Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Glass on Glass Mosaic Clocks

Once again, time has gotten away from me and I have not updated here for a while. I HAVE been busy creating, and, ironically, much of the mosaics I have created recently have been clocks!

Have I mentioned I hate to throw away any bits?

I have been working, for a couple years (!), on gathering the pieces necessary to create a mosaic I had a vision of. This mosaic is a bit different than my usual style. The focal of the vision piece will use rectangles of stained glass shaded from dark to bright with each color value all in a line. To achieve this, I cut a LOT of tiny rectangles and, of course, had left over bits. Not garbage! I found a use for them :))  A baker's dozen of uses.



All my available work is listed in my Etsy MosaicSmith shop.
Here is a direct link to all available clocks: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MosaicSmith?section_id=11136316

And here is a peak at some of the sorted bits for my vision mosaic:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Adventures in Mixed Media Mosaics

A few weeks ago I finished a mosaic in which I incorporated some new (to me) techniques. I oddly (again, for me) did not take work-in-progress pictures for this. Perhaps because I started it last spring and put it aside when it stopped 'talking to me'. Which was mid-layer of what turned out to be the first of four layers.

When it went silent, I propped it against the wall at the back of my work table. Where it remained silent, except for occasionally mocking me, *sigh. Until I moved it one day, then returned it to the wall- backwards.

Wow, new view, new vision!

The result:
"Misty Morning"

So..four layers. From the uppermost: Layer one is branches composed of glass drips from an glass blowing shop plus a few glass leaf beads, as well as copper enameled leaves and a copper enameled lizard that I created from sheet copper and powdered enamels + my torch.

Layer two is broken tempered glass glued to a sheet of clear picture glass and then grouted in warm pale grey.

Layer three is the back side of the picture glass and actually was the original mosaic I began last spring. It originally was to be the front of the piece. Inspiration struck when I viewed it from the back. It looked like a foggy morning!! Never did 'finish' this layer, at least as far as my original thought was concerned. This layer was left ungrouted and remains about where I left it in the spring because it worked perfectly for viewing the painted layer (#4).

Layer four is painted on a thin backer board and is mainly the sky and grassy area you can see in the photo.

A couple closeups:

I suppose the enameled bird could be called layer five since it is glued to the picture glass. When viewed from the front, the bird is under the tempered glass.

This is available in my Etsy MosaicSmith shop.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

WIP Pictures from the Creating of My Latest Shell Mosaic

During the creation process for my "Whatcha Doing" mosaic, where the Egret bird is pieced from sections of shells, I took quite a few photos I thought I'd share.

"Whatcha Doing?"
I decided to piece the bird with shells because I thought the natural material dove-tailed well with my inspiration photo- an Egret visiting a waterfront party; natural & man-made.  I have quite a few shell that I have picked up at the beaches here in Florida.  They tend to be rather sea-worn and sun-bleached, which actually works well with the egret's coloring. So I had a plan. Next decision was to use sections of the shells rather than whole shells as is typical with shell mosaics. Out came my trusty Dremel! And after a test with the cut-off attachment, yikes!, I also put on a dust mask!!

 I used sections of this Moon shell to shape the bird's head.

The eyes were tricky. I used a small spiral shell for the left and a barnacle on the right.  (Click the photos to view large images.)

Then I glued tiny black polished stones in for the eyeball.

The beak is a section of an Oyster shell.

Turns out Olive shells were perfect for the neck feathers. Really. I managed to cut multiple strips from each one. Carefully- shells get HOT when you cut them!

Check out all the dust! If you try this, working outside is recommended, in addition to wearing a mask.

Neck feathers. Check. Now I needed body feathers. This Whelk shell, cut into wedges, worked nicely for many of them. 
For the wings, I used a variety of Clam type shells.

The tail feathers are pieces of Sand Dollar and the inside of a couple sections of large Scallop shells.

Those are two whole Olive shells at the tops of the legs. And lines of tiny Mussel shells for the legs and feet.

Note: I've been filling in the background concurrently with figuring out the piecing of the bird.  And in this photo I have grouted the background in white. Looks awful, as I expected. That is NOT the intended finished look!!

It is actually a bit of an experiment. I have noticed that sometimes dark grout takes the 'light' out of a mosaic and thought if I filled the grout spaces most of the way with a light grout, that the light-robbing effect would be diminished.  I sponged the wet white grout to remove enough from the spaces that there would be room for a dark top-coat of grout.

I mixed up black, pearl grey and 50:50 black/grey grout and added Weldbond glue to each mix for extra stickiness. Using it in a bag with the corner cut off makes it very easy to apply, especially as a top coat.

MUCH better color now with the top coat added. Black in the upper portion, grey in the lightest blue area and the mix for the rest.

The grass area got mallard green grout in the same way.

(The grey stone area was glued in with black tinted thin-set and was not grouted.)

Experiment results:  The grass area was done with similar glass and in a similar strip pattern to one I have used before. I do think the look is brighter in this mosaic because of the white grout/top coat method. I don't see as much extra brightness to the water area. I think because the greens for the grass might have been a more translucent glass than the water blues. So, when using glass that has some translucency and dark finish grout, I will use this white grout/top coat method in the future.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shell Mosaic Bird and a Gallery Show

Last weekend I finished a new mosaic wall art piece just in time for it to be included in a gallery show. The inspiration for this piece was a photo I took of an Egret bird who visited a waterfront gathering I attended this summer. He (she?) sure seemed interested in our event, though perhaps because there was food involved! 
"Whatcha Doing"?

The bird is pieced from sections of shells mostly found locally here in Florida. My Dremel was instrumental in shaping these shells. If you try this technique, I recommend wearing a dust mask and doing this outside!! The background is mostly stained glass but with a section of stone pieces depicting the sea wall.

The gallery show this piece is included in is at the Crawford Gallery in our regional library, The SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin, FL. It is a Painting and Mixed Media theme show with three artists. Myself, Jeanine Tatlock, a student who showed works in a variety of media, and Harriet Rollitt, a paper collage artist- click her name to visit her website.

Artist Linda Pieroth Smith (right)

Friday, October 11, 2013

More Mixed-Media Mosaics - Playing with Enamels

Catching up the blog with a few pieces not mentioned here already. (But if you follow me on Facebook, these may be old news. And, if you don't, why not?? :D )  Link to my Facebook page is right over there. ==>

I have been continuing to play with the enamels and torch. Really love this process!!

Most recently, I completed several mosaics in my "Interloper" series. These are all based on photos I took this summer on a visit to Tybee Island, Georgia.
"Interlopers", "Morning", "Lost"
Small ones measure 5" x 5" and middle one measures 5" x 17" overall (each section is 3" x 5") Each includes hand-cut copper torch-enameled elements.

The top one, called "Interlopers" has been donated to fundraiser for Arts Council of Hillsborough County http://fivebyfivetampabay.com/

The middle compilation is called "Morning" and the bottom is called "Lost". These two are available on my Etsy site currently. (See 'Purchase' tab above.)   Edit: These have sold.

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I also completed a desk clock featuring a couple of my torch enameled pieces, including a whimsical...bird. Definitely a theme with me lately!
"The Early Bird Catches the Worm" - Desk Clock
Clock measures about 5" x 8" and, in addition to the funky bird, features a custom clock minute hand in the shape of a worm. A tiny flying bird and three millifiori flowers denote the 12,3,6&9 hours. I had fun with this piece!  Available in my Etsy shop.

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While I was playing with the torch to make the clock elements, I also created a few necklace pendants. Yup, these are available in my Etsy shop too!
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Currently, I am working on several pieces, WIP pictures soon.  I will be part of a three women Mixed-Media Show at our regional library in November and December.  More on that later too.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Silent Beauty - Mixed Media Mosaic Butterfly

My butterfly wall mosaic, pieced from stained glass and Mexican smalti glass, is now complete!
"Silent Beauty"

From a photo I took of a Mangrove Buckeye Butterfly at the Manatee Viewing Center, FL
~ 11" x 7" . 

The butterfly portion was pieced from stained glass using a double indirect method.  See previous post for a WIP picture.  After piecing (on sticky paper), I glued paper to the face, flipped the mosaic and peeled off the sticky paper. I then adhered it to a section of concrete board using thin-set mortar. This portion is grouted in mocha brown.

The background was pieced with Mexican smalti laid with the direct method. The flowers and major leaves pieced first, then the accent reeds in tan, and finally the rest of the background. The background is grouted in black. Generally smalti type glass is not grouted, but the Mexican type is smooth on the face (vs the Italian type that is used cut edge up and often will have tiny air bubbles that fill in when grout is used) and I felt the black grout would help the background to recede and the butterfly to 'pop'.  

Finished with an edge of black stained glass. Wired and ready to hang.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Mosaic Art Butterfly WIP

Butterfly measures about 9" x 5" and is pieced from stained glass. Working title is "Silent Beauty". Finished mosaic will measure about 10 3/4" x 7".  {Odd size, yup. I've a few of these odd sized small boards on hand. Might make a related series with them. And then move on to using standard sizes that can be easily framed!}

I started this project last month and then stalled while I pondered how to approach the background (earlier WIP picture in previous post).

Next up: Transfer this to a piece of concrete board. Right now it is assembled on clear contact paper and you are looking at the right side. I'll glue paper to the face, remove the contact paper from the back, glue the butterfly to the concrete board then remove the glued paper.

The idea is that the butterfly will have a beautiful smooth texture and the background will be more highly textured for contrast.  I've decided to use smalti for the background. That should give it a nicely textured look and the uniform material will not detract too much from the focal. And I get to play with smalti :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cat Silhouette Sun Catchers

Photo shows nine glass mosaic and enamel suncatchers featuring copper enameled kitties.
Cat Silhouette Suncatchers
 And now I know there is a strong correlation between a love of mosaics and a love of kitties! Half of the 18 kitty silhouette suncatchers I made are on their way to new homes- but the ones above are still waiting for their forever home :)  

Hand-cut 22 gauge copper kitties were torch-enameled in black and added to a glass mosaic 'scene'. Copper foil around edge with hanging loop and suction cup.

These suncatchers, along with a few other suncatcher designs, are available in my Etsy shop.

Meanwhile, I have been working on a new, smallish, wall mosaic. First of at least two planned for this subject. Sneak peek:  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Torch-Fired Enamel Leaves for Mosaics

Torch-fired enamel on copper leaves
I've been playing with the copper, enamels and torch again!  

From my silhouette pieces I made recently I had a bag of odd shaped 'scraps' of 22 gauge copper. So I shaped quite a lot of them into leaves using metal shears. Each one has a little 'tab' that I used to hold the shape for torch firing. (Click the photo if you'd like to see it larger.)

I used Barbara Lewis's torch method of heat and dip in enamel, after first cleaning the cut shape well. The beauty of this method is that it also coats the edges of the shape with enamel meaning no fussy filing was necessary. But the difficulty of this method is that the tool you are holding the shape with inevitably also gets a dusting of enamel, which then, of course, will fuse to the tool making removal of the fired shape a problem. To try to solve that issue, I dipped the tweezer points in bead release solution. The kind often used for the mandrels when making lamp-worked beads.

Coating the tool with bead release worked out fairly well. It needed to be reapplied after a handful of leaves and did leave a bit of residue on the tab and back of some leaves. But I'm not concerned with the back, or the tab, since these are intended for placement on top of a mosaic and the tab will be buried in a grout line.

Next up- dreaming up a project to use these leaves in!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A new element in my mosaics - torch-fired enamel pieces

I have been playing with fire lately and learning torch-fired enameling. Very fun way to create elements for adding to my mosaics.

 I've had two main print sources for learning the basics on this process. Barbara Lewis has an excellent book
"Torch-fired Enamel Jewelry.. A Workshop in Painting with Fire"  (as well as a studio in St Petersburg, FL). With her book in hand, I set up my own little space to create.  Some of the first pieces I made were leaves that I incorporated into this bird mosaic. Click image to enlarge.

The second excellent book I bought was by Linda Darty "The Art of Enameling". She covers all techniques, both kiln fired and torch-fired, with great technical details and interesting projects with step by step directions.

Additionally I've found that there are classes locally in enameling. Great hands-on learning! I took a class at The Morean Arts Center in St Petersburg with Jan Wunsch and another at the Arts Center Manatee in Bradenton, FL with Sondra Hirssig.

Check out your local arts centers and see what they offer.