Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pop-Up Mosaic Gallery

I will be showing my stained glass mosaics with two local mosaic artists, Betsy Gallery and Wendy Brewer, at Menelli Trading Company next week! I will also be displaying a couple of my mosaics featured in my book, The Night Before Christmas. The book will be available as well as postcards and notecards. The evening will feature wine by, hors d'oeuvres and an opportunity to meet the artists and observe the ancient method of mosaic making with traditional tools and materials…and of course the opportunity to purchase the perfect mosaic for yourself or a loved one. Valet will be provided.
When: Thursday, Sept. 29, 5:00-7:30 pm
Where:  Menelli Trading Company, 1080 Coast Village Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mosaic Creatures

The One with the Flowered Fingers
The One with the Jagged Eye

Just finished these little guys, made from a couple drawings I did recently in my sketchbook. They are on 5" wood rounds and are made with stained glass, millefiori, beads and polymer clay.

Grouting was tricky since I didn't mosaic the whole wood piece. To protect the wood, I put blue tape all around the image and some aluminum foil over the bark, but the edges of the creatures were still dirty after pulling off the tape. To conceal it, I put a row of beads around each creature and actually prefer the result! I added some polymer clay leaves that I got from Klew's Gallery and they were done! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mosaic for Glass Patterns Quarterly Magazine

It's Cold Out! - 10", stained glass, millefiori, beads

I was recently invited by the editor of Glass Patterns Quarterly Magazine to create a mosaic tutorial for their winter edition. This mosaic is 10" in diameter and is made with stained glass, millefiori and beads. The tutorial includes the design pattern and gives step by step instructions and photos on how to create it. The issue will be available in December and will also be available as a purchasable download.  

Grouting in progress

Friday, August 5, 2016

For Kim, With Love

I was just in Oregon where I visited my family and gave my sister, Kim, this little mosaic I had secretly made for her. More than a year ago she gave me a pendant that belonged to our mother who passed away in 2013. She asked me if I’d use it in a mosaic for her and it sat in my studio awaiting inspiration. I drew many, many designs, mostly of dragonflies, which remind Kim of Mom, but none of them were working for me and the pendant.

I then got the idea to use our mom’s art to inspire my own design. She had a fun, playful, and happy style of drawing that was so loose and relaxed and easy, I just love it. She drew houses and still-lifes of vases with flowers and bowls of fruit. She drew women’s faces and landscapes and lots and lots of animals, mostly cats. 

One of my favorite things she would do in my childhood is make hand-drawn cards for my sisters and I and place them on our pillows to find after school. A birthday card with two cats became the starting point for my design. This was her trademark style for funny characters and animals - dot eyes on happy faces, little hatch marks along the sides of their bodies. Simple, yet so expressive.

She also played on Photoshop and many of her creations were of cats holding balloons, like this one. I realized I could use Mom’s pendant as a balloon, with the little loop acting as the balloon knot. So, I had my idea!

The next challenge was the cat. I could’ve traced it to ensure it looked just like hers, but I wanted it to be from my hand so I set out to try and duplicate her cat with the ease and lightness she drew hers with. That sounds simple but it wasn’t! I must’ve drawn fifty of them (and got many stiff looking cats with little personality) before I felt I captured the expression and sureness of her lines.

I then transferred the design onto a sweet little sassafras wood slice – it smells so good! And I love how the bark edge creates a fun framing around the cat. I decided to use beads for the little hatch marks and wire for the whiskers and balloon string.

Mom frequently put belly buttons on her animals, so I made sure he got a little millefiori belly button. I put my favorite blue flower millefiori circling him to tie in with the blue beads and belly button. It took awhile to decide on the background, but I ended up choosing a light tan glass cut in lines to mimic how she would often draw on lined paper, including on her grocery lists! 

I grouted it, put a little hanger on the back and it was finished the day before I left for Oregon. I waited for a quiet time during morning coffee to give it to her. I hope that every time she looks at it she will remember the sweetness, playfulness, creativity, and all the wonderfulness of Mom, as well as the love I have for the both of them!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

New Mosaic - Nowhere to Be (But Here)

This mosaic titled Nowhere to Be (But Here) is 10 1/2 x 13" and is made with stained glass, millefiori, beads and steel wire whiskers. For me, it expresses the joy of being in the moment with a loved one. If you are interested in purchasing it please email me.  Hope you like it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Mosaic Process

First sketch

Final mosaic

I thought some might find it interesting to see how I go about creating a mosaic. This is my most recent one, Reverie, which is 5x10" and made with stained glass and millefiori. First I choose my mosaic subject: one of my son's favorite animals is the fennec fox (mine, too!) and so I begin with an image search online for the position I want him to be in. 

Once I find something I like, I use it as reference for my sketch (often times using many photos as reference for markings, body proportions, etc.). I then scan the drawing and place 6-10 copies of the image on an 8x10" page. I use them to play with several things: color, pattern, value, and andamento (the flow and direction of glass cuts and lines). I like having the sketches small so I can get many ideas down quickly or color the design many times without taking hours to do so!  I usually go through three or four pages of these. Here is one of my pages from this process:

Once I am happy with the direction I want to go, I trace the design onto wedi board and attach the hanging system (a d-ring with washers on either side). I pick out the materials I will be using with a range of values. I had planned to use beads in this mosaic, but every time I tried to incorporate them, it wasn't working how I liked, so skipped them in the end.

I begin cutting glass for the eyes, to first establish personality and mood. As you can see, I often make changes on the design as I go along, as well as make markings for color and lines for andamento. I like to lay the glass down without cutting it to see how it works overall. I take pictures of different combinations which allows me to compare them side by side and choose the best option before I commit to a very time consuming process of shaping the glass.

I pay very close attention to the head and body values to ensure that the head is seen clearly. For example, the dark at the end of the tail rather than continuing the same brown throughout, helps make it clear that it is separate from the brown on his face. Also, the glass chosen above his head is darker at the top and gets lighter as it gets closer to his head and ear. The tail is further differentiated from the body by outlining it with the rolled edges of the stained glass, giving it a bit of a 3D effect and some waviness, too!

Finally, there are often spontaneous choices and "happy accidents" if you are open to them. The center of the body was supposed to be cut pieces like the rest of the fox, but none of what I tried, color-wise and andamento-wise was working. I happened to look up and see a whole sheet of stained glass that had this wonderful brown curve that I knew would fit just right! I had one chance to get the piece cut perfectly. Well, I was off by a teensy bit at the top, so I filled in the gap with the blue millefiori which ended up being more interesting and harmonious because of it.


The next step is grouting, followed by finishing the edges and painting and signing the back. One of my favorite mosaics, it now lives happily in Phoenix, Arizona. I hope you enjoyed reading about my process, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 25, 2016

SAMA 2016 in San Diego

View from my room

Earlier this month I attended my eighth SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) Conference, this year in San Diego. Loved seeing my old pals and making some new ones, including my late mother's cousin's wife, which was a wonderful surprise!  

The mosaic art salon is always a highlight.  This year I helped set it up, which was fun and a nice way to contribute to an organization that is run by almost all volunteers.  I also sold my mosaic at the salon, this piece titled Reverie.  It is 5x10" and made with stained glass and millefiori.  

Reverie, 5x10"

I found some fun ceramic tiles from Amber's Artistry and glass fusions from Bonin Glass Designs at the vendor marketplace that I am very excited about using in my upcoming mosaics!  

Amber's Artistry
Bonin Glass Designs

I also enjoyed beautiful art at the MAI Exhibition, entertaining and informative presentations, cutting glass at the mosaic marathon, and a couple great workshops including exploring the line in mosaic art with Rachel Sager which I highly recommend!  Here is my sample board and I can't wait to experiment with what I learned in my next project. 

Looking forward to my ninth conference next year in Detroit, see you there!