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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Susan Crocenzi at Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art (SBSMA)

I attended another wonderful workshop at SBSMA with the amazing Susan Crocenzi. She has so much talent and creativity! It was a three-day workshop. The first two days we worked with tempered glass, I had a heart/peace sign base that I brought along and after listening to Susan and her wonderful ideas, I came up with a design. The final piece looks much better than the picture but tempered glass is hard to photograph. I'm going to post this now since I see I'm way behind with my blog posts. More on the polymer clay later.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tanit the Punic Goddess

Goddesses Julie and Jennifer working on marble goddesses
Last weekend I attended a wonderfully informative workshop at Tami Macala's Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art. My friend Jennifer and I were the only participants, and we were taught the art of indirect mosaic from the renown mosaic artist, Betsy Gallery. Betsy had prepared a paper template for each of us of the goddess Tunit, or Tank as she was sometimes called. Betsy also explained the technique for scaling up a mosaic by transferring lines in small boxes to larger boxes.

We began by mixing up flour, salt and water into a paste which we cooked to create a glue. Then we traced Tunit onto brown paper and then went over the lines with red and black Sharpie markers. The idea was to have the design bleed through to the back of the paper. I was making a stepping stone and Jennifer made a wall hanging as she was here from Colorado and had to tote the finished mosaic home with her.

Betsy provided long strips of various colors of marble which we cut into smaller pieces. Then we began gluing the marble to the paper. It didn't seem like the glue was going to hold but magically it did. We spent the afternoon gluing the marble to our designs

and only got about half way through.

After grouting
Saturday morning we arrived and continued gluing marble to paper. When we finished a little after lunch, we put the mosaic on the paper into the sun to dry. Then we turned them over and, lo and behold, only two or three pieces fell off. So then we stirred up some thinset and carefully put down a layer on our substrates. Next, with another person to help, we inverted the mosaic and placed it marble-side down on the thinset. Then we took a board and mallet and pounded the mable into the thinset. Then we sprayed water on the paper and after a while it was relatively easy to remove. We did lodge a few pieces of marble loose but we just pushed them back into the thinset.

The next morning we returned and viewed our beautiful goddesses. Then we mixed up some charcoal grout and grouted our pieces. And they are beautiful! Here is mine warding off bad juju in front of my porch.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

US Army Unit Crest: 65th Engineer Battalion - Motto: FIRST IN - LAST OUT

Here is one of my recent mosaics. It was commissioned by a lovely woman in Hawaii whose husband is in the 65th Engineer Battalion. Someday I hope to have a picture of the major and the crest, but for now, it's just me in my working garb. Too bad I didn't keep my fingers off the letters. Which, by the way, were the hardest part of the mosaic to create.

I didn't realize that every unit in all branches of the armed services has a crest. And they all seem to have tiny little letters on them. This mosaic is 14" tall. I cut the squares and rectangles by hand and used my ring saw to create the rounded pieces, the knife and the letters.

Oh, and she requested the piece on a Friday and it had to be mailed by the next Friday so it could be presented in a ceremony the following week. Very exciting!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Mosaics

Well, my brother has been chiding me for not posting anything for over a month. The problem is I've been busy with commissions that have to be done by a certain time. So as Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman says on her blog, "Here's what's been happening on the ranch."

Teal Mosaic Mirror
I finished a 24" teal mirror for a client.

Coastal Collections, a new and very classy store on State Street, is now displaying my mosaics. Here is a picture of the mosaic rocks and mushrooms.

Mosaic Rocks and Mushrooms

I have another commision for a client in Hawaii. I don't want to say much about it yet as it's a surprise. I'll post pictures once it's been delivered.

I'm working on another house number for a friend. And I'm trying to finish up a mosaic to donate for my darling grand niece Miranda's upcoming Gala in Carlsbad. She is playing Liesl in Sound of Music, and the opening is next weekend. So that has to be finished by Friday so I can take it with me on the train.

There! That should placate my brother, and I promise to write more next week.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Saga of "Sunrise at Sea"

Today I submitted my mosaic "Sunrise at Sea" to the Santa Barbara Artist Association's Semana Nautica juried art show at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara, California. It was a long and stormy road to get it to the show today. I tell this story so others who may be afraid to jump in and begin working with mosaics will see that we all have horror stories to tell.

I have been working on this piece on and off for months. There are a lot of little pieces of glass which, in itself, is quite time consuming. After I finished the front, I started to glue beautiful French L' Opio red tiles to the edges. I had purchased some Lexel glue from back east, and I think it must have frozen during transit because it was a cloudy color. I didn't know what I know now, however, so I used it to attach the pieces to the edge. By the next day, they were all falling off. So then I cleaned all the glue from the tiles as they were too nice to throw away, and the next day I used another outdoor grout. Well, I couldn't believe it but the next day, the tiles all came off again!!! At that point I set the piece aside in disgust.

I was watching a video by the very talented mosaic artist, Sharra Frank, and one of her demonstrations was to take textured glass, paint it black first so the black goes into the depressions, and then when dry, paint the back with a color. She showed it using tapestry glass. I thought that was a great idea so I found some textured glass I had in a swirly pattern. I first put gold paint into the indentations and then when dry, I painted it with red. It really looked nice and I thought of the sunrise mosaic sitting in a corner that had been so much trouble. So I sanded all the edges and applied the new red and gold tiles. It looked wonderful.

Then it sat some more and finally I got around to grouting it. But I knocked out a few pieces as I grouted so that meant gluing them back, waiting a day for them to take hold and then regrouting those areas.

So now you'd think I was home free, but more trouble loomed. And I probably shouldn't tell you about this because it will just make me look inept but that's how we all learn, isn't it?

So yesterday I started to put large d-rings on the back. I started drilling holes and the wood seemed super hard. I kept drilling and drilling and putting my considerable weight into it and still nothing was happening. I started considering going across the street to my dear neighbor Rodger's house and asking him to help me drill through the wood. At some point, however, I discovered I had the drill running backward. No wonder I couldn't get anywhere. But before that discovery I somehow managed to drill hard enough to drill through the glass in the front. I'm laughing as I'm writing this because you wonder, how could she be so stupid. Oh, it's easy. So then I had to re-glue the pieces that were pushed up and wait another day for the glue to dry and then re-gout. Then this morning, the day of the in-gathering, I was able to finish up the d-rings. Whew!

It was all worth it, however, because I won an Honorable Mention with a yellow ribbon. I was told the judge was really taken with my piece. There will be a reception on Thursday, July 11th from 5pm to 7pm. Please stop by if you're in the area.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Etsy and "Sneak Attack" Remembering

When I had just started selling cards with my photographs many years ago (see card pictures below), I had a wonderful boost from something called a Sneak Attack, orchestrated by Amanda of Cute N Curly Boutique 

Within a few hours, I suddenly had at least 35 orders for the cards I made back then. Recently Amanda contacted me to ask about the effect the Sneak Attack had on me. Thank you again, Amanda, and here is a link to her post:

Sneak Attack

Now I've moved on to other endeavors. I guess I just love making things.

Here is a new tempered glass mosaic I made using a background of beautiful California Poppies. The grout has been painted gold, and the frame has a cottage chic look. Even though orange is not one of my favorite colors for the garden, I really like this piece. You can also see it on my Etsy shop along with a bunch of other mosaics and jewelry.

Joooles Design Etsy Shop

Monday, June 3, 2013

Where Does the Time Go?

Have I said that before? It's already June! I've taken down the mosaics from my show at Salon Patine. I sold eleven pieces and want to thank owner Rob Hofberg for allowing me to have a show at his shop.

However, I now have a house full of mosaics! And I want to make more. My friend Brenda Sullivan, who is responsible for starting my journey down the mosaic hole, came over for lunch the other day. We had such a nice time catching up, and once things settle down in her life, we are going to get together to work on mosaics. It's perfect out in the yard now, and since my dear friend Jennifer moved to Colorado, I really miss having someone to mosaic with.

So I've put some of my items in my store on Etsy. I have a tempered glass mirror that another friend almost bought but she hates the color pink. She liked the roses but wanted them in the color blue.

Next I have a spiral mosaic with hand cut English china plates. There is an inset of a round portion of one of the plates, and it has a burgundy tile border.

And I have another house number commission which is almost finished. It's glued and the wedi board and edges have been covered in thinset. I cut blue flowers out of English transferware plates to decorate, and it is done in blues and greens. I made the numbers large and white so they can be seen from a distance. I've noticed that sometimes house numbers are too hard to read from the street. Tomorrow I'll grout it in charcoal and then seal it the next day. I've already added special hanging hardware with posts through the wedi board. I think it will be a nice addition to someone's home.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mosaic Installation at Camp Ocean Pines

Camp Ocean Pines Workshop

Here is the workshop at Camp Ocean Pines! The new concrete risers were just installed, and there is a channel in each riser. Our job was to install mosaic strips into those channels. In my previous blog, I showed how we made the strips at Passiflora Mosaics in Grover Beach, California. Now we've all gathered at the installation sight in Cambria. There were about 10 volunteers in addition to Fred and Donnell, our leaders and creators of these strips (see my previous blog). 

They had set all the strips where they were to be installed. Fred mixed up many bags of thinset, and we were ready to go. I spent most of the morning on my side in the dirt gluing strips into the channel. I was hot and dirty and my back and knees were struggling to work properly, but it was a very rewarding endeavor. We worked all morning and by lunchtime all the strips were installed. 

At the front of the installation, Donnell created a beautiful design with tiles, stones and some pieces from (I think) a car that Fred used to own. It looked beautiful and very California! 

After a great lunch prepared for us by the talented chef at Camp Ocean Pines, I had to leave. Our show at Salon Patine had to be taken down at 4pm, so I jetted home to get out of my dirty clothes and meet my friend Gary at the salon. 

The taking down of the show certainly went faster than the putting up, thank goodness. At the end, I sold nine pieces and enjoyed the whole process. Thanks again to Rob Hofberg for allowing us to have a show at his shop.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Creation of Mosaic at Passiflora Mosaics in Grover Beach

In April I drove to Grover Beach to join the volunteer group creating the first part of a 250 linear foot mosaic. There were 13 volunteers, and we finished almost everything in one day. The design was created by Donnell and Fred Paison, owners of Passiflora Mosaics in Grover Beach. Fred had already prepared the mesh strips, and our job was to glue the various materials to the mesh. Each strip was about three feet long. Heavy plastic was taped to the tables and then mesh was taped on top.

An empty canvas
This is how the tables looked when we arrived. Fred and Donnell taped the mesh to the tables with marks to show the width the tiles had to be. If the tiles or plates or marbles didn't fit inside the lines, then they wouldn't fit in the channel that would be made at the final installation site at Camp Ocean Pines.

So we were given instructions and we started glue.
Donnell gives instructions

Starting to glue
I cut more plastic to go under the mesh

Fred makes more strips

Donnell glues

Lots of strips done!

Once we were finished, we removed the mesh pieces from the plastic strips so they could be transported to Camp Ocean Pines in a couple weeks. It was a very enjoyable and satisfying endeavor.

Next I'll tell you all about the installation.

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's April!

And today is my birthday so I HAD to post something. So what's new on the art front?

Walls at Salon Patine
Well, Gary and I hung our show at Salon Patine. It was a lot of work. They have half the hanging system. The top part is there, but you have to fashion your own hanging piece from fish line! And they have so many large walls that the pieces look tiny. That round mirror on the white wall is 20" across. Gary hung 10 beautiful fused glass plates. I hung 36 mosaics. And there is still room for more.

Next Sunday, April 21st, is our reception from 1-4 pm. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by.
Gary's Fused Glass Plate

The plate on the right is Gary's "Iridized Zebra Stripes" at Salon Patine. It is stunning! And below is another piece of mine. I cut the rose center with my ring saw from a beautiful English plate. Some would cry "sacrilege" but the plate was purchased at a thrift store for less than $10. I had no choice but to buy it and incorporate it into a mosaic!

I'm going to stop now because I also have a Begonia meeting here on Sunday. So far we have 45 people attending, and I have work to do in the garden.

See you next time!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 2013 - In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb

Or in my case, a squirrel. We don't have a lot of squirrels here in Santa Barbara, but this little fellow found the "sit in" bird feeder and stayed for a meal. Several meals, in fact. He likes to taunt the kitties while jumping around in the trees. He's very cute!

Today Gary Hunt and I are hanging our show at Salon Patine. Gary has beautiful fused glass plates, and I have, well, all kinds of stuff. Please stop by and see our art. And we're having a reception on April 21st, 1-4 pm. Stop by for some wine and cheese and convivial fun with other artists.

Here are a few of the pieces you'll see in the show.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Almost April!

Where did the month go? I haven't posted since the beginning of March, and many things have happened since then. But if I try to tell you about everything, I'll never finish this so I'll do one thing at a time.

I attended Laurie Mika's polymer clay class at Tami Macala's Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art. It was wonderful! My friend Nancy had signed up for the class and then wasn't able to attend so she offered her space in the class to me. Thank you, Nancy!

Laurie is a wonderful teacher and artist. She has written a book entitled Mixed Media Mosaics. I read it over and over and learn something new every time. And by attending the class, I saw some of her techniques first hand and am amazed again. I just wish I could remember how to do them all.

In the class we all made triptyches (works of art divided into three sections) using polymer clay. I am really in awe of the talent I saw around me. As I've said before, I need to actually look at something to give me an idea of what to do, but these women just got started and knocked out incredible pieces.

More later on the rest of the month!

Aged Transfers
Laurie Mika
Finished Triptyches
My triptych - not yet finished