Stabby seems right at home in my daughter's beautiful San Jose condo. Her new console table, which will sit directly beneath the mosaic, won't be delivered for a few more weeks, unfortunately. Of course, I'll want a photo of the complete effect once the table arrives, which I trust Allison will be able to provide.
Well, I had intended to get back to a larger work I started before Stabby, but I felt inspired to play around with my backyard shale and some special wayfaring stones. The bottom large piece of shale had an interesting crack in it that resulted in a kind of a cavern. Before I knew it, lava was flowing out of it.
The smaller stones are sparkly with crystalline patches. I tried to capture the sparkle in the below pic, but it's just barely there. I'll try for better photos when the mosaic is finished.
In the last few days since finishing Stabby, I've been playing around with simple patterns and color combinations for decorative 2" frame options. I've put them all together on these two idea boards.
The bottom board includes corner option patterns. I've come to prefer a continuous pattern around the frame, without any corner deviation of the pattern, but—surprise—not everyone is like me. 😎
I was able to primarily use remains from previous projects that I have accumulated over the many years of making decorative frames, bottles, magnets, and a few boxes.
Now, it's time to get back to an art piece that I started before Stabby came into my life. I'll also be transitioning to working on an easel after 20+ years of working on a table. I guess I'm ready for an adventure!
Yes, the time is now to acquire a copy of CREATIONS before the price increase to $35 on June 1.
For shipping within the U.S., you can purchase this book for $25, and that includes shipping!
Click the button below to preview the book and read what others have said about it.
I really can't believe that this mosaic is 11 years old! This was my first serious attempt at working with these gorgeous materials, and was the beginning of a love affair that lasts to this day.
It seems that most people think that the title refers to the biblical Old Testament which, although not intended, is understandable. The title actually refers to the fossil's voice, its story, which is very old indeed.
Old Testament now sings its song in the beautiful home of a Tulsa architect.
See all Stabby posts here.
Well, what can I say? This nearly life-sized, pixellated unicorn head is finished and ready for transport to San Jose, CA! Allison loves her mosaic unicorn and is awaiting her with open arms and wall space.
I completely enjoyed this project, as is always the case when I have the opportunity to do something that I would never have thought of doing on my own. I learned some good stuff and I am thrilled with the final outcome.
I'll be visiting Allision when Stabby arrives, and we will hang the mosaic together. I'll get some in situ pics at that time. If we're lucky, her new console table, above which Stabby will hang, will be delivered before I have to come back home. Otherwise, Allison is a capable photographer and she can try to capture the complete ambiance.
Previous Stabby posts here.
I've completed the 170 squares that make up Stabby's head.
Now, I'm cleaning the glass and the gaps around the squares. Allison has floor to ceiling windows in her condo, and these windows will be facing the mosaic and shining some pretty bright light on Stabby at times. I want the gaps and any exposed cement to be as clean and neat as possible.
Next, I will use some black cement colorant to darken most of the exposed charcoal cement, especially the gaps around the squares.
The Wedi washers that you see were used to attach the Wedi panel to a wood support frame on the back. I'll attach a metal floater frame—Allison's choice—to that wood frame, and also install the hanging hardware onto the wood frame. I don't trust the metal hangers that come with the floater frames; they tighten into the frame with tiny set screws and I feel that I need more robust hangers for such a large mosaic.
I'll be visiting Allison in San Jose in June. It looks like I will be able to arrange for it to be delivered while I am there, and the two of us can hang it. We are both excited to see it on her wall.
As of the above photo, 112 of the 170 pixels (squares) are finished. My daughter is very excited about how it is coming along, and I am enjoying working on this. For background on this mosaic, see Stabby.
It is interesting to see how the various patterns reflect. In the photo at top left, the darkest square is an awesome spikey pattern made with Kismet tiles cut in slim right triangles, which are the offcuts from another pattern. The photo at bottom left shows a closer-up view. I don't think that this pattern will stand out quite so much when the piece is upright.
There is another pattern that is similar, but with smalti and not as pointy, and the pieces are more squarish, so closer together (shown in this blog post). The squares in this pattern also look very dark, very black.
I will be putting the piece upright soon, and will have a better chance to study the reflective variations from the proper perspective.
There will be a lot of finishing work to clean-up the squares. I'll be using a black cement colorant on visible thinset due to it being not completely black.
This piece has been tricky in dealing with such a variety of materials, all of varying thicknesses. I'm using a combination of raising some of the pieces with porcelain tiles underneath and controlling the height with thinset.
It's coming along!
Effective June 1, 2018, I will be raising the book price on both J MOSAIC and on Amazon to its post-introductory price of $35. If ordering via J MOSAIC, shipping is limited to within the U.S., and is included in the price.
Amazon is probably the best option for those who live outside the U.S.
If you are outside the U.S. and want to order from my site, please just contact me through my contact form. I have learned that, for example, Amazon does not ship to Argentina.
J MOSAIC or Amazon, what's the difference?
For those who would be shipping within the U.S., you can order from J MOSAIC or from Amazon. What is the difference? The total cost for me to be able to sell the book on Amazon comes to 40-45% of the book's selling price. So, if you buy on Amazon, Amazon gets a good chunk; if you buy from J MOSAIC, the artist—me— benefits.
I was fortunate enough to attend Lynne Chinn's recent class at Julie Richey's studio in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas. It was an outstanding class. Lynne is such a good teacher and a super fun person as well. And Julie really has the hosting thing completely under control.
Julie's studio is really in a fabulous location, with food and lodging options within walking distance in the lovely artsy area that is the Bishop Arts District. This was just a wonderful workshop experience.
Adding to my small but growing collection, I acquired a piece each from Julie and Lynne. I think they are just perfect for my studio, don't you? (Just click on the images for a larger view.)
The above view is from from the left and slightly above, at the base of the neck. The photo below is looking straight on at the base of the unicorn's neck. See more info. on this mosaic here. 32 squares down; 138 to go!
Oh so fun! Allison is seeing my progress and asking for more and more texture!
Although I am really enjoying this, there are a couple of challenges. The black glass is very hard to see, especially against the charcoal thinset. And, it takes a lot of finessing to work with the different types of glass in achieving what I consider to be a desirable tessera height, especially with all the different textural effects going on.
Talk about fun!! I'm getting started on Stabby, a custom mosaic of a pixilated unicorn head. For some background on this project, see this blog post. At left, see the design and the mockup I made a few weeks ago.
I've prepared the 36" x 36" | 91cm x 91cm substrate, which is Wedi with a wood support frame on the back, and I've inked-in the squares of the 16x16 grid that define the unicorn. This morning, I started playing around with some patterns to fill the 170 or so 1.5" x 1.5" | 4cm x 4cm squares.
The glass in the upper left and also the fourth square from the left in the row of six (in the above photo) is from a gorgeous Uroboros glass sheet called Black Granite Ripple. It's quite difficult to cut and I've got a bandaged finger to prove it—it got the better of me in five minutes' time. Totally worth it; it's luscious.
Although the mockup photo previously showed an eye, I ended up removing it, per Allison's request.
I'm not sure how many different patterns I will come up with, but it certainly won't be 170; I'm thinking 10-20. I'll be repeating the patterns in a random fashion.
This mosaic will be a focal piece in my daughter's beautiful San Jose condo.
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.
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.
CREATIONS is now available for purchase for shipping within the U.S.
Whoo-hoo! Yay! Bravo! And there was much rejoice.
Cover art: Forgotten Glass, by Rosangela Kusma Gasparin
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.