Fragile Heart

I've got a bit of a head-start on my next project. A few years ago, I started a small piece that was more of an exercise. I needed something to putter around with while I was waiting for some materials to come in for a large commission.

Attempting to confront my aversion to working with red, I decided to work on some color gradation. At the time, I was pondering heartache, sadness - matters of the heart. This was around the time that I had to make the very difficult decision to put down a family dog. Several other life changes were also happening at the time.

Above is where I left the 9" x 11" exercise when my commission work resumed. I liked it and thought I might finish it someday, so I held onto it. As I was working on my last piece, If I Were A Tree, I entertained the idea that this old exercise would be my next project.

As my mind shifted to my exercise becoming a finished work, my concept for it began to evolve. I wanted it to be bigger and to fit my Impromptu series. I began to see how to accomplish this, but I would have to make some changes.

In order to enlarge the 1/4" Wedi substrate from 11" x 14", I cut a 13" x 16" piece of 1/2" Wedi. Next, I cut 2" strips of 1/4" Wedi. Then, I spread a layer of thinset on the 1/2" substrate, anchored the original 1/4" substrate in the lower left corner, and filled out the top and right sides with the 2" strips of 1/4" Wedi. After leaving it to cure, I added the washers and bolts and attached a wood frame to the back. 

I removed pieces in two areas, shown in the black circles above, in order to retrofit the washers. Now, its ready and waiting for me, as soon as I am ready.

As it turns out, I have a new dose of unwelcome inspiration for this piece. My younger brother died 8 days ago. He had congestive heart failure and left us, it seems peacefully, in his sleep. He was a loner, a bit of a recluse, and suffered some deep wounds in his adult life. I'll be contemplating the inevitability of hurt and loss as I work on this, and I'll dedicate this mosaic, currently titled Fragile Heart, to my brother.