Update on CREATIONS by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics


Wow! I am so pleased with how the book is coming along. It has truly been an honor and a joy to work with mosaic people from around the world. Part of the delight, as I have been receiving mosaic bundles of photos and other information from the artists, is to see so many countries represented.

Currently, approximately 1/3 of the 54 features are complete, although still preliminary until final proofing and approval. This is remarkable, considering that the deadline of Oct. 31 is still more than a week away. The artists have, on the whole, provided excellent photos; where there have been issues with not being able to provide quality photos, I have been able to work with the artist to resolve things and make sure that they are represented.

Out of all the stunning photos of all the amazing mosaics, I have chosen a tentative-almost certain cover image that I believe perfectly represents the spirit of this book. I feel it's too early to release the cover, but maybe in my next update, after the deadline and all the bundles come in.

Although I am not ready to share the cover, I can share a bit about the format of the book. 

  1. The book will be somewhere around 200 pages. It will be 11" x 8.5", portrait orientation, softcover.
  2. The book should be available no later than late winter-early spring 2018. However, it is coming along a little faster than I had anticipated, so it could be more like mid-winter, or late January-February.
  3. There will be a brief Introduction, written by me, and possibly an even more brief Preface.
  4. There will be a Foreward—fingers crossed—written by a very special someone with a broad and knowledgeable mosaic view, matched by their massive mosaic passion.
  5. Then, there is the heart of the book: the Presenting Artists. 
    1. Each artist will have either a two or four-page feature. I decided against three-page features as that created flow problems. Each artist's feature starts on a left-facing page. 
    2. Each feature begins with the artist sharing about themselves, in their own words, in their own fashion, about why and/or how they do what they do. Approximately 250 words provides several paragraphs on the first page of the feature. Depending on how long this narrative is, there may or may not be an image of their work on this page.
    3. Photos! You will immediately see the artist's work featured on the right-facing page, accompanied by a brief narrative—in the artist's own words—about each work presented. 
    4. There are a good number of photos that lend themselves to being used in a very large format, either across an entire spread of two facing pages, or filling a single page. These photos are chosen to be presented in large format based upon their size in pixels, on whether the subject matter lends itself to such presentation, and on my attempt to be fair. In fact, there are more than I can feasibly exploit, but I'm doing my best!
  6. After the Presenting Artists section, and all the hundreds of images, there will be an Index of the artists, providing contact information.
  7. There will be an index of the works, by category. For example: Furniture, Architectural, Public Works, Exterior Decor, etc.
  8. There will be an Acknowledgements at the end of the book.

So, that's it! I am so very happy and excited about how this is coming together. By way of this book, I am meeting artists from around the world, and seeing work that I've never seen before. It's completely awesome! AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!

Cheers, Sold! by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Cheers 2012! 12" h x 5" w x 5" d.  Mirror and Van Gogh glass.

Another birdie leaves the nest! This bottle has found a new home, and thankfully arrived there safe and sound! Cheers indeed!

Another reason to cheer is that the sale of this bottle was the first official sale via my new storefront, J MOSAIC. I'll admit that I was nervous packing up the item, and rewrapped it twice. Then, I nestled it in a bed of compostable packing peanuts, inside of a 500 lb. double wall box. Fortunately, all is well.

Mosaic to Music by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Chaos Theory (2003) 18" x 18" | 46 cm x 46 cm. Smalti, mosaic gold

My musician son is writing a clarinet solo piece, inspired by this old mosaic. Isn't that cool?

When I look back at an old piece like this, I tend to be pretty critical. It's so easy to see the limit of my technical ability and mosaic education. There is a particular andamento issue that now stands out to me, in the light pink yin of the yin-yang.

Also, the circular pattern of the interstices, cutting through the petals surrounding the yin-yang, was not intentional, although I now consider it a happy accident because I think it adds something. It is interesting that the unintentional—and therefore unordered—petal cuts has created a somewhat ordered circle. Chaos creates order?

Something New by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Adam and Eve (2017) 7.5" x 11" Marble, porcelain, mosaic gold, turquoise, amethyst, pyrite, agate, millefiori, contorno, viterous

Here's a preliminary photo of my recent commission. I'll get final pics after I frame it; it is currently shown in a digitally created frame. 

The client wanted something in the same style as On The Horizon, and especially wanted some amethyst. Almost as soon as we started discussing it, I had a strong intuition to abstractly express both her husband and herself, and their relationship, but I did not initially share this concept. I asked what minerals her husband was more attracted to, and he claimed turquoise. 

A couple of days later, I presented her with this idea to do two faux panels, one for each of them, and have them relate and connect with each other via the flow. She really loved the idea!

Decorative Mosaic Book Update by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics


I'm trying out the the above as a title for my book featuring decorative mosaics. What do you think? 

So, the book is moving along! I received submissions from 147 artists from around the world, and reviewed over 700 mosaics. Yikes! I have selected submissions from 54 artists for further consideration. 

In the next couple of days, notifications will go out to everyone that submitted, informing them yes or no.

I have pored over all the submissions, and made multiple passes. Even though the criteria for the project was as well-defined as I knew to make it, there were many works that gave me some struggle. The toughest decisions came down to making an admittedly subjective call on what I felt was the decorative nature of a work, especially wall pieces. 

My call had a very good response, especially after I extended the deadline. And especially in the last couple of weeks before the deadline. I am very thankful to the mosaic community for its interest and response, and for all those who helped to promote the call and get the word out! THANK YOU!!

Sometime in November, I will have worked enough with the 54 artists to offer more definitive information about the book—the look and feel, so to speak. 

Stay tuned...

A New Old Lesson, con't by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Fullness, wip. 1999-2017. 60" x 36"

Alright, moving right along.

I've finished the water with the moon reflection. I studied a lot of images of moon reflecting on water, but admit that I did not study the mathematics of how the moon reflects upon water based upon where it is in the sky. 

Since I am not going for realism and perspective in this old piece, I chose the type of reflection that I thought I would have chosen back in 1999, if I'd had the wherewithal to imagine such a thing.


It's been enjoyable to work on this old mosaic and I may know why that is. I'm not terribly attached to an outcome and I feel free to experiment. I can't know how much this new mindset is related to the fact that I am finishing upsomething that I started back in 1999 and, in attempting to harmonize the new work with the old work, I am allowing myself to work in a more relaxed manner and with a sense of adventure. I am hoping that my interior work over the last couple of years has also been productive, but will not know the extent of progress on that front until I move on to new work. 

Soon, I'll start the several square feet of sky. First, however, I will take a few days away from this mosaic to work on a small commission I've got going. I'll post about that when I make a little more progress.

A New Old Lesson, con't by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Fullness, in progress. 60" x 36" | 152 cm x 91 cm. Stone, minerals, vitreous, mother of pearl, mosaic gold.

In a previous post, I talked about my new iPad w/Apple Pencil and the Procreate app, which my daughter gave me for my birthday. Above you see my initial attempts with Procreate.

The Apple Pencil definitely takes some practice. Blending and shading are certainly doable, but I'm far from mastering it. This really is a powerful tool.

What I did was to import a photo of the mosaic in progress. I also took a photo of the tiles I have chosen and was then able to create a palette. From there, I just started coloring and trying out different pencil tip options and blending tools.

There is a marked difference in the sky between the left and the right photo, although both are very rough. The pencil is very sensitive and takes a lot of practice to handle fine detail. But, I think this is so awesome to be able to do this!

The photo on left shows my intention for the body of water at the bottom left. I'll be getting started on that moon reflection today. 

Prelude, in situ by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Prelude, in situ (2014) 17.5" x 13.5" | 44cm x 34cm. Mosaic gold in shades of orange and violet, porcelain, glass. Inspired by Rachmaninov's Prelude in G Major, Op. 32, No. 5.

It's not often that I can get a pic of one of my sold works in situ, much less a perspective that highlights a textural element so well. Of course, the shot is into the light, which made the mosaic rather dark. I did my best to lighten it enough to see it, without it too adversely affecting the background. 

Here's a closer-up shot:

Sold! by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Etude (2007) 24" x 40" | 61 cm x 102 cm. Smalti, mosaic gold in blue, green, and turquoise, glass and faceted garnet beads.

What an amazing thing it is when somebody loves something that you have created enough to purchase it and make a place for it in their home. How very wonderful! 

I'm somewhat sentimentally attached to this work, as it marks a pivotal change in my relationship to mosaic-making, so it's a bit sad to say goodbye. It will be missed, but it's found a new home.

Etude, alternate view

Etude is the first in a series titled Music To My Eyes, which is inspired by classical music forms. This mosaic generally expresses the etude form, and was loosely inspired by Chopin's Harp Etude, Op. 25, No. 1.

Drinks are on me, y'all!

Decorative Mosaic Book: Update by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Two bits of news: 1)There will be a book and 2) The deadline is approaching! 

Based upon the submissions received thus far, I will be going ahead with a book featuring decorative mosaics!! However, I am still hoping for more submissions!

Do you need more time? Should I extend the deadline to September 1? If I hear from you that another month would help, I will be happy to extend the deadline. If I don't hear from you, the deadline remains August 1.

The book title, dimensions, number pages, and price are yet-to-be-determined. These decisions mostly depend upon the number of pages, which is primarily based upon the number of mosaics to be featured. More good news is that I will be able to sell it on my new storefront site, J MOSAIC, which will allow me to keep the price very reasonable for a softcover digital print book.

Keep those submissions coming!!



Smalti Jewelry w/Margo Anton by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

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Being a fan of Margo's work, my interest was piqued when I saw on Facebook that Margo was doing an online class through Mosaicartsonline.com. I looked into it and was fascinated to see so many courses with so many talented mosaic artists. Never having attempted mosaic jewelry in any serious way, I decided to try it out and I enrolled in Margo's class.

I watched the entire course one morning and then purchased her kit from di Mosaico. I received the kit yesterday and on right is what it looks like. 

I chose the Medium Blue mix from the extensive mix options. The pendant blank is very shiny and pretty, although different than the kind that Margo uses. Not sure which I like better. 

I've got a bit of traveling coming up, so I probably won't get to this pendant until mid-August or so. At that time, I will be able to rewatch the course segments as needed. I'll be looking forward to this little project.

A New Old Lesson, con't by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Fullness, wip

So I did tinker with that hair today and I am liking it more than I did pre-tinker. We'll see if I can leave it alone now and move on to the water. 

Adding a double dose of new to this project: My daughter gave me a new, big iPad for my birthday this year, along with an Apple Pencil and the Procreate app. I'm heading out to San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco in a few days and then, immediately after return from CA, I'll be heading to the Aspen Music Festival for about a week. While vacationing, in my free time I'm going to play around with Procreate and try out sky ideas for this piece on an imported photo, like one above. Should be interesting!

Both of the above photos were taken with the iPad camera, and I'm really impressed with the quality. Also, because of the size of the mosaic, it's pretty difficult to get a good straight-on perspective shot. With the iPad, however, I can stand on a stool and hold the iPad as high above the mosaic on the table as I can. Still, you can see I can't get the entire mosaic, but it's good enough for now. 

A New Old Lesson by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Fullness Circa 1999? 60" x 36" | 152 cm x 91 cm. Photo on left is where I left it back in 1999, minus the gold wavy strips for the hair. On right is where it stands now. I'm not sure about the overall shape of the hair and will most certainly be tweaking it. 

Well, I'm feeling brave today, or at least brave enough to post pics of my current challenge. Embarrassment notwithstanding, I will share this project as I go.

I started this piece over 15 years ago. At the time, I wanted to do something big, so I impulsively rushed into what turned out to be a less than half-baked idea. I wanted to work with some stones but had no idea where to get anything but the small, tumbled, polished ones that you see. I had the idea for the moon, the full feminine, and the earthy palette, probably inspired by the small slate tiles that I used in the border. Ceramic trim pieces, in a dark gun metal gray—more of a hematite— make up the border outlines, along with small mother of pearl rectangular beads. 

It did not take long for me to get stuck on it, and then overwhelmed by the fact that I had not figured out several square feet. The hair is where I stopped, lacking the skill and the patience, as well as an idea, of how to handle it. 

Also overlooked was the fact that the cement board needed both hanging hardware and some kind of support structure on the back, as it had too much flimsy in it for it to be stable. So, it was relegated to various storage locations throughout the years. What to do! It was so big that I could not just throw it away—I would have had to cut it up or have it hauled off. I liked the original idea, however, so continued to hang onto it, hoping that someday I would know what to do with it. 

Finally, after moving into my new studio, it was time to make a decision. I decided to finish it and, in the process, treat it like an exercise. I've added both a support frame and hanging hardware, and have the hair mostly under control, but will work on it some more—it's too organized. I did those mountains this past week and enjoyed working on some andamento. They are meant to appear silhouetted and far in the distance, on the other side of what will be a body of water in the lower left corner. 

The photo at right is a bit like what I am going for. I've never attempted a water reflection—neither sun nor moon—so that will be a good exercise.

I'm not sure that the new and the old will marry well and be harmonious and whole. The perspective is not realistic; in fact, none of this is realistic. 


Photo Credit: Naoe Suzuki

Photo Credit: Naoe Suzuki

Then, there is all  - - -  that  - - -  sky. I want to try something in the sky that will be new for me and also challenge me in what I think will be some very beneficial ways.

I've been studying Menossi's Tramonto, on left, for inspiration, with both andamento and the way that he layers the sky.

I've got about four shades of vitreous in a kind of gray-blue, and may work in a bit of sheared smalti for scant clouds. Gee! Not sure I can pull it off, but I will give it a go. 

No, I don't like the apostrophe shape in the moon. It was meant to be a swirl, but I can't say what happened to it. There are other issues as well, too many—too many to change. That's the deal: I won't change what I did in 1999 and I will try to be true to it's beginnings.

Time for Class? by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

Beginner's Mind #4, detail. 10" x 8" | 25 cm x 20 cm. Smalti, porcelain, mosaic gold, vitreous, other glass

I know I'm a little late i getting to this, as I thought I would have been ready before the spring. Well, so much for plans. Various things, including our dog's ACL surgery, have reordered my life a bit. Ah well, life is surprising that way. 

It's time, now, for me to start thinking about offering instruction here in my beautiful, new studio! I've had inquires throughout the years, but never really had the studio space, and was otherwise not ready to tackle it. I'm ready now, to at least start thinking about it.

To that end, I have created a survey that I hope will be helpful to me in determining where to start, and what may meet people's needs. If you are interested in mosaic instruction here in my Tulsa, OK, studio, please take a few minutes to complete the survey below. I will be very grateful in you do!

Class/Workshop Survey

Edible Bits & Pleasing Pieces by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

I am pleased to announce that this tasty cookbook, featuring mouth-watering mosaics—and recipes, of course—is available for sale! I think there may be a few used copies of it still available on Amazon, but I am now able offer it on my new storefront instead of via Amazon. I can offer it for a little less—$22—and the price includes shipping. My apologies, but I am only shipping within the U.S. at this time.

The book is an international collection of recipes and mosaic art. 63 recipes and 64 mosaics have been contributed by the international mosaic community. The collection of food and drink-themed mosaic art is diverse and robust. Includes conversion tables, quotes and tidbits, and a few personal stories.

    To take a look inside the book: Slideshow Preview

    To purchase: Buy Book




    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, primarily because of its not being terribly original.

    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...