Fine, Or Not So Fine? by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

After my lengthy discussion yesterday, here on my blog over the course of six posts, I could not help but notice all the terms that I used to talk about mosaics: craft, fine craft, art, and fine art. This can be confusing, and it is quite likely that we would not all agree on these terms. 

Clearly, however, those of us who talk about fine art mosaic, and elevating mosaic to a fine art status, have some THING in mind when we use the term fine art

I thought that I would, today, talk about what I mean when I use various terms. You may or may not agree with me, but my usage is informed by my 20+ years in mosaic. That's not to say that, therefore, I am right, rather to offer that I have a valid basis for my views.

In the photo above, I am hoping to illustrate the difference between fine and not fine. Both are decorative mosaic pieces, and could broadly be called decorative mosaic art. The one on the right displays a fineness that the one on the left does not. The vase on the right also displays a higher degree of skill and creative design. 

Further, I would say that the one on the left could qualify as craft, but not fine craft. Although, I would not categorize the one on the right as craft, fine or not. Why? Because of the degree of skill and the level of design. Is this too subjective? Perhaps. But if you can't tell the difference in quality between these two items, then it probably does not matter. 

How about another example?

Here we have two examples of decorative mosaics (well three actually, as there are two mosaic candle holders in the left photo), which can be broadly categorized as decorative mosaic art, although the one on the left could easily be called craft. The candle holders are nicely done and you could say that they are technically finely done, except that the design—if you could even call it that—is just so simple and basic that it can't qualify as fine craft

The bottle on the right, however, is quite finely done, and the demands of the design require a good degree of skill to execute. I consider this a fine decorative mosaic, and would certainly allow that it is fine craft, as well. 

Last but not least:

I categorize all three of the above wall pieces as art, but they are different degrees of art. The still life on the left is art in that it is expressing a point of view. I talked about this one in What's In A Name? #5.  It is not fine art because of the lack of skill, both artistically and mosaically. 

The mosaic in the middle, L'entrata, is a beautiful mosaic, executed with a high degree of technical skill. While it is certainly art, the question of whether or not it is fine art is a bit murky, and will have to defer to the eye of the beholder. The design, if you could call it such, is basically in service to a photograph. I know that this kind of talk can stir emotions, but I am willing to acknowledge that this issue is, indeed, an issue. And I am also willing to acknowledge the view that this mosaic may not be fine art, as fine as it is.

Regarding the mosaic on the right, Piercing the Veil, I consider this an example of mosaic fine art. Is it good enough to hang in a museum, or win an exhibition? That is not for me to decide. But it displays a high degree of technical mastery and it is a unique expression of an idea and a point of view. From where I was as an artist when I made this piece, this was a sincere attempt to communicate an idea with the highest degree of skill that I possessed. I call it fine art.

Now, you may not agree with my conclusions about the pieces that I've used as examples. That's not the point of this post. I'm just hoping it will contribute to the discussion. 

What's In A Name? #6 by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Iskandria 3" x 3" | 8 cm x 8 cm. Glass, hematite, obsidian, Swarovski crystal (2012)

Still with me? Because if you're not, I'm just having a conversation with myself. Nothing new on that count. 

So what is the above mosaic all about? Well, I was at a loss as to what might be useful for this final post, so I just chose one of my favorite things that I have ever made. Fine art? No way. 

It is a nice little piece of art, in my opinion, but perhaps just barely art. I made six of these in 2012, each one a bit different, but extremely similar. So, are they art? If not, what are they? Craft? Like a lot of things that we create, it may be somewhere in the middle. 

As I behlold this, I will tip the scale on the art side. It exhibits a fair degree of mosaic skill, and I think that the sky is more than just a bit crafty. But, does it have a deeper meaning? Express a point of view? Make a statement? No, no, and no. Maybe it's just floating around in that no-person's land of crafty-art or arty-craft. To this beholder—me—it's a little piece of art. 

I've tried to be very tactful in this series of posts, as I know this can be a touchy subject for some people. Maybe it seems that I have kind of danced around the topic, but I've meant to use examples and my own personal experience to make some points. Too subtle? Well, I can remedy that.

Over the years, I've spent many hours visiting other mosaic artists' websites. I italicized mosaic artists because the term is as pesky as mosaic fine art. Just because someone calls his/herself a mosaic artist, does that mean that they are? Just because they call their work fine art, does that mean that it is? 

From a lofty distance, we can take refuge in saying that it's not up to us to answer those questions, that it is all in the eye of the beholder. But for the sake of this discussion, my answer to both of those questions is emphatically NO

Now, let's get serious:

  1. Are you clear on what your work is, and on what your work is not? On the degree to which your work is craft, fine craft, art, or fine art?
  2. Do you want your work to be regarded as mosaic fine art
  3. Do you have an idea of what is and is not mosaic fine art?
  4. Do you have a website gallery, titled fine art, with uninformed crazy-paving frames? (Crazy-paving is quite legitimate and awesome, when done correctly. When done incorrectly, I call it uninformed, which is the good-cop's variation of the bad-cop's amateur.)
  5. Do you label your mosaic birdhouses, stepping stones, and candle holders fine art creations?
  6. In any profession, for your work to be elevated to a high status, a good degree of mastery in your medium is required. Art is no exception. Do you understand the technical aspects of your medium? Does your work exhibit a good degree of technical mastery? 
  7. If you have not achieved a good degree of technical mastery, do you still call your work fine art?
  8. It probably does not matter what you call your business or your website or your Facebook business page. If you know what your work is, if you are clear on what you are creating and why, the name that you choose is not nearly as important. If your work is stunning and true and fine, your company could be called This Is Not Fine Art, and your work would be still known as fine art.
  9. Having said what I said in #8, I personally think that if your art is serious, your business should have a serious name, whether it is your own name or not. There is something in a name, and certainly when a name is all that a potential gallery or buyer has in front of them. Just Jackie's Mosaics conveys a different weight than does Jacqueline Iskander, or even Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics.

Over the years, I've been able to observe the evolution of mosaic as a fine art, and it has been quite remarkable and exciting. I've also observed, with frustration, a lack of discernment in various areas and levels of the mosaic community, from individuals to organizations. 

This lack of discernment, while understandable to some degree, considering the relative newness and speed with which mosaic has moved, is also a hindrance to it finding its place in the fine art world. This lack of discernment, while played out in public, serves to perpetuate itself, reflecting poorly on the medium as a whole, impeding its elevation.

This is the end of my treatise. Thank you for listening.

 

What's In A Name #5 by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

What's different and alike?

It was definitely time for a change of graphic, don't you think? 

The two mosaics above were made around the same time, probably about 1997-1998. The one on the left is what happens when someone who has neither natural talent nor artistic training attempts a still life, as well as what happens when one is new to mosaic. Artistically, there are problems with the design, and mosaically there are problems with the execution. Still, this piece hangs in my kitchen today and makes me feel good. 

Unwittingly, I was attempting to make art with the mosaic on the left, and I would argue today that it is, indeed, art. It's not fine art, by any measure, but it is art. I was trying to express the warmth of such a scene, as it means to me: the color and lusciousness of such beautiful and delicious vegetables—is there much in the world more beautiful than a large, shiny, purple eggplant? It's a point of view.

The mosaic on the left is decorative, and not terribly fine. If I had painted the tiles myself, the mosaic might squeak by as art, but just barely, in my opinion. It's not a bad mosaic, in the sense that it was soundly made and lives today, but clearly it is not fine art, though art in the decorative sense.

In my early years, I had a website. In fact, I was one of the few mosaic artists to have a website in those days, owing purely to the fact that one of my kids was quite a tech geek. I put everything I made on the site and did not distinguish between fine art and decorative art. This reflected the fact that I did not see a distinction—it was all mosaic, and what else to call it but mosaic art? As best I can remember, my categories were wall panels, vases, tables, etc. 

As time went on and my experience and base of knowledge grew, my websites reflected this evolution of understanding. My categories began to reflect wall art vs decorative art. Then fine art vs decorative art. Then I took decorative art off of my main navigation and only had a link to it on my About page. Then I removed it from my About page entirely. Now, I am developing a completely separate website, with a different name, to serve as a storefront for my decorative art. The name Jacqueline Iskander is for my fine art work only. 

This has been a process for me—an evolution of understanding, to repeat. Sometimes, it just needs to work this way. Some people, for various reasons, have a more immediate understanding of this. Maybe they have been at it longer; maybe they were always artists; maybe they had formal training or early environmental influences. Lots of reasons, I imagine.

And then there are those that just don't give a damn about any of this. Who cares what you call it? If you are one of those people, you should have stopped reading these posts a while back. 

I'll have one more post on this coming up...

 

What's In A Name? #4 by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

As a friend observed: When it comes to art, isn't it all decorative?

I'm going to stick with the above graphic one more time, as it is still be relevant for this post. 

There was a time when I did not understand the difference between art and decoration. I chose art that I liked and that I thought worked well with the decor. Whether a vase or a wall item, it was all art to me—all decoration.

My first few years exploring mosaic yielded simply mosaics, not art. I did not think of making art—how could I when I did not even know what it was? 

Two of my decorative mosaics were accepted to the first MAI to which I submitted (the vase on the left above was one of them; chest at right the other). At that time, I thought: well then, they must be art. I remember that at the exhibition, a woman was admiring the chest and asked me what was my inspiration. I answered honestly that I just wanted to make something beautiful. It was not long after that that I began to grasp how and why art is different. 

The evolution of mosaic as a fine art has been confusing to both individual mosaicists and the mosaic community at large, I think, never mind the broader art world. The speed with which it arrived is rather astounding, which will inevitably lead to such confusion. We, as the mosaic community, seem to be at once fighting to reach that fine art pinnacle, while at the same time being very conflicted about what mosaic fine art actually is. 

Well, as I said previously, I don't want to get into trying to define what mosaic fine art is. I think I can, however, whittle away at what I think it is not. For those who are trying to understand a distinction, such an exercise may be useful.

What's In A Name? #3 by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Which one of these is not like the others? 

I was talking about decorative mosaic, and how I consider the mosaics on the left and right above to be decorative art, but not fine art. If you feel yourself on edge a little (or a lot) after my mention of fine art, please review #1 and #2 of this ongoing discussion, which will provide a context.

Regarding decorative art, in no way do I feel it is in any way less than any other kind of art. Absolutely not. But, in the context of this discussion, I am clear that it is not fine art. Likewise, I would say the same thing about fine craft.

Let's not diverge into defining what is and is not fine craft. But getting back to my previous statement about the decorative mosaic on the right flirting on the edge of being craft, I should explain that and get it out of the way. 

I've spent the last few months mosaicking bottles and frames in that decorative technique used on that bottle on the right. The more I did of this kind of work, the more I could feel the craft-ness of it. I used different colors and patterns, but in the repetition of it, it became a craft. Here I want to quote from a book that has been a constant companion to me and which I highly recommend:

Yes, there is a difference between art and craft—it's just that both terms are so overgrown with fuzzy definitions that drawing a clear distinction between them is close to impossible. ...

Think of craft and you think of furniture shaped by Sam Maloof, of handmade clothing flaunted at Renaissance Fairs, of everything made before the Industrial Revolution. Think of art and you think or War and Peace, a Beethoven concerto, the Mona Lisa. Both disciplines obviously yield good things, valuable things, sometimes tangibly useful things, and at first pass the distinction between them seems perfectly clear.

But is the Mona Lisa really art? Well then, what about an undetectably perfect copy of the Mona Lisa? That comparison (however sneaky) points up the fact that it's surprisingly difficult, maybe even impossible, to view any single work in isolation and rule definitively "This is art" or "This is craft." Striking that difference means comparing successive pieces made by the same person.

In essence, art lies embedded in the conceptual leap between pieces, not in the pieces themselves. And simply put, there's a greater conceptual jump from one work of art to the next than from one work of craft to the next. The net result is that art is less polished—but more innovative—than craft. The differences between five Steinway grand pianos—demonstrably works of consummate craftsmanship—are small compared to the differences between the five Beethoven Piano concerti you might perform on those instruments...

Yet curiously, the progression of most artists' work over time is a progression from art toward craft. In the same manner that imagination gives way to execution as any single work builds toward completion, an artist's major discoveries usually come early on, and a lifetime is then allotted to fill out and refine those discoveries. As the Zen proverb suggests, for the beginner there are many paths, for the advanced, few.

At any point along that path, your job as an artist is to push craft to its limits—without being trapped by it... The difference between art and craft lies not in the tools you hold in your hands, but in the mental set that guides them. For the artisan, craft is an end in itself.

—David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards)   of Artmaking

Yes, I will concede that the mosaic on the right could be considered craft—fine craft, if I do say so myself. And it is also falls within the general category of decorative art.

That's that about craft, and I'm not going to distinguish between art and craft within a decorative or functional sense again. The thing that I think is relevant, within the context of this discussion, is the distinction between what might be fine art, and what might not be, and why this matters with regard to the struggle of elevating mosaic art to a fine art status.

 

 

What's In A Name? #2 by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Which one of these is not like the others? 

This post continues a conversation that is based on the belief that mosaic art is not fully accepted and embraced as a fine art by the broader art world. The conversation began with the post What's In A Name?

There are several reasons why mosaic art is not fully—or perhaps at all in some places—accepted as a fine art. Historically, mosaic was primarily functional, even in the telling of stories or witnessing of events. Then, it began taking on more decorative and pictorial responsibility as well, but was still a covering, more or less. There is no question as to the relevance of mosaic as a functional or decorative medium. Mosaic as a fine art medium is a contemporary idea, and its relevance as such is not settled.

Mosaic, in and of itself, is not automatically art, anymore than paint or clay or any other medium is automatically art. Art is expressed with a medium, but it is not the medium. Likewise, art is not an automatic result of creative exercise. While I accept that art is in the eye of the beholder, within the context of this discussion: if I desire for my mosaic art to be accepted as that thing called fine art, there is obviously a more objective standard to which I am aspiring.

In reference to the three mosaics above: 

Which one of these is not like the others? 

Clearly, I'm making a distinction between decorative mosaic art and that peskily nebulous category of mosaic fine art.

Or, is it clear?

With respect to the middle mosaic, I used the medium of mosaic to express an idea and create an art piece for a wall. I consider it a fine art piece. The mosaics flanking the middle one are decorative mosaic and I consider them decorative art. In fact, the one on the right flirts on the edge of being craft—OMG! I said it! (I'll talk more about this in a bit.) 

A friend of mine used to say about art: Isn't it all decorative? In the broadest sense, I think she has a point. But within the context of this discussion, we have something in mind when we are saying fine art. I'm not going to try to define what that is so much as I might just try to define what it is not. 

Stay tuned...

 

What's In A Name? #1 by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Which one of these is not like the others? 

Yesterday, there was an interesting discussion taking place in the Mosaic Mentoring group on Facebook. The original poster questioned the wisdom behind how we name our mosaic businesses. Specifically, she seemed to make a connection between how we name ourselves and how mosaic, in general, is accepted—or not accepted—within the larger art world. 

To this point, I've included three mosaic images above and ask: Which one of these is not like the others? Hold that thought as I will get back to it shortly.

The issue of mosaic being accepted or not, and what the reasons for this might be, is an important discussion, but one that hinges upon a more primary question:

Do you believe that mosaic art is not fully accepted/embraced as a fine art by the broader art world?

If your answer to this question is No, then this discussion is probably not relevant for you.

If your answer is Yes, then the next question to ask would be:

What do you think are the reasons for mosaic art not being fully accepted/embraced as a fine art by the broader art world?

My answer to the first question is Yes, so I'll continue. 

My answer to the second question is: Several reasons that I would love to discuss, but I don't think the name we choose for our businesses is necessarily one of them. 

So, now I am going to explore some things, based upon a belief that there is a struggle for mosaic art to be generally accepted as a fine art. Again, if you don't care about this question, this conversation is not meant for you. 

Back to my earlier question regarding the three mosaics featured at the top of this post: 

Which one of these is not like the others?

I'll talk about this in my next post.

Let's Decorate! by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

THANK YOU to all who have already submitted work for my book idea! We are on our way to a new and unique addition to our mosaic libraries. 

I've been including pics of some of my own decorative work in my promo calls, just to give you some ideas. If you're not quite sure about what qualifies as a decorative mosaic, check out this blog post that I wrote last week: What Is A Decorative Mosaic?

There is still plenty of time to get your submissions in before the August 1 deadline, so please do! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.

Could Not Resist the Pull by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Magnets 2" x 2" | 5 cm x 5 cm. Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

So, after finishing up all those frames, I decided to have a bit of fun making these little magnets. I used some scrap 1/4" thick masonite for the bases, and was able to use mostly leftover tess from previous projects. 

Then, I decided to include them in my online store, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. I've been working many hours to get the store front set up and—my goodness—what a lot of work that is! Even though I don't have many items, it's still a big project: photos, pricing, packaging, shipping! It's a whole new world, and my hat's off to all of you who have already tackled this.

In listing the magnets on the store front, I needed to come up with names for all these little guys, and that was actually a fun diversion. I just named them after family and friends that came to mind as I considered each magnet. 

I know that I keep saying that I am ready to get to work on that art piece, but I'm going to stop saying that. I will allow myself to work through some more of my decorative inventory for at least another month or so. And who knows, maybe longer! It feels good to be making use of some of the things that I've collected over the years.

What Is A Decorative Mosaic? by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

(2005) Lotus Panel. 13" x 21" Mosaic gold, vitreous glass

Mosaic would qualify as decorative if its primary purpose is to beautify or decorate, as opposed to express a deeper meaning, communicate a point of view, or make a personal statement.
— J.I.

So let's talk a bit about decorative mosaics.

The mosaic above is a decorative wall panel. It was inspired by a necklace found in King Tut's tomb (image at right, photo by Araldo de Luca). While the necklace itself is not purely decorative, my rendition of it is.

I was attracted to the repetitious and almost geometrical composition of the lotus flowers and buds, as well as the lovely composition of the fully opened flowers. I chose the color palette to go with a particular room. No deep meaning here, just wanted to create a decor item for the house.

If you're not sure if a mosaic is decorative or not, explore the intention with which you made it. A still life, for example, may not be expressing a deep meaning, but it is probably expressing a point of view. Did you make the still life of flowers merely to decorate a wall or to match the furniture? Or were you trying to communicate your experience of those flowers?

Likewise, a pet or human portrait—while it may not be a philosophical statement, is most likely an attempt to communicate aspects of its subject.

The above image shows two necklaces: A stunning mosaic pendant by Margo Anton, and a non-mosaic piece that I bought at a museum gift shop in Mesa, AZ.

Since Margo was one of the first to submit for my book, I am pretty comfortable saying that the necklace she made is a decorative mosaic. Her intention was to make something beautiful that someone would find joy in wearing. I can personally attest to the success of her intention. 

It's pretty clear that the other necklace's intention is to make a statement. While it is not mosaic, it can hopefully be a helpful example.

So, is all mosaic jewelry decorative? No. As the creator, your intention answers the question. After that, it truly is in the eye of the beholder as to with what level of art it will be embraced.

In a Mag by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Oklahoma Today Magazine. May/June 2017 Volume 67, Number 3, pages 22-23. 

I am finally in possession of the May/June Oklahoma Today magazine that features my mosaic, Piercing the Veil, as the opening for its Roots section. 

The rather dramatic shading at the top and bottom are a graphic design choice and not reflective of the actual mosaic or the photo that I provided. Not complaining, not at all. I'm thrilled to have one of my works featured so prominently. 

STUDIO BOOK by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

STUDIO BOOK 142 pages. 12" x 12"

STUDIO BOOK is something that I have been working on for at least the last nine months. I wanted to have photos in my studio of a couple of large commissions and some other works that I don't own anymore. But as I got started working on it, it kind of grew into a larger idea. 

The book contains the usual gallery-type display of mosaics: Three series, 10 non-series works, some decorative pieces, a few Small Things, and 6 workshop/class projects. Additionally, I've included some WIP photos—Inside the Studio—for 6 of the works in the book. I did my best to add brief commentary where I thought it might be useful. 

This is a big book, 12" x 12", and has some really nice, large photos, as well as a few studio, not-the-greatest pics, in particular the WIP photos and ones of my earlier mosaics—the oldest one being from 1996.

It will be another few weeks before it's officially finished, but it's finished enough for me to share some spreads with you.

STUDIO BOOK Preview

 

 

Six Mirrors by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Bronze, Gray, Silver Mirror. 29" x 37". Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

The sixth and better-be-last mirror frame that I will do for quite some time, this bronze, gray and silver one is really quite pretty. This photo, although better than I thought I would be able to get, does not do the mosaic frame justice, but I'm going to try to live with it for awhile before deciding to pack up all six mirrors and take them in for professional attention.

Since the outside light was fairly favorable when I took the above photo, I decided to work the other five. The results were mixed, but mostly more successful than the previous photos, so I will share them here.

 

Blue, Purple, Aqua 16" x 21" Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

 
 

Blue, Yellow, Turquoise 14" x 17.5" Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

 
 

Gray and Blue 18" x 16" Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

 
 

Red, Rose, Bronze 21" x 17" Mirror and Van Gogh glass. Exterior morning light.

 

Red, Rose, Bronze 21" x 17" Mirror and Van Gogh glass. Interior studio lighting.

Just look at the difference between the two above! My goodness! I think that the photo on the right is a little better in quality than the one on the left, which I took this morning. Not sure why I've had such trouble with this one. The one on the right is, of course, closer to what it looks like inside, which is where it is meant to hang. 

 

Copper, Orange, Gold Mirror. 24" x 28" Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

 

It feels very gratifying to have mosaicked these six mirror frames—four frames that I've had for years, and two old mirrors (the largest ones). It's a bit like purging while cleaning house, but I guess I did not really get rid of anything, I've just transformed them. And I do so love to transform things. 

Of course, I have Lucy to thank; were it not for her ACL surgery, I probably would have moved on to some art work. I'll trust that the time was just not right. But soon it will be! I plan to get back to an old art piece in the next week or so. 

Five Mirrors Down, One To Go by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Copper, Orange, Gold Mirror. 24" x 28" Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

Yes, still at it! This is the fifth frame I have mosaicked while keeping Lucy company in the kitchen as she recovers from her ACL surgery. She is doing well but still not ready to have an unsupervised run of the house, much less be up in my studio on the slick laminate floor. So, another few weeks in the kitchen for me. I just can't bear to keep her in her indoor pen for very long during the day, if I can avoid it.

Neither of these photos is terribly good, but together they give an idea of how #5 turned out. (I may have to take these mirrors in for professional photographing as I believe that they are beyond my skill level.) I had a 20" x 16" beveled mirror in a closet, with a rather unfortunate frame. So, off came the frame and on with this new one. Additionally, I've framed the mosaic frame in a black floater frame, like the previous four.

Another 30" x 22" beveled mirror from our old house, in a closet for about 20 years, will soon be acquiring its new frame. I will spend the next few weeks, as Lucy continues her recovery, on the largest frame of the six, measuring 37" x 29". I've already started it, using a neutral palette of bronze, silver, gray, and black. 

Call To Artists: Decorative Mosaics Book by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Snake Vase (2006) 40" x 9"

Question: What defines decorative mosaic?

Answer: Mosaic would qualify as decorative if its primary purpose is to beautify or decorate, as opposed to express a deeper meaning or make a personal statement.

  For example:

  • Interior Decor
  • Architectural
  • Public Works
  • Pool and Garden
  • Functional
  • Jewelry

Click here for more information on submitting your work.

 

Mirror, Mirror—Mirror Mirror by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Clockwise from top: Blue, Yellow, Turquoise 14" x 17.5; Grays with Blue 18" x 16"; Blue, Purple, Aqua 16" x 21"; Red, Rose, Bronze 21" x 17". Van Gogh and mirror glass.

I've finished those four frames that I had—mosaicked them, installed beveled mirrors, and then framed them in floater frames. I'm satisfied with my efforts.

I photographed them today, and I was sorry that my cool photo studio was not as helpful as I would have liked it to be for these mirrors. The larger mirrors, in particular, were difficult. I did my best, but still had imbalanced lighting and reflection. They were not as sharp as I would like, especially the larger two, and especially the blue of the larger two. These will have to do for now. Maybe when the weather clears up, I will try outside.

I think that most of the difficulty is due to the glass tiles, and certainly the mirror tiles. I still have high hopes for photographing art pieces, and my results with the bottles were overall acceptable. 

Two more mirror frames to go! I had a couple of mirrors stored away, in frames that I did not like, so I removed them from their original decorative frames and decided to go ahead and make new frames for them while I am deep into this decorative phase. These are larger frames with 4" surface to mosaic, versus the 2" of the above frames. Maybe by the time Lucy's knee is healed, I will be finished with these two mirrors. 

 

Call To Artists: Decorative Mosaics by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Skin Deep, detail (2007) 

As I write this post, I have been mosaicking bottles and frames for the last few months. Our dog's knee surgery has kept me downstairs and mostly out of my studio, so I'm continuing to focus on decorative work out of my kitchen until Lucy is recovered. 

All this decorative work has renewed my years-long interest in creating a book featuring decorative mosaics. Most of my early mosaic learning was through decorative applications. I've seen a lot of fine decorative work throughout my years in mosaic, including architectural, functional, public, pool/garden, and jewelry mosaics. 

So, I'm taking the next step in a book direction by calling on artists to submit their decorative mosaics. If I get a good response, I will move forward with the project. I've created a couple of nice mosaic books in the past—MENOSSI: i mosaici and Edible Bits & Pleasing Pieces—and I'm sure that I can do a good job presenting a variety of decorative mosaics, and their creators, in a beautiful format.

If you're interested, or know someone that may be, here's the link: Call To Artists: Decorative Mosaics

Mirror, mirror... by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

In a previous post, I mentioned four frames that I had acquired some years ago. They are all odd sizes so I need to have the beveled mirrors custom made. The one standing up in the photo above, which I just finished mosaicking—but not grouted yet— is 16" x 19.5",and is the largest of the four. 

They each have a very nice matte black finish and it pains me to have sand down such a nice finish in order to improve adherence. 

My plan is to put the beveled mirrors in them, and then possibly frame then in wood floater frames. They should be very pretty. 

So, this is what I have been up to in my kitchen while closely monitoring Lucy as she recovers from her knee surgery. 

Lighting, lighting—Why Must We Keep Fighting? by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Bronze, Red, and Purple Bottle. 14" x 4.25" | 36 cm x 11 cm. Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

Not satisfied with my pic from yesterday, I'm still trying to bring out the purple. The awesome glass that I used is a bit dichroic, sparkly burgundy from one side, and sparkly purple from another. 

The exterior shot on the right brings out a bit more purple and a bit more sparkle overall, but the lighting is pretty harsh. However, I like the way it brings out more of the detail. 

I've forgotten how to cut out an object from a photo in Photoshop, which is hard to be believe since I have done it extensively in the past. However, Photoshop has changed, and while it has been changing, my brain has been busy forgetting. 

A Facebook friend gave me some instructions that I will put to the test this afternoon. If I succeed, I hope I will have the sense to make notes for the next time.

Bottle #4 by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Bronze, Red, and Purple Bottle. 14" x 4.25" | 36 cm x 11 cm. Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

Here's the latest in my bottle binge, another one of those Italian pinot grigio bottles. I like this palette a lot. 

I am a bit bottled out for now, even though I have a few more. I'm going to switch gears and mosaic four frames that I have, which will probably become mirrors. 

I'll be working a good amount of time out my kitchen over the coming weeks, so that I can monitor our dog who is recovering from knee surgery. This decorative technique is much more portable than if I were working on an art piece, so I'll continue with decorative work into the summer.

These frames should go pretty quickly, and it will be nice to work flat again, before finishing up the bottles.

The first frame will be in this same palette, because I like it so darned much!