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Monday, February 27, 2012

Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art Workshop

I spent last weekend at a workshop with well-known English mosaic artist Martin Cheek. The workshop was held at Tami Macala's Santa Barbara Institute of Mosaic Art. The class was more about Martin giving us insight into many aspects of mosaics, form, than it was about finishing a mosaic piece. Plus as I listened to his lectures, I realized that I had already made some design flaws in my piece. More on that later.

However, I did do a funky cat with Martin's fusions, smalti and vitreous glass. I also had some fusions from my friend Gary, so I added his butterfly and tail to the mix. And I had some ceramic pieces I threw in for even more fun. 

Martin Cheek
Martin is an extremely knowledgeable artist as well as being quite the funny man. He entertained us with many different kinds of humor. He also imparted very sound information about design, composition, colors, and contrast. So my beginning attempt is shown below and then the piece as it progressed through the weekend. I didn't finish as you can see but I plan to finish gluing and grouting soon. 

Martin grouts everything he does with a medium gray grout. He told us that he lost a sale because a woman asked him why his smalti piece wasn't grouted. He told her all the reasons behind not grouting smalti but she didn't buy it anyway. Martin also has a new book called Fused Glass Mosaics which I bought and am halfway through. It's a very enlightening book. 

And here is my cat. I'm still going to add the fusions coming in from the top that I had in the beginning picture. Another trick Martin taught us was the tone is extremely important in a piece and by converting a picture to grayscale, you can see if there is a good contrast of tone. Obviously I did a terrible job on the cat. The turquise background has the same tone as the green and orange of the cat. It's too late to change it now but it is a valuable lesson.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Society of Mosaic Artists Mosaic Salon Entry

The SAMA convention is right around the corner, and I've finished my entry to the Mosaic Salon. I think it turned out very well though when I look at the finished piece,  I see changes I would have made to the sky. But I will be happy either way; if someone buys it or if I get to take it back home with me. I love the kitties that I cut out of a trivet with my ring saw.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

70th Birthday Bash

It was a wonderful evening with all the cousins and kids and old friends. Cousin Bud was very surprised to see family from all over the country here in St. Paul to celebrate his birthday.

Jeannie, Barbara, Bill, Connie, Bob (hiding), Jim, Beverly, Annette, Joooles, Birthday boy Bud (Paul)

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My brother Jim and I are in St. Paul for a big 70th surprise party for my cousin Bud. While here we went to the Como Park Conservatory where they have under glass all the things we grow outside in California.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 4

Location:University Ave W,St Paul,United States

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More work on Kitties in Spring

Here is the Mosaic Salon entry. It's coming along. My brother asked what the red bow ties were. Hmmmm....

And this is the vin d'italia mosaic I sold to a very nice young man as a Christmas gift for his mother. Here it is hanging on her fence.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SAMA's Mosaic Salon

The Society of Mosaic Artists (SAMA) is having its 5th annual convention in Lexington, Kentucky at the end of the month. One fun event is the Mosaic Salon. Any SAMA conference attendee can display his or her work. Here is information direct from the SAMA website:

Join us for the 5th annual Mosaic Art Salon and Auction!  Any SAMA conference attendee can display her or his work for everyone to enjoy and even purchase. Tables will be set up in the Salon area to display the art all day on Thursday.   Later in the evening, during the Welcome Reception, all attendees guests may browse the mosaics and register a written bid on any piece they wish to purchase.  At approximately 8:30pm, bidding will close, and each work for sale will go to the highest bidder. The payment transaction is then handled on the spot between the artist and the buyer, and the buyer takes the work home.

Last year was my first SAMA conference and I didn't know anything about this event. But this year I'm going to enter a mosaic piece. Now I know you can see a pig drawn on the Wedi board. That was from an idea I had a year or so ago for a mosaic. Now I'm making "Kitties in Spring" or something like that. I've been cutting out pieces with my ring saw and having a wonderful time!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center

Here is the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center located on the beach in Santa Barbara. And below is my Tree Frog which won third place. It's called "Tree Frog Plays Chameleon" only because I wasn't very happy that the frog didn't stand out more against the background. Which just shows that everyone has their own opinion about an art piece. Fortunately, the judge for this show, Sue Slater, thought this was worthy of third place. 

Friday, February 3, 2012



OK, it's not spring yet, but I'm looking forward to it so I finished grouting this piece. I'm very happy with it! It's stained glass on the inside and those beautiful Trend Sunshine tiles for the border.

And below is another mosaic where I decided to use Optic Drops for the tree leaves. There are also stained glass pieces and Trend Sunshine tiles. I love the bright colors. 

I'm still working on a place to photograph my pieces. These are sitting on the end of a wooden display stand for plants. Even if the sun isn't shining directly on these shiny pieces, it's often hard to get a good picture without a lot of glare. Well, just another thing to add to my To Do list.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another Watering Can

Today I finished a watering can for a client. She said pink was her favorite color, sunflowers were her favorite flowers, and she wanted colors to be in drifts. So each side is different. It's interesting when I look at the flower circle side, I did not notice that it was a bit unround (is that a word?) The sunflower in the picture below was cut out of a thick plate with my ring saw. I think everything turned out well, and I hope my client likes it.

Here is another thing I don't know if I've ever said before. I prefer selling finished products. You never know if a client will like something you made especially for them. Now this isn't as true with things like house numbers though even that's a gamble. The client who ordered the plaque below wanted green, gold and purple inside the red border. Purple is a hard color to come by. My friend Gary and I went to Hollander's in L.A. to buy glass, and I bought everything I could find in purple. I probably paid more for all the glass than I received for the house number. But I think it turned out like the client wanted.