Stabby Mockup

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. 


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. 


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

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

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.