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. 

Assessment:

  • 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.

Update on CREATIONS by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

I'm so excited to share this stunning book cover. The work featured is a table lamp by Brazilian artist Rosangela Kusma Gasparin, and it is titled Forgotten Glass. I feel like this mosaic expresses the creative, original, and explorative spirit that this book presents in its celebration of contemporary decorative mosaic. 

I'm still working on features for 5 of the 52 artists. Here is where it stands right now:

  • Artists from 20 countries
  • 104 mosaic works
  • About 200 photos 
  • Available late-winter 2018
  • Sold via J-MOSAIC or Amazon

In looking into shipping costs for outside the USA, I have found that Amazon can ship books internationally for much less than I can. So, I've decided to sell it through Amazon, as well as my storefront. It will cost a few dollars more, due to Amazon's fees, but the total cost of book plus shipping will be a good amount less expensive than if I were to ship it myself. 

All for now.!

Update on CREATIONS by Jacqueline Iskander Mosaics

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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 Foreword—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


 
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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.