New Redesign Header

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Santa Barbara Mission Mosaic

I decided to attempt a mosaic of the Santa Barbara Mission. It's quite near my house so I went over and took a number of pictures and then pieced together this design. The substrate is 24" x 19". I may have overreached my abilities (or my patience in attempting such a piece) but I'm going to give it a try. It won't be terribly detailed, I'm thinking now.

Also in the works is a round mosaic of a tree frog and a gecko on a cupboard door. I'll take some pictures of them later today.

And I received word that my mosaic piece "Raj Mahal" won the People's Choice first place award at the Goleta Valley Art Association's August 2011 Library show. Thank you, People!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Old and New Pieces and FUSIONS!

Are you wondering what happened to the "new mosaic a week" battle cry? Well, it's still happening even though things have been very busy this last week. I did grout the wine bottles and I like the way the piece turned out. An old world look. I need to work with marble more and maybe create a hammer and hardie setup for myself. Marble is hard to cut in exactly the shape I want with just the nippers.Though I tried to put a block of cheese, a wine cork and/or a loaf of bread into the mosaic, I wasn't successful.

Both of the mirrors I made with the glass bead flowers sold at the GVAA Festival last Saturday. So I'm making another one now on an existing frame I have. It has a shabby chic finish to it in a pale green so I think these blue tiles look good.

And the exciting new thing for me is making fusions! I don't have a kiln, but my dear friend Gary, who does fantastic stained glass art, has one in his studio. He tested some green smalti bits that I had left over, and the fusion above is the result! Wow!

He also gave me several pieces of  System96 glass which is the glass to use for fusing. I am making a cat head out of it next. Though I'll never do fusions like Martin Cheek, I bet I can come up with some things that would look great in my mosaics.

I may have to buy a kiln! But one thing at a time. I'll see how the cat head turns out and then think about buying a kiln again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

GVAA Art Festival

It turned out to be a great day at the GVAA's Art Festival at Stow House.  By the afternoon the sun came out and there were lots of visitors and dogs running around. Jennifer and I were able to raise the canopy and get the show on the road! I also discovered that I could hang things on both sides of the shutter stand. Plus it worked out well for the booth next to me selling jewelry. Their customers used my mirrors to see what the pieces they liked looked like on them.

And I'd like to thank all my friends who came out to support me. They made the day pass quickly and provided a lot of assistance, humor and camaraderie. Thanks so much to Esther and Bob, Christine, Ksenia, Jody, Elaine, Ruth, and Mike and Gary. And most of all to Jennifer who was there first thing to help me set up and lastly to take everything down. I'd still be packing up stuff if she hadn't come to help me lower the canopy and pack up the car.

There were also two wonderful blue grass bands that provided music the whole day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Mosaics

Here are a couple new pieces. The round piece above is on a lazy susan. I used 3/8" tiles. It started out as a spiral but didn't seem to be working properly so I pulled up the offending tiles and just did circles. I still have to grout it.

The piece the left is finished and ready to go. It's made with plates. I really like the way it turned out. Charcoal grout. And the tree and flowers look nice in the mirror.

The stand at the top is something I had my handyman create for me from a louvered door I found at the local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. I painted it all white, and he made the stand to slide in the doors and stand upright. Then I use S-hooks to hang the pieces on the doors.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

7th Annual GVAA Art Festival at Stow House - September 17, 2011 - Part 2

Well, the canopy is up! My dear neighbor, Rajie, came over and with two of us, we were able to click it into place.

This morning while exercising in the pool I was thinking of all the things I have to bring to the festival (this is my first) and I realized that there is no way I will ever get everything into my car. Hmmmmm....what do people do about that?

But I just keep making more mosaics! Here are a few I made in the last few days to try and sell at the festival. Another mirror in green with orange glass bead flowers, the word LOVE in sparkly tiles. The picture doesn't do it justice.

And at the bottom I have a couple more switchplates and a 6" x 6" smalti piece with precious stones and Mexican and Chinese smalti. Smalti traditionally came from Italy or Mexico, but a new Chinese company has started to make smalti also. I saw it first at the SAMA convention earlier this year. Each country makes them in different shapes. But they all seem to go together quite well.

If you're in Santa Barbara, come to the Festival next weekend and see everything in person!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

7th Annual Goleta Valley Art Association's (GVAA) Festival at Stow House

The Goleta Valley Art Association is having its annual festival a week from Saturday. I signed up for a 10' x 10' booth. Yesterday we had a high of 95° in my backyard, and I thought if it's like this at the festival, I'm going to need a shade canopy. So I went to our local sporting goods store, and a nice young man told me that I could put this canopy up with only one person. Ha ha ha ha ha! And I believed him! I was able to get it this far along, but it definitely needs at least one more person to pull from the opposite corner. I have a feeling it will really take one person on each corner to get it clicked into place. So for now it sits in my driveway waiting for some kind neighbors to come along and give me a hand.

And since it's been so hot, I've spent afternoons in the house mosaicing. Here is the marble wine arch. It turned out to be much harder than I thought to add all the cheeses and corks and tablecloths and fruits, etc. so it ended up being just two wine bottles in the window with greenery, sky and sun. I've sprayed it with marble sealer today and will grout it as soon as the weather turns cooler. I learned from experience that marble needs to be sealed or it will absorb the grout and turn dark.

To the right I have a piece I did yesterday. It will have a mirror in it and is made from various plates I had in my collection. I like the combination of plain colored plates and patterned plates and enjoy finding colors that go well together.

Below on the left is the blue flower mirror I began months and months ago. I cut a mirror for it yesterday so it needs to be grouted also.

And finally below on the right is the finished blue mirror with glass bead flowers.

Someday I will figure out how Blogspot wants to display my pictures but this doesn't seem to be the day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Labor Day!

It's Labor Day! Where did the summer go? Well, I've been laboring (not really...more like having fun) working on my mosaic pieces. To the left is a round mirror in a gradation from red to blue. I'm not a big orange fan but a lot of people are.

On the right we have the wine bottles a little farther along. The sky and sun are going in today. The forecast is for hot weather so I'll work inside and try to finish these pieces.

And below is another frame. I cut a mirror for it and will put it in the back after I've grouted.  I'm not sure why I grouted over the nice green frame but no looking back. The little flowers are glass beads cut in half. My friend Tami will shake in her boots when she sees the "Michael's Beads" but I like them!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Nice Day to Grout

I did some grouting this morning. I wanted to do them all in charcoal grout so I mixed up a batch, went outside to my grouting table on the lawn and started in.

The first was the mosaic of the Calla Lilies. I think the charcoal grout looks good. And I like the way it makes the black arch area all black.

Next I did the odd-looking Rex Begonia mosaic. It still doesn't look like Begonia leaves but the grout did tie it all together. I like the way the charcoal looks in the green border. It actually looks like a pink and green bird in flight. Perhaps I'll rename it!

Finally I did four light switch covers that I glued with glitter tiles. As I mentioned one other time, the glitter makes the picture look kind of fuzzy, but once more, I like the way the charcoal grout makes them pop. I may keep one for myself!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wine & Cheese and Ongoing Cat & Rat Story

Here is my latest work in progress. It is made of marble and is supposed to be a scene with wine and cheese on a table (I should use the tablecloth on my work table - very Italian) looking out the window. As usual, I'm great at the border, not too bad on the wine bottles, but confused about the rest of the mosaic. Does that really look like a block of cheese? Where does the sky stop and the table begin? Should there be greenery outside? A sun? This one is made on Hardibacker, and I'm using Lexel, so it will be fine to hang outdoors.

In making my wine mosaic, I find it's not easy to cut marble. A while back I made a stool top with marble and a kitty coaster. I use the stool in the studio. No cutting or keystoning was required. Just used large and small marble pieces. But this wine mosaic requires a lot of cutting, and it's a dangerous proposition! I have compound nippers that add power to the cut but they are also a bit scary to use! And if you don't hold them just right, the cut pieces go flying or you squeeze your hand with the handles.

In case you'd like a pair, you can buy them at for $15.38. I believe I paid quite a bit more when I bought them at SAMA earlier this year. M-D Building Products #49943. I could probably do a better job with a hammer and hardie but...

And on the ongoing Cat and Rat story,  here we have Biscotti trying to find the rat. I believe the cats have found a nest because every day they bring in at least one small rat. Here the rat has gotten away from Biscotti and he's looking for it. I was able to save both rats yesterday, though I have mixed feelings. I really don't want rats in the yard or house, but the babies are very cute.

Last night there were four baby raccoons in the yard. First I hear them come over the fence and then usually pots crashing to the ground. But talk about cute!

Below is a picture I took a while back when this guy was extremely interested in everything going on in the house. Here he is just outside the kitchen door looking in at the cats on the other side of the glass door.