solution quickly as there was no time to waste.  As a result my work is better.  My sculpture structures stronger, my techniques improved.  The husband helps me frame things and set them up, he’s developed faster better techniques for doing that too!

As a major bonus to all this – I was recently accepted into 2 group shows in addition to my solo show.  This means during the month of November my work will be in 3 galleries at the same time!  Don’t know if this will ever happen again so I am relishing in this very awesome feeling right now.

I’m so grateful for these opportunities.  Every single day, I say a mental thank you to the universe for allowing this to happen and allowing me to be in the position to do it with a family that is supportive.  Hope very much that more opportunities will come.

Will be writing more here on the blog now that time allows and catching up with reading your blogs as well.  😀

Not showing any completed bits of my new work today, just snippets.  You’ll have to stay tuned, I’ll show it later this month after the show officially opens on November 22.  😀

screen shot from my website, so thankful to get to list 3 upcoming shows!


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.


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.

The eyes of Rodin

Posted: August 7, 2012 in Mosaic Work Update, Rodin
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Just a quick update on Rodin today.  He’s been a bit slow starting, worked on him everyday this past week but played with colors, set a few bits then would pull them out and change my mind.

His eyes are done at this point and part of a cheek, earlier on he was experiencing what any woman who’s ever used cheap mascara has experienced, raccoon eyes.  😉  They’re still there a tiny bit but it will all blend in once the areas around the eyes are better filled.  At least I’m hoping they will!

No matter how hard I try, I just keep going tiny with the pieces, really really need to break out of this habit then the mosaics would complete a lot faster.  But with bigger pieces it always feels for me like less effect in shading and shaping occur so inevitably I end up going small.  Arrgghh!  Rodin will take some time, I may start a second project just to avoid burn out from only working on one thing.

Wedi Wedi excited!

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Mosaic General
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We went to Montreal this past weekend to see some of the Just For Laughs festival.  Unrelated mosaic note here – if you love stand up comedy, or even like it just a little – this is a fantastically fun festival.  Highly recommend it and Montreal is a fun city for a long weekend too.  Anyways – while in Montreal we went and got me a great big piece of Wediboard.  If you keep up with our blog you may remember my excitement at discovering a Canadian distributor who not only wasn’t too far away but less expensive than the US, an unheard of event usually in Canadian life!

So now I’m home with a 3’ x 5’ piece of Wedi and dreaming of what will come out of it. 

Here’s a little lowdown for you on what Wediboard is and why it is great for mosaic.

Wediboard is most often used as an underlayer in bathrooms and kitchens by contractors.  It is made by a German company and has a blue foam core that is then covered in a thin layer of cement and mesh.  This makes it super light weight, waterproof, weatherproof (excellent for outdoor mosaics), rigid, doesn’t need to be sealed.   You can also cut it with a utility knife and don’t need any special equipment to make fun shapes or even plain old squares.

Why is this good for mosaics?
Well, mosaics are heavy.  Having a lightweight base, especially on a larger project is a bonus.
Mosaics are also heavy (did I mention that?) so they can easily warp a surface rendering all your hours and hours of hard work useless as it breaks or cracks your mosaic.
In order to be safe with your mosaic when you use a wood (or MDF) base, it has to be quite thick, often ½” thick or more is recommended.  A ½”+ thick piece of plywood or MDF is heavy in and of itself, lay on a mosaic and dang it can get heavy quick!  Don’t get me wrong, I use wood sometimes for sure but a lighter more easily cut surface at a good price is better.

Wedi, since it is weatherproof can also be used outdoors.  Sometimes we want to mosaic a nice decorative panel for the outdoor patio wall but don’t want to mosaic directly on the wall, Wedi is there and much lighter weight than marine plywood.

“Can’t you use cement panel?” some of you may ask, after all it too is weatherproof, waterproof, probably won’t warp and is thin.  You’re right!  Cement panel  you see at the hardware store is also used as an underlayment in kitchens and baths – and yes you can use it in mosaics for sure.  It is a great surface.  But the Wedi is still lighter, easier to cut and has all the same great properties.

That’s all for the Wedi lesson!  Rodin is getting underway and  pictures will be coming soon…

Well, maybe some of you out there don’t love Rodin, but thanks to my High School French Teacher who introduced me to him, I gained a healthy love for his work.  Earlier this year I was in Paris, and finally on this visit I was able to go to the Rodin museum and gardens.  It was spectacular, just loved it, loved seeing the huge Thinker and the Gates of Hell in their giant glory in the garden.   The timing of this visit was great too as a special exhibit of some of his drawings were on display that aren’t usually out.

Anyways – years ago, I saw this pic below of Rodin on the French museums’ website.  It really grabbed me, and I took it to a mosaic portraiture class in 2009 thinking maybe I could mosaic it.  The class ended up using different materials for the portraits, but I kept my Rodin photo for future use.  Finally the time has come and hopefully he’ll turn out well.

He’s going to be put on Wediboard, I’ve already cut out the circle shape, it is 12″ in diameter.  Then Rodin himself will made with Vitreous Glass.  Would love to use Smalti but it is expensive and I can’t afford to use it all the time, so Vitreous Glass it is for Rodin.  Hopefully he’ll approve of the end result.  🙂

Keep checking back in with us to see him come to life!

The Cherry Blossom is finally finished.  Nearly had mental breakdown this weekend after some of the stain I’d applied globbed up in an area on the board but I didn’t realize it till too late.  Bad thing about mosaics – you can irrevocably screw up weeks of work at the end.  Thankfully a little fine sandpaper resolved the problem good enough.  Am happy with the way it turned out. My sister got a little sneak peek of it Friday and was a bit disappointed that it didn’t have more flowers on it, and some of you might be too – but I really like it like this.  I like that it is a Cherry Blossom just starting to bloom, just a hint of pink – not overwhelming, and that you still see the structure of the tree itself.  Here’s some pics of it and as requested by my sister a pic including a pencil so you get an idea of the sizing.  The pieces for the most part are very small, and at the tallest point the height of the tree itself is 7” and the width 9”.


It is funny, originally when thinking of it – it came to my mind as “the tree”.  I like the simplicity of “the tree”, etc..  Then after a few blossoms were put on it started coming into my mind as “she”,  oh “she” looks so good with that bud placed just so, etc..  Funny how my brain instantly equated it as a her once she had a very feminine feature in the form of the flowers.

tip – click on a pic to open this gallery into bigger sized pics where you can really see the details and coloring better.

A new project will start later this week, so check back in with me again!

For a few other “final” pics of Cherry Blossom that aren’t on here, go over to the recent work section of my website at

Goal for this week was to finish the trunk and branches of the Cherry Blossom tree and am happy to report the goal has been reached!  I’ll confess a tiny secret – the project was technically started before this week, so while I’d love for you to think I got all this done “wham bam thank you ma’am” style, well it just wasn’t that way.  Don’t want to set you up with false pretenses for the speed of my next project!  Creating mosaics (for me at least) takes some time.

Anyways – the Cherry Blossom tree is NOT finished yet, but the trunk and branches are, a few pics are included below.  Please note that the background is messy, the board hasn’t been cleaned up or stained yet so you may see some marks on it or globs of cement that won’t be there later.  But this is part of the fun in following the progress of the project, right?  See it through all its’ iterations!  Up next – putting on the blossoms themselves.  It will be nice to work with fun pink now instead of just shades of brown.  Though I must admit I kind of really like the tree this way without blossoms, it is nice in its’ brown simplicity.



Cherry Blossom Trees are just so darn beautiful.  Earlier this year there was an article about how it was the 100th anniversary of the Cherry Blossom gift from Japan to Washington DC.  This prompted a lot of surfing around looking at Cherry Blossom in bloom pictures which led to me to pictures of Cherry Blossom tattoos ( I always love a good tattoo ) and got me pondering maybe I should get a Cherry Blossom tree on my body, but couldn’t figure out a good place it would fit.

So – decided instead to satisfy my craving by making a mosaic of one!   Here’s the rough drawing I made up of the tree itself (sans blooms).


It will be put on a nice little precut board I found that already had lovely    routed edges so it won’t need to be framed.   Going to do this piece a little different, not mosaic in the whole thing, just do the tree and blossoms – leave the background as is, no mosaic tiles filling it in.  Give it a tiny bit of a 3-D effect.  Maybe it will be totally yuck this way, but am going to give it a shot!

A bit of progress has already been made, here’s a couple close up shots of two areas.  The piece is being made from Italian Smalti ( from the amazing Orsoni! ) What is Smalti you ask?  More on that topic another day, for now we’ll define it as a special type of glass, but not stained glass.

Keep up with me this week!  Hopefully by the end of the week I’ll have more progress pics to share with you!


What’s this blog for?

Posted: July 9, 2012 in General Post
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I’ve debated doing a blog for years.  Often I don’t think anyone cares what others have to say nor is a personal blog often interesting to anyone except the blogger, and as an insanely private person a blog has seemed scary and felt like too much exposure.  So why in the world after all that would I keep writing?

Because this blog will be about accountability for me.  Blogs are only worthwhile if the blogger keeps updating it.  In order to update this blog, I’ve got to be producing mosaic work and not slack off!

Mosaics have been important to me for 10 years now.  A few years ago I had a good streak of production going and was happy about my progress.  The last 2 years, life has change dramatically and time and energy for mosaics fell to the wayside.  I spent the last year in school learning French full time, I’ve moved countries, my family structure is unrecognizable from 2 years ago, virtually none of the items around my house are the same.  Only my dog, some clothes and a few knick knacks remain the same.  Life took some big changes, good changes, but time consuming ones that left little over for creativity.

The next 6 months though – it has been decided – will be devoted to a full force return to mosaics!

Some exciting things will be happening in the fall ( stayed tuned to find out what they are! ).  I’ve got some rough ideas for next mosaics as well and will posting regular updates along with photos.

Many photos of my past work (current work too) are posted on my website, but this blog will contain more “in progress” detail pictures and regular updates on upcoming projects, thoughts and more.

Join me on my next 6 months of adventure and hopefully, if all goes as planned, there will be some good work come out of it!