Self Portrait № 2, in progress by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Lovely day in the studio yesterday: mosaicking and listening to 70s music, with the chimes and nature sounds coming in through the screen door, along with fresh air!

I'm working with the darkest browns and reds, although I am surprised at how light they look in this photo. Lighting!

I have not done a work in predominantly smalti in years. I am enjoying its incredibly unique reflective quality.


Self Portrait № 2, in progress. 27" x 36" | 69cm x 91cm. Smalti, mosaic gold, porcelain. 

New Work by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Self Portrait № 2, in progress

I am really jazzed about this new project! I've only done decorative pieces and a few very small mosaics in the last 3 years, as far as new work is concerned. Although I did finish two very old, unfinished works, both of good size, this will be the first large work in some time. 

It will probably be months in the making but I'll post pics of it from time to time. I'm only just getting started after spending a good amount of time on the design and in preparation, including the little value study that I did. 

In this photo, I'm working on 5 chunky rings. They are circular, yes, but not perfect circles. In fact, I used some bones—cow bones, I think—that my husband got for our dog Lucy. She loved them, of course, but she broke a tooth on them and had to have some major dental surgery. No more bones for Lucy. Being the scavenger that I am, I collected the bones for some future purpose. They have at least two more lives, as the model for the rings in this mosaic, and also as specimens in a future mosaic. 

Value Exercise by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

 An exercise: 7" x 5" | 18cm x 13cm. Italian, Mexican, and Chinese smalti. 

An exercise: 7" x 5" | 18cm x 13cm. Italian, Mexican, and Chinese smalti. 

This is a little exercise I did in preparation for my next mosaic, which will be much larger at 27" x 36" | 69cm x 91cm.

As you can see, I've used quite a range of values in different shades of browns and reds. I had intended to go a value lighter, but realized that I did not want it that light for this upcoming work. I'm not even sure that I want to go as light as I did in this little exercise.

I never feel like I am very good at this, but I feel compelled to keep doing it. I take photos along the way, converting to black and white which is very useful. 

I was not focusing much on technique here, just shading. After I got started, I decided to try to also work in a circular pattern, although I won't be using such andamento in the larger work.

This exercise was very helpful. It helped me to eliminate lighter brown shades, and to better define the range of values that I want to use in my next work. I can see that I'll need to expand the medium-light values to develop that mid-range more fully.

CREATIONS: SAMA Participation by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

  SAMA Gift Bag Postcard Front. Artwork:  Forgotten Glass , by Rosangela Kusma Gasparin

SAMA Gift Bag Postcard Front. Artwork: Forgotten Glass, by Rosangela Kusma Gasparin

  SAMA Gift Bag Postcard Back. Artwork: Untitled (detail), sculpture by Allan Punton

SAMA Gift Bag Postcard Back. Artwork: Untitled (detail), sculpture by Allan Punton

Although it is not feasible for me to attend the conference this year, I have arranged a few things to help promote the book.

SAMA conference-goers will find a beautiful postcard in their gift bags. As you can see from the back of the postcard, Kim Wozniak will have a copy of CREATIONS at her vendor booth for people to see and drool over. 

I have also donated two copies of CREATIONS to the raffle. 

CREATIONS: No Hill for a Climber by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

No hill for a climber is my husband's favorite phrase of encouragement, often offered when anyone is feeling a bit daunted or facing some kind of setback. Such a setback came upon me about a month ago. We printed 500 copies of CREATIONS, only to have them rendered defective by a poor binding job. The binding issue was overall minor, but I felt it was unacceptable for this book—an art book—and for all the featured artists who put their faith in me to present their work in a professional and quality manner.

So, we reprinted the books and sent them to a new bindery in Dallas. I received the books a couple of days ago and they are, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way! The delay cost about 3 weeks but, since I was actually ahead of schedule, all is well. 

Tomorrow, 10 boxes of books will ship to an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Dallas. It will take a few days for the books to be processed and available, but it won't be long now.

Stabby Mockup by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Without frame: 8" x 8" Smalti, thinset

What a fun little mosaic! This is Stabby, my younger daughter's spirit animal, so to speak. She has a thing for unicorns, but not just any kind of unicorn. She refers to them as stabby demon horses; hence, the name Stabby.

I wanted to make a custom mosaic for Allison for her birthday, and she really wanted me to recreate her unicorn (below left) in mosaic. The more I thought about this, the more I got excited about it. We decided that I would make a mockup to explore the effects of the black smalti against a white thinset background, and if the white of the thinset is what she wants.

Allison is a software engineer for Apple, and she is also a writer. She created the pixilated unicorn, shown below on the left, as a logo for herself, using a 16 x 16 grid. Below right is one that I modified and that she has approved.

stabby original web.jpg
stabby new web.jpg

Her original does not have an eye and she is still thinking on that. I tried a red eye, and a few shades of gray. Then, she suggested one that is the same as the cement. To avoid the mess of putting the white cement into the black square hole, I created a little cement cube. 

I'm thinking of working within the pixilated format, in 1.5" or 2" squares. This would yield a 16 x 16 grid of 24" or 32" square, respectively. Then a few inches around the grid for the thinset background. Within the grid, the unicorn squares would be various textural patterns in primarily black glass. That's the thinking right now anyway. 

Storyteller by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Storyteller (2018) 10" x 7" | 25cm x 18cm, without frame. Stones, marble, petrified shell, smalti, mosaic gold

This little mosaic was driven by the large stone specimen in the lower left corner. I suppose I did not need to say that as it does seem pretty obvious, doesn't it? 

I had a bit of a struggle with where that stone—my storyteller—wanted to go. The whole design felt foreign to me at first, and a part of me tried to talk me out of it. 

The vague, gold linear pattern in the upper left made its way there through some kind of cosmic force, I think, because my rational mind thought it made no sense. But, at the same time, it made complete sense. A barely visible pattern, like some kind of ancient map or symbol, was needed by the storyteller. It took two days of internal debate for me to allow that to happen. 


This piece is such a surprise to me. It feels very symbolic and mysterious. As I was making it, it felt very archetypal, in the Jungian sense. It called to me, spoke to me, of travels and discovery, and of the interior journey of finding oneself over and over again: of searching and searching and of being led home to find that you already have what you've been looking for. A very old story, indeed.

The three specimens—the two stones and the petrified shell—were a gift from Luis, a fellow artist and friend in northern Spain, making these specimens ancient travelers across land and sea.



A textural view, shot in bright morning light through a window.

Current Inspiration by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

 Two rocks and what I believe is a petrified shell. For reference, the shell is about the size of a quarter, an oblong-ish quarter.

Two rocks and what I believe is a petrified shell. For reference, the shell is about the size of a quarter, an oblong-ish quarter.

These specimens are the literal rock stars in my current project. Finding their way to me from a faraway land, they have inspired me in a completely unpredictable way. 

It is a small mosaic—about 10" x 7" | 25cm x 18cm— and, at this point, I'm calling it Archetypal. I'm very surprised by it.

Just another week or so...

Past Life by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Past Life 60" x 36" | 91cm x 152 cm. Vitreous, slate, jasper, agate, moonstone, snow quartz, prehnite, mother of pearl, celestite, rhyolite, rhodonite, pyrite, copper, ceramic, mosaic gold, other glass.

Okay, here are final pics of this past life saga. With the help of my husband and son, we successfully hung it last weekend. It is very heavy, at least 60 lbs., although my husband thought 75. The ceramic and slate tile border is a good part of that weight.

I used a Z-bar type of hanger and managed to install the wall side of the hanger perfectly level! A fitting reward to mark the end of this 19-year effort. 

A window is directly opposite of the mosaic, and this provides varied lighting throughout the day. These photos show during the day and then later with much less exterior light. 

I'm on to new work! 

I. Can't. Believe. I. Finished. It. by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Past Life (1999-2018) 60" x 36" | 152 cm x 91 cm. Vitreous, slate, jasper, agate, moonstone, snow quartz, prehnite, mother of pearl, celestite, rhyolite, rhodonite, pyrite, copper, ceramic, other glass.

It's finally finished, and it only took about 19 years! 

I enjoyed working on this during the past few months. It was nice to not obsess about it, to work more loosely, and to not be attached to an outcome. 


  • Please forgive the photo. This is the best I could get with it still on my work table. The light from the skylight is making the left side of the water look too light. I will try to get a better photo once it is hanging on a wall.
  • Actually, the water and the darkest part of the sky are the same color. Bad lighting.
  • The border. Hmm... One of those what-was-I-thinking kind of things.  It is a bit heavy, but the multi-colored slate is a very pretty tile. 
  • I like the sky colors—actually all the colors.
  • The moon may be a bit too bright. I'm pondering whether to put a very light gray wash on the white grout. 
  • I intended to have more movement in the sky, but after I got past the first layer above the mountains, I seemed to settle into no movement. I was aware of this, and just decided to go with it. 
  • I give myself a passing grade of C on the sky gradient. I'm not very good at this kind of thing, and I would normally obsess over it and rework and adjust like crazy, eventually yielding something that makes it look like I know what I am doing. No obsessing here; no standing back to get perspective. 
  • The lower gradients are not as good as the top-most one. I think I was getting the hang of it by the time I reached the top. It was challenging using different-sized pieces. 
  • I still don't like the interior shape in the moon, but the white grout helps to soften it. 
  • When I decided to finish this, I also decided that I would not change anything that had already been done. If I would have changed one thing about it, it would have been that moon; the frame comes in a close 2nd. 
  • Back in 1999, I named this Fullness. However, in the past couple of weeks, it demanded a new name. It is now titled Past Life.
  • I think that I finished it—19 years after I started it—in a way that is harmonious with its haphazard and amateurish beginnings. 

Other posts about this mosaic can be found here: Fullness

The End is Near by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Fullness (1999-2018) 5' x 3' / 152 cm x 91 cm. 

I can't believe I'm actually going to finish this old thing, and before its 20th birthday. I crazily started this back in about 1999 and did not know what the heck I was doing! I think the border may be a bit heavy, but that was the first thing I did on it, way back when, which made it very difficult to dispose of.

It's taking a lot of discipline to resist redoing 19 year-old work, but my gosh! I still like the original concept but I would SO do it differently now. I have suffered a bit of embarrassment in sharing this embarrassment, but I thought it might at least be instructional. 

You can find my previous posts about my revisiting of this work here: Fullness



CREATIONS: Take a Peek? by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

 Cover art:   Forgotten Glass ,  by Rosangela Kusma Gasparin

Cover art: Forgotten Glass, by Rosangela Kusma Gasparin

I've created a book preview containing a few selected pages. The preview shows the work of the following artists, in order of appearance:

Rosangela Kusma Gasparin (front cover), Kirsten Jonas, Antoaneta Stoimenova, Sabine Schüle, Aida Valencia, Fernando Bekir, Jacki Gran, Jennifer Kuhns, Julie Burkhart-Haid, Kathryn Bernstein, Rhonda Dönges, Susan Burton, Yalily Mejia, and Allan Punton (back cover). 

And... Printing is tentatively scheduled for the end of January.  🤓

CREATIONS: Chatter by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

 Cover art:   Forgotten Glass  , by Rosangela Kusma Gasparin

Cover art: Forgotten Glass, by Rosangela Kusma Gasparin

Back in early December, I recruited three very talented and knowledgeable mosaic rock stars to review the book and possibly write a blurb for the back cover. They all graciously agreed to take a look at it and, after having done so, have generously written lovely mini-reviews, aka blurbs.

On the little book site I set up, I've added a Chatter page containing the blurbs that are now on the back cover. 

Check out the chatter here!


From Asturias, With Love by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

This is a sampling of some very special stone (and a few metal) specimens, very thoughtfully gathered by Luis Laso Casas, from the beautiful shore and landscape of Asturias, Spain. They arrived yesterday, in a large, sausage-shaped package, brilliantly wrapped so that as I unrolled the package, tape strips held the stones in place against bubble wraps. It took several delightful minutes to release all the specimens. The more I searched, the more treasures I found. It was as though they were being revealed to me as I slowly unrolled it.

The variety of stones is amazing! I've never been anywhere that I could have found so many different types of rocks in one geographical area. They are just beautiful, and they are calling me.

(Obviously, I owe Luis another book!)

CREATIONS: First Draft by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

First draft of CREATIONS: cropped, loose pages

Well! Isn't this exciting?

Currently, it's at 182 pages, with four pages allocated for the foreword. However, I've given Nancie a lot of latitude, so the page count may grow or shrink by a couple. 

I'm finalizing the back cover, and my chances of lining up a few highly regarded mosaic rock stars to review the book and contribute their expert opinion, in the form of back cover blurbs, are quite favorable. 


CREATIONS: Update by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

cover image with credit web.jpg

Final proofing for the book is moving along quickly. This is due partly to my desire to wrap it up before we are deep into the holiday season, and partly due to the responsiveness of the artists. There are just a few to be finalized. 

Originally, I had chosen 54 artists for the book. I suspected that I might lose a few who might have difficulty providing good enough images. Strangely, I did not lose any for this reason. As it turned out, I did lose 2 artists, but for other reasons.

The first one declined to participate due to needing to help with hurricane recovery. At that point, there were 53. So, I decided to include myself in the book and keep the number at 54. Unfortunately, I lost one more who simply failed to respond. So, we are at 53. Let's hope that's a lucky number.



CREATIONS: Special Announcement by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Do you notice anything different about the cover? Other than that I have spelled Foreword correctly? 

That's right! The Mosaic Maven herself, Nancie Mills Pipgras, has graciously and enthusiastically accepted my invitation to write the foreword for the book. She has seen an early draft and is very happy to be a part of it!!!

To quote one of the presenting artists, Floy Height: "I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it."

Nancie has been supportive of this effort from the beginning, and helped spread the word in the mosaic community. I know, for a fact, that she is responsible for connecting some of the artists in the book with my Call to Artists. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, esteemed Ms. Pipgras!


Keep Up With CREATIONS by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

To have a convenient source of information and updates for the book, I've created what Squarespace calls a Cover Page, which is like a single page website. It has three navigation options: Artists, Specs, and Updates

Select Artists to link to a pdf listing of the artists featured in the book, with links to their websites. For those who did not provide a website, the link will go to an email, unless/until they request an alternative link. (Artists: Feel free to make that request.)

Select Specs to link to a pdf that provides a bullet-style run-down of the the specs for the physical book and content.

Selecting Updates will link to the CREATIONS category on my blog, under which all things CREATIONS have and will be posted. 

Want to see it? Here it is!

RGB to CMYK by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

I've often been frustrated when I see some of my photos, that I have become accustomed to viewing on a monitor, in printed format. This is because of the RGB to CMYK conversion. I'm thinking about this now as it relates to my upcoming book, CREATIONS, and as I've been working with literally hundreds of images.

The above awesome graphic illustrates the difference between RGB, which is how we see images on a computer screen, and CMYK, which is how we typically see images in print. 

RGB, which stands for Red, Green, Blue, is a broader spectrum than CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. In regard to printing, CMYK is also called 4 Color. The above graphic illustrates how much narrower the CMYK spectrum is than the RGB spectrum.

Most printing, whether digital or offset, is 4 color, or CMYK. Very high-end and/or custom printing offers CMYK + light cyan and light magenta, and possibly more, or CMYK + a spot color—whatever a customer is willing to pay for. Coca-Cola Red and IBM Blue, for example, are CMYK + a spot color, when in print.

Where the RGB/CMYK difference is most visible to me is in very vibrant blues with some violet. However, it is primarily noticeable in a relative sense: I notice it because I have seen the RGB representation, and I am aware of what is being lost relative to what I see on screen and with my own eyes.