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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.

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