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. 


  • 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