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Thursday, December 6, 2012

News - Good and Bad

The good news is that I hung my ongoing show at the Good Cup Downtown. For the month of December, I have both sides of the fireplace. In January another artist will use the space on the right side of the fireplace. The owners of the Good Cup on the mesa bought this coffee house in downtown Santa Barbara. It's located right next to the Fiesta Theater. It was a bit hard to have enough small items that would fit in the shelves but I think it looks pretty good and hopefully the mosaics will sell.

The bad news is that the Poria incrassata - house-eating fungus - has returned to the studio. It was just two years ago that my wonderful carpenter Jim replaced the whole left side and the back wall. Now hopefully we've caught it early and will only need to replace the left side of the door.

The first clue that it's in the wall is in late November or very early December -when this pretty mushroom-like bloom shows up between the seams of the wood. Then it's time to start removing wood to see how much the fungus has eaten. It feeds on wet wood (my fault, no doubt) and turns it to mush.

One good note about the studio is that I have it set up inside with all my tools and a large work table. I should have taken pictures before we started tearing out the walls but I'm sure Jim will once again fix it and I'll post new pictures.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kitties and Mosaics

Here is the cutest thing happening right now. The little black and white boys asleep together on the couch. And see all the mosaics hanging on the wall. There was supposed to be a Holiday Boutique last Saturday but we were rained out. I believe it will be rescheduled for this Saturday. So I have a few new items. There's a mirror below with stained glass and ball chain. I love the way ball chain can outline areas of glass.

On the left is a Christmas mirror with a cute kitty wooden ornament. I used Martha Stewart's glitter paints to brighten up the grout on the green glass and the red glass. 

And on the right is a spiral using plates and optic drops to define the spiral.

The studio is just about ready for outdoor mosaicing in the winter. I have a nice oil-filled heater and my great handyman, Jim, installed the fluorescent light fixture over the work table. I'm moved a lot of my tools, saws, drills and cutting devices out there so now I just need to start working! I'll send a picture soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grouting mishaps

Robin grouts herself.

Skull finished!

Very hard to grout. I think I'll stick to 2D mosaics.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hacienda Mosaico

I'm here in puerto Vallarta at laurel Skye's workshop on skulls. Fabulous!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kitties in the Window

I'm working on a mosaic of two kitties sitting in a window looking out. I'm still not sure about the background and sky. Are there hills? Is it night or day? Should there be a sun instead of stars? I'm using Mexican smalti. I cut the two kitties out of a trivet with my ring saw. And I like the millefiori flowers in the grass.

We'll see what happens next!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Works

There is so much to do these days! But I still try to get into the "studio" at least once a day to work on a project. On the left is a spiral piece I made with various cut-up plates as the filler. The beads are small colorful blobs. They're called Circle Glass Drops and I buy them from Opus Mosaics Drops, one of my favorite places online to buy mosaic materials.

Below are a few more pieces that are finished. The cat and heart rocks were made during my wonderful workshop with Chris Emmert in Eugene, OR.

I'm also working on two commissions for mosaics of house cats, Christmas tree rocks and coasters for a neighbor, plus getting ready for Christmas boutiques. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?

Plus I'm working on finally setting up my outdoor studio. I I'll send some before and after pictures. Two worries I have - that I won't feel like being out there at night, and it may be too cold in the winter. I'll have to work on both of those things. At the bottom is a night view of what the studio used to be - a potting cottage. Now I hope to fill it up with all my tools and machines and saws and grinders to make working a little easier.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Show at Max's Cucina

Gramma's Quilt

Today was my friend Mike's birthday so we went to the charming restaurant Max's Cucina where two friends and I are having our show "Appreciating Diversity." The meal was delicious! And as an added bonus, I sold Gramma's Quilt. The owner had called me yesterday to say the piece that was hanging in that spot, Sunrise Mirror, had sold and could I bring another to put in its place. So I brought the Quilt, and it sold right away. I have mixed feelings because I really like this piece.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Exciting Happenings

Here is the back room at Max's Cucina where Marie Arnold (collage), Jacqueline Vanderlaan (oil) and I have our show this month and next. The show started last week and we had a very lovely reception on Monday evening. The picture on the left has two of my mosaics on either side of the big mirror and one of Marie's collages on the breakfront.

Below is another mosaic of mine at the show. It's made of Italian smalti and ball chain.

So far three of my pieces have sold.

On the right is a hen I'm working on as a thank-you for friends of mine who put on a fabulous party last weekend. They have a very upscale chicken coop with several handsome chickens. The mosaic on the right is being modeled after a photo my friend Gary took of one of the hens.

And finally we have a picture of Prancer Dancer Valentine Vanderwilt looking rakish with an eye patch. Unfortunately he never backs away from a fight, and yesterday I noticed that his left eye wasn't opening completely. I could see he had swelling over his eye so I took him to the vet and she operated this morning. Not only was there the bite over his eye but you can just see the red string on his side where there was another abscess. The vet found bite wounds from all four teeth there! So his roaming is curtailed for a few days until I pull out the drains.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paradise in Eugene, Oregon

I just returned from Eugene, Oregon where I took a three-day mosaic class from Chris Emmert of I had the best time and learned soooo much from her. First we stopped at the rock store and looked at all the kinds of rock that would make good mosaic pieces. Then I learned about gluing techniques, supplies to use, how to use epoxy grout and so many other techniques that will help me with my mosaic adventures. She is an excellent teacher, a lot of fun and very, very creative and prolific at making all sorts of mosaics.

And...Chris made us sangria with gin. My kind of teacher! Above I am showing off all the pieces I made; a cat face, two hearts, a red flower on a tiny rock and a three dimensional piece with electronic parts or gizmos as she calls them. Below is the cat face grouted.

Here is Chris Emmert working on a rock during our workshop. On the right is a beautiful stone with her house numbers. It will go out in the front of the house after she finishes some other mosaic work on her porch. I highly recommend her classes to anyone who wants to learn about mosaics.

Chris' House Number
Chris Emmert

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grandma's Crazy Quilt Mosaic

I have a beautiful crazy quilt made my either my grandma or an aunt back in the early 1900s. A crazy quilt used up a lot of old fabric pieces left over from other sewing projects. The edges of the pieces were stitched with lovely designs, maybe a picture or two went inside the quilt somewhere, and the overall all look was warm and homey. 

So I thought, why not make one as a mosaic! Here I'm working on it, trying to get the perfect pieces and colors for the stitching and the "fabric" pieces. It was really fun to work on since I could mix and match colors of glass, Van Gogh glass, ball chain, Swarovski crystal beads, silver jewelry and leftover pieces of English Transferware china. 

Sometimes I would take it out in the sun and work in it too. Here it is almost finished. Below it is all filled in and ready for grout. I mosaiced the edges also using vitreous glass in the colors of the piece. And, of course, there is a little kitty in the middle. 
Grandma's Crazy Quilt

So next I have to figure out a grout color to use, maybe black, and finish it up. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Work

I've been working on many new things getting ready for our show at a local restaurant. Here is a pretty in pink heart. I found the base at a thrift store and I added some china pieces. I cut the center out of one of the plates for the center of the piece. This one has two holes near the top so I'm going to try putting a pretty ribbon for hanging.

The next piece below doesn't look very good in the picture but in person I'm finding it quite interesting. I have a crazy quilt stitched by one of my aunts way back in the 20s or 30s. I decided to try to make a mosaic that looked like a crazy quilt.

And finally here is another piece I found at a thrift store. A key! My dad was a locksmith and the large round key on the right was one he made for me to open the door of my house. So I decided to find some interesting keys and populate this wooden piece. I also painted it turquoise and threw on some gold glitter. Then I glued tempered glass on top. It isn't grouted yet because, as usual, I'm not sure what color grout to use. I'm thinking of something in the gold family also. Maybe I'll use a couple colors of grout to add some interest. 

So I just thought I'd let you know that I haven't reneged on my goal of making a new mosaic a week. I'm still at it and loving every minute of it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Busy Mosaic Month

Begonia luxurians

My mosaic of Begonia luxurians did very well at the annual American Begonia Society convention in San Diego last month. All three of the mosaics I entered won ribbons, and this mosaic also won Best in Division and Best in Arts. Quite an honor for me.

This is a picture of all three of my entries. They all won a ribbon of some sort. The watercolor pictures at the front of the table were the prizes for winning Best in Something (the large blue flower ribbons). They are gorgeous paintings from a Begonia grower. She made at least 50 of these paintings for the prizes.

The convention was held at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego on Hotel Circle. It is a very large, very beautiful hotel with lots of gardens and plants. Many of my friends and I were in the area of small cottages with beautiful landscaping and areas to sit outside. Here I am with the Champagne Ladies of Los Angeles. This lovely gazebo was outside our rooms so we took advantage of the afternoon sunshine to have some snacks and wine.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Big Bird

It's been a busy August but Big Bird is finally grouted! I used three different colors of grout that were in the mosaic - blue, red and yellow. I also put some glitter on although it's hard to tell in the picture. This is one of those mosaics where I think, well, that made it hard to see. But what can you do? I should remember not to put actual pictures under tempered glass. Or at least do a better job of it.

I also did finish three more mirrors which I will put in my next post. But for now I just want Big Bird  to fly into this post.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keeping up with my Weekly New Work Goal

I have been working on new mosaics! The mosaic above is a tempered glass piece that turned out looking like a bird. I started with a bouquet of Tuberous Begonias (left) made by a friend of mine. Then I put it in Photoshop and did a little Liquifying on it. Only when I showed it to friends did I see that there was a bird in the picture. This hasn't been grouted yet. I think I'll do two or three colors of grout.

On the right is a mosaic I am making for the American Begonia Society convention coming up soon. The picture is a botanical of Begonia boliviensis. I printed the picture on my large format Epson printer.Then I cut out glass squares and glued them down with Weldbond. Unfortunately some of the pieces (especially the long bottom glass piece) didn't get completely covered with glue and have a ripple effect. Hopefully grout will help to hide it.

To the right is another mosaic to enter in the ABS convention show. It is Begonia luxurians. It seems a little dull to me so I may spruce it up with some glitter somewhere. Martha Stewart has glitter paints that are transparent with only the glitter showing. I may try something like that on the sky.

And below we have a couple more mosaics; a cat rock and a big gold mirror, Neither is grouted yet. And I've been making Begonia rocks. I'll post a picture soon.

Still busy working on my mosaics!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mosaic Mirrors

Yesterday I visited a friend to bring her a mosaic mirror she bought for a friend's wedding.

While I was there, I saw one of my mosaics that she bought last year. It's always nice to be reminded of previous mosaics I've made and especially to see them hanging in a friend's home.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mosaic Begonia and a Cute Cat

Mosaic Begonia chloristica

This weekend my friends Mike, Gary and I went to Los Angeles to attend the Westchester Begonia Show and visit with friends. I submitted my mosaic of Begonia chloristicta and won a blue ribbon. The mosaic frame also won Best in Division for the arts division. What a thrill! I used the colors of the Begonia's botanical picture in the frame's vitreous tiles.

On the right is a picture of me with the mosaic. Life is Good!

You can just barely see the division trophy (bottom left) which was a pretty ceramic pot. I probably won't be breaking it up for the next mosaic!

On Friday night, Mike spoke to an appreciative crowd at the South Bay Begonia Branch. Our dear friend Eva took us to dinner at Cozy Mels in South Bay where I had a blue margarita. What could be better! Tequila in my favorite color.

And below is the darling Biscotti sitting atop the irrigation cover. He's hoping a bird will come by to check out the birdhouses.