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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.

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