Category: Joe’s Rantings
I have been making some small mosaics on our bamboo mosaic coaster backers, and I wanted to share a photo of the collection so far and talk about some more advantages of working in a series of smalls.
Each of these coasters will be a “tile” that is used in a large sculpture that is in the form of a framed altarpiece with a small door at the center. An altarpiece is a backdrop for an altar or sacred relic. The wall in which the door is set is tiled with these coasters and makes up most of the area of the flat altarpiece.
I’m thinking I will use the sculpture as a removable cover for my generically-tiled fireplace. Then I could make a little art shrine in front of that, nothing elaborate, mostly found-object curios for my cats to knock over.
Artist Jill Gatwood sent me some photos of mosaics made by her and her students as examples where white grout was used with good results.
Jill says she didn’t used to offer white grout as an option for grouting in her class, but has since done so with some surprising discoveries.
The featured mosaic for this article is a backsplash Jill made with different panels, some grouted in black and some in white.Craft Aesthetic
At one point, we sold white grout, and I put a caveat in the product description about using white grout in mosaic artwork:
“White grout makes most mosaics look like a summer camp project, and that probably isn’t the look you are going for in your project.”
We have resumed operations and are now shipping packages normally.
Please be decent to people in these hard times.APOLOGY AND CONFESSION
My apologies to anyone who I have offended with my criticism of Donald Trump in my previous post Coronavirus Helmets, but you might want to give me a pass on that for several reasons:
My ex-wife is from NYC, and I was aware of all the deeply disturbing things that local people knew about Donald Trump BEFORE he entered politics, including assessments by very conservative bankers and tradesmen who hated Hillary Clinton with a passion. Most anyone who worked with Trump described him as a crook and cheat with too many ties to the wrong sort of Russians.
I have other insider information that makes me feel guilty for not speaking out sooner.
My son and I took a short break from planting our native and heirloom vegetable garden and digging a second tadpole pond and made Coronavirus Helmets, which are an essential piece of equipment these days. The Coronavirus Helmet featured in this post is mine. I have more about Henry’s helmet later in this post.
As I write, there is almost as much proof that these helmets repel Coronavirus as there is proof that malaria meds work for Coronavirus -at least not any better than any number of existing pharmaceuticals that were designed for viruses and not a protozoa like malaria.
That is why I feel like I have contributed as much in the fight against the pandemic as Donald Trump has.
More actually. I spent much of February warning friends and relatives of the coming catastrophe and encouraging them to buy groceries and make other preparations as soon as possible.
What did the President do in February? He repeatedly claimed everything was under control and played golf.
My apologies to anyone who is offended by that comment, but you might want to give me a pass for several reasons:
My ex-wife is from NYC, and I was aware of all the deeply disturbing things that local people knew about Trump BEFORE he entered politics, including assessments by deeply conservative bankers and tradesmen who hated Hillary Clinton with a passion. Most anyone who worked with Trump described him as a crook and cheat with too many ties to the wrong sort of Russians.
Like any experienced manufacturing engineer, I had a complete safety plan for my employees to work solo shifts wearing N95 masks I purchased well in advance of the crisis, having dealt with outbreaks of flu and stomach virus in production lines before. My criticism of Donald Trump’s lack of a timely response is from professional experience.
The mosaic business is merely one of my activities, and I spent the past year looking into developing an aptameric alternative to protein-based drugs such as Humira. My masters thesis involved microbiology and the University of Georgia patented it.-Joe Moorman, MS, engineer coronavirus-helmet-found-object-art-rear-v2-20200411_175310
How does a guy who has 8 part-time employees outperform the President of the United States? And how did I do it when my decisions were only based on basic information accessible to anyone who follows international news?
I don’t often use words like doddamn and futhermucker when I speak to my momma on the phone, but I did when I called her and explained why she needed to stop watching Fox News.
I recently saw some stained-glass mosaics by artist Debra D’Souza, and they reaffirmed my belief in the mosaic business and actually cheered me up after a day of work poop. To explain why Debra’s mosaics make me so happy, I first have to explain a problem that really haunts me as a retailer of arts and craft supplies.Flame Lake Stained Glass Mosaic Landscape by artist Debra D’Suza 24 x36 in Not Rocks with Fake Skins
Most of the stones you see used in mosaic artwork are rounded river rocks, which is fine when they are unique stones collected from beaches and hikes and real life, but all too often they are the epoxy-coated or urethane-coated river rocks of the same type of stone from the same factory no matter where you buy them, which is really sad to me.
Artist Marilyn Keating makes wonderful whimsical mosaic sculptures, and she recently completed a mixed-media mosaic mural as part of her residency at Morris-Union’s Warren, NJ Developmental Learning Centers (DLC), which provide public school programs for students with autism or autistic-like behavior.
I wanted to show pictures and talk about this mosaic because it was made with the help of young autistic people, and it is a good example of a design that is appropriate for a group project with people with different levels of focus or skill or ability to follow instructions, which is a relevant concern for most group mosaic projects no matter what the ages or issues involved.Mosaic Mural Warren NJ DLC
It’s EXTREMELY important to allow yourself to do creative projects on impulse without overthinking it. The reason is simple: research tends to kill the creative urge, at least for most people. Research can become an end in itself and go on to long and kill enthusiasm or the window of opportunity is lost.
Research can also give you problematic information and expectations for several reasons:Advice isn’t one-size-fits-all, especially artistic advice. People forget that the examples they are looking at were made by masters or that the advice was written for professional results of a particular criteria that isn’t relevant. Corruption of the original vision. Usually creative ideas evolve and grow by incorporation, but sometimes new inputs can overwhelm and kill the dreamlike essence of the original inspiration. Sometimes too many ideas and possibilities occur to the artist, who is then unable to choose one and focus on it.
Instead of naively charging in like a kid playing and learning through play, adults tend to want to reduce the process to executing a known procedure as much as possible. That really isn’t art, at least not in the experiential sense for the artist.
All that being said, it’s also important to not waste expensive materials and to not produce something that falls apart quickly because you didn’t take the time to look up a few basics.
Artist Apryl Howard sent me some pictures of her recent Arizona Sunset Mosaic, and it is the exception to several “rules” I have recommended over the years. It is also a great silhouette landscape that captures the color of light and is worth seeing merely for inspiration and ideas for your own artwork.
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
Background colors for mosaics should be chosen based on how well they contrast with the colors used in figures. For this reason, most mosaic artists will tile their figures first and then choose their background colors by a trial-and-error process of placing tiles on the mosaic backer and just seeing how they look.
The same approach can be used to decide what pattern of placement (andamento) you should use for the background. You look at what you have in the figures in the foreground and choose a background pattern that is compatible.
Frederic Lecut’s “Opus Pixellatum” Mosaic Class was a lot of fun, and I think the mosaics were very successful, especially with the improvised tweaking and colorization that students did in phase two of the process. In the photo above, instructor Frederic Lecut kneels in front of the class.
When people are in position at the end of the video, here is who you are looking at from left to right:Robbintina Harrison holding her adorable granddaughter’s portrait. Joanne Remppel holding her rescue dog’s portrait. Kate Carroll holding her friend Martha Barton’s portrait. Daniel Adams holding his self portrait. Amy Galbavy holding her self portrait. Apryl Howard holding her self portrait. Daniel Baxley holding his self portrait. Stephanie Cosenza holding her son Danny’s portrait. Sandra Atherton holding her self portrait.
Mosaic Artist Michael Kruzich has a body of work worth taking a look at, especially if you have any doubts about how well dramatic lighting can be rendered in mosaic portraiture and other figurative mosaic artwork.
But that’s not all that you need to see of his work. Michael has also made some mosaic-clad figurative sculpture that is as interesting in it’s abstract geometrical textural elements as it is in it verisimilitude –plus he has some stylized, classical and medieval interpretations. These stylized pieces are as eye catching as Michael’s naturalistic work. The reason is simple: All of Kruzich’s mosaics make great use of contrasting light and dark elements in addition to using strong pairs of complementary colors.