Category: Inspiration

  • Floor Inset Mosaic Medallions

    Floor Inset Mosaic Medallions

    Artist Catherine Augustus recently installed some mosaic medallion insets in the floor of St Clare of Assisi Catholic Church on Daniel Island, South Carolina, and you might want to take a look.

    These mosaics were a volunteer project for the artist and her team of parishioners. They learned on the job and had to dance around some technical mistakes, but the results are great.

  • Masterpiece Miniature Mosaic Series

    Masterpiece Miniature Mosaic Series

    In centuries past, crafts people worked in guilds, with a guild for each craft: shoemakers, gold smiths, etc. To join a guild, a person had to apprentice themselves to a member of the guild for years and work themselves up from repetitive physical work in the studio to more and more advanced tasks over time.

    Eventually the apprentice would be competent in all the skills and tasks required for practicing the craft. At that point, the apprentice would submit to the guild what was called a masterpiece, which was an ornate and difficult piece of work that demonstrated that the apprentice had mastered the craft.

    Well, if I were a master mosaicist instead of a jack of all trades, I would declare Lisa Sunshine‘s Alphabet Mosaic Miniatures series a masterpiece of glass mosaic merely in the execution.

  • White Tile in Mosaic Artwork

    White Tile in Mosaic Artwork

    Artist Brad Srebnik‘s latest mosaic street number sign is a good example for a discussion about white tile in mosaic artwork.

    I also think the color scheme is excellent, and I wanted to say a few things about that.

    The green and blue and red are all intense but not bright. The color scheme is all “in the same key” (instead of being a mix of intensities) and so the mosaic looks more sophisticated.

    I think the accent of green was a critical addition. The choice of a dark marbled red instead of a bright primary red also goes a long way toward creating an antique look.

  • Case Study: Non-Sanded Grout for Mosaics with Incidental Gap

    Case Study: Non-Sanded Grout for Mosaics with Incidental Gap

    For better glass mosaic images, tiny incidental gaps are the way to go. Just forget about grouting and fit the glass as tightly as possible.

    Or better yet, cut the pieces less precisely and use the slight errors in shapes to form an incidental grout gap.

    I highly recommend this latter mode of working because you focus on the visual and make better art instead of getting frustrated trying to cut precise shapes.

  • Mosaic Icon: Moses on Sinai

    Mosaic Icon: Moses on Sinai

    Here is the first of a series of small mosaic icons I am making on thin concrete outdoor mosaic backers that resemble rough-edged flagstones but are significantly more crack-resistant.

    I am not sure if this will be the only Biblical subject in the series.

    The mosaic is ungrouted at this point, but I plan to use black grout.

  • Mixed-Media Mosaic with Ceramic Relief Sculpture

    Mixed-Media Mosaic with Ceramic Relief Sculpture

    Artist Aly Winningham of Terra Firma Studios has some great mixed-media mosaic artwork. These wall-relief mosaics are a balanced mix of custom ceramic sculptural elements, found objects, and elements of conventional tesserae.

    I love mixed-media mosaic, and I love to make it myself, but the problem is that you have to spend time at yard sales when you would rather be in the studio making stuff.

    Finding odd items for mixed-media mosaics can become an end in itself for this reason:

  • Excellence in Mosaic Art

    Excellence in Mosaic Art

    In my post, “Agonizing over Mosaic Icons,” I discussed artist Sue Hague’s mosaic reproductions of Greek Christian icons, and the troubles she was experiencing due to the grout gap.

    My advice to Sue was to eliminate the grout gap in her future work because these icons weren’t architectural surfaces exposed to the elements. The grout isn’t needed. Make the tiles touch. You couldn’t do this on a backsplash, but for an icon or plaque; sure, no problem.

    I am pleased to announce that Sue took the advice to heart, and the results are soooo good.

  • Grout Study: Mixed-Media Mosaic

    Grout Study: Mixed-Media Mosaic

    Artist Lorie Beercheck emailed me an in-progress photo of the mixed-media mosaic sign plaque she was making as a housewarming gift for her friends new B&B.

    Lorie wanted advice on the grout color.

    I was glad to give it because the mosaic was a mixed-media figurative image and so more likely to impacted by the choice of grout color.

    There were also some special concerns that made good points of discussion.

  • Mosaic Virtuosity: Stained Glass Paintings

    Mosaic Virtuosity: Stained Glass Paintings

    Artist Lisa Sunshine’s stained-glass mosaics are tiny 4-inch iconic images intended for use in an illustrated alphabet series.

    I’m not sure whether these images are Sunshine’s own compositions or if she is using an existing illustrated series as a model, but either way the mosaics are virtuoso stuff.

    Sunshine’s mosaics are “impressionistic paintings” rendered in stained glass, they are miniatures, and they make the rest of us look like amateurs.

    TIP: Most people wouldn’t enjoy working in this small size and would prefer a 10″ or 12″ backer, especially if the mosaic contains multiple figures.

  • Mosaic Hallucinations

    Mosaic Hallucinations

    The month of January is tax prep and inventory season for our glass mosaic tile business, and it’s been a stressful time each and every year for 20 years, at least for a week or two or certain days.

    This year is particularly stressful for a variety of reasons: unprecedented inflation, weak sales, bookkeeper gone incommunicado, personal tragedies, you name it.

    And to top it off, just yesterday I came down with the horrible sore throat and sinus infection that half the half the kids in my son’s school have been passing around since October.

    Well, my neighbor gave me one of those moth pills that help you sleep, and I think I drank too much cough medicine on top of that because I had weird dreams all night long and woke up the next morning outside by the tadpole ponds.

  • Mosaic Door First Full Revision

    Mosaic Door First Full Revision

    My Mosaic Door Project was something I had never done before: combining a work of art that was being made for magical/spiritual reasons with a commitment to FINALLY start doing a good job of photographing my artwork as I work and creating good teaching examples.

    I’m the guy that has never photographed vacations and wilderness trips and important peak experiences. I am too busy experiencing things to document it.

    Needless to say, creating art is one of those times I am too engaged to with what I am doing to be photographing things, at least at the best times or stages for a good how-to photo.

  • “Crazy Good Art”

    “Crazy Good Art”

    Sometimes I feel like a thoughtless child when I catch myself using expressions that show a lack of sensitivity for people suffering.

    Other times I feel like the expression in question has some insight or specitivity when used in certain contexts, no matter how overused or unfortunate the term might be in general.

    “Crazy good” might be a callous expression, but “crazy good art” has some references beyond the association of genius and mental illness and suffering and the classic heart-breaking examples like Van Gogh.

    I think there is some artist-to-artist meaning communicated in the phrase, and it is a reference to the “post-project blues” and the level of commitment required to make the piece in question. It is a high compliment expressed crudely for emphasis.