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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Time to Grout

Yesterday was grouting day. Several people have asked about metal house numbers so I made up a sample - the "7" with mirror glass. I found a supply of numbers at a local "random" store where they buy everything under the sun from who knows where. The parrot is for a friend of mine who likes parrots. The house number plaque is a commission and the heart and flowers are just because I like hearts and flowers. The heart is cut from Wedi board so it can be hung outside as is the parrot.  The more I mosaic, the more I find that I just like the soothing quality of gluing. Now if only I found the initial design soothing...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuberous Begonia in Tempered Glass

I decided to try another tempered glass mosaic. This is a photo of a tuberous Begonia grown by Paul Carlisle, famous tuberous grower. I glued the photo to the substrate and then used Mac glue to affix the tempered glass pieces. I find epoxy is just so messy so I tried this method instead. So far, so good. Today I plan to grout though I have no idea what color to use. Maybe charcoal.

And below is a picture taken last weekend of a real tuberous Begonia grown by Paul Carlisle. Maybe I should use this photo instead.

It's going to be hot here in Santa Barbara today (78°) so I may not get to grouting. I like to grout outside to keep the mess under control.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pat McElderry and letters P A T

Here is dear Pat McElderry on the left with her mosaic letters at the Westchester Begonia Show and Sale. She could give Princess Beatrice a run for her money when it comes to beautiful or unusual hats.

And it was a day for wearing hats to honor Pat so here are Jan Brown and Stephanie Rose with Pat.

Pat, Jan and Stephanie

Monday, July 18, 2011

Smalti Workshop Day 3

Our smalti workshop is over! Here is my smalti piece from start to finish. Our teachers, Betsy Gallery and Tami Macala, did a wonderful job, and I recommend this class very highly.

My piece was made on 8" x 10" 1/4" MDF. It was painted a matte black so any spaces between the smalti would not show up. Then we used a transfer paper to put our design on the black surface. The smalti is easy to work with, and I plan to make more pieces soon. The upside of smalti, besides its beautiful surface, is that you put the pieces as close together as possible, and you don't have to grout! Here are three more works of art from my friends Jennifer, Nancy and Gaynel. They chose a different flower design to mosaic.



Here are mushrooms in the garden. The sparkly set on the left is mine. The one in the middle is the sand casting done by Betsy Gallery to make the mushroom shape. The one on the left is Betsy's mosaiced mushroom. The Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art is planning a class in sand casting. We will learn how to make our own mushroom bases. Sign me up!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Smalti Workshop

Jennifer and Jooolie
This weekend is our Smalti workshop! We all chose a design and started Friday afternoon. These pictures are from the end of Saturday, Day 2. We have one more day to finish our pictures. Because we are working with Mexican smalti, we don't have to grout so hopefully everyone will be done today.

These are our teachers, Tami Macala and Betsy Gallery. Betsy has taken classes in smalti in Italy and Mexico.

Teachers Tami and Betsy

My piece at the end of first evening



My piece at the end of Saturday - a lot of blue!

End of the second day

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mosaic Begonias and Gazebo Begonia and Flower Show

My friend Mike Flaherty is having his annual Begonia and Plant Show at his Gazebo store in Montecito  August.19th and 20th. I thought I'd make some Begonia-related mosaics since there will be a lot of Begonia people attending. There is even a bus coming up from Los Angeles with about 50 people. These are pictures from previous years. Seems like a lot of orange. I'm not a big fan of orange but an awful lot of people are so I am forcing myself to do some mosaics with shades of orange.

This is my friend Gary's beautiful terrarium with Begonias inside. Gary does stained glass lamps, terrariums, bowls, etc. This last weekend we went to Hollander's Glass in Irvine and bought a lot of glass. The colors, patterns, styles and prices are excellent. I've had to buy more storage containers to store my glass.

Below is the beginning of my mosaic. It's even too early to get a sense of what it will look like through the camera. I will hope for the best.

Rex Begonia Mosaic

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Crow Bar

My friend Irene and I had lunch in Newport Beach today with our friends Mike and Gary. We're here visiting Sherman Gardens while they have a Begonia show and sale. We even found a street named Begonia Avenue.

Begonia Avenue

Irene and Joooles

Gary and Mike

Friday, July 8, 2011

More Cat Adventures - Biscotti

Biscotti sleeps on his cat tree
"Something is waking me up!"

Biscotti is sleeping on his cat tree. But then there are camera flashes waking him up so he struggles to sit up, still very sleepy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mosaics and a Dog!

It was hot all the holiday weekend here in Santa Barbara, so the cats and I stayed inside and did some mosaicing. This doggy is owned by a friend of a friend of mine. Her name is Maggie, and she is very sweet. I thought I'd do a mosaic of her but as you see, I've done the easier parts, the area around Maggie, first. I cut pieces of blue stained glass for her eyes and then used a Sharpie to put in the pupil because I always struggle with pet eyes, and I've been told that is one of the most important parts of the mosaic.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mosaics AND Cats again

I have this really nice table in my studio which currently houses my Cutter's Mate, Beetles Bits system and Circle Pro 24. These tools make cutting strips, squares, diamonds, and rectangles (and much more) a breeze. In addition, the Cutter's Mate Pro and Circle Pro make it easy to cut large and small circles and freeform stained glass pieces.

I often like to stand when I'm working, but now and then I need to rest my back so I mosaiced this nice stool with a kitty on top to accommodate my needs when I start to flag. It's done with marble and fortunately I have enough padding to keep it comfortable. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mosaics with Kids (and Adults)

It's pretty interesting to watch kids and adults on their first jaunt into mosaics. My family lives in Carlsbad, CA and they came up to spend the night at my house. I thought mosaics would be a good way to entertain them and they all loved it!

The kids also had a great time in the polymer clay studio. Jeremy's favorite thing was running clay through the pasta machine over and over and over...


My nephew Mike decided not to do a mosaic piece so he read with his dog Coal. Mike still likes books although his dad and I have long since given them up for our Kindles.

My nephew Al, who is a graphic artist in real life, had a great time working with all the different materials.


Joan was really happy with her red, white and blue design since this is Fourth of July weekend.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mosaic Sea Creatures Before and After

It's never easy to get a picture of these sparkly grouts, but here are the before and after pictures. I wasn't happy with all the warm gray grout so I painted the sun grout with yellow glitter and the sea with sparkly turquoise glitter. One picture was taken outside and one inside so that alone makes it difficult to get a good comparison.

I used the technique Ellen Blakeley taught in her tempered glass class. You mix acrylic gel medium with Pearl Ex pigments and then paint in onto unsealed grout. Let it sit for a minute and then wipe it off the glass. You never know how it will turn out but that's the fun of it all. I will try to get a better picture of the mosaic after the painting is done. It really does brighten it up.