IMA's Weekly Mosaic Workout Challenge

Institute of Mosaic Art's Weekly Mosaic Workout Challenge. We are challenging ourselves, and whoever wants to join us, to make a mosaic every week from June 6th to November 6th, 2014. 

Found Objects - Part 1 - What we made, what we learned...

My week 1 results.

Sophia Cordoni -- Set Adrift

Sophia Cordoni -- Set Adrift

Artist: Sophia Cordoni

Title: Set Adrift

Size: 10 1/2" x 7 1/2"

Materials: Silicone, Apoxie Sculpt, Thinset w/colorant, bottle cap, beach sand, shells, algae and a few other unidentified bits and pieces gathered on the beach in Manzanita, Oregon at low tide.

Time: 1.5 hours (including the part I did and then chopped off - more on that below)

"That's considered a mosaic?", one of my friends inquired when I showed her my finished piece. I'm sure many could debate this question but I choose to believe that yes, it is a mosaic. I stuck some little pieces to a substrate and made a picture. My definition of mosaic has expanded significantly since I started learning about this art form in 2005, I might not have counted this one then,  but I do now. Plus, it's my challenge so I get to make the rules!

Learning 1 : Starting a big ol' project the week you are going on vacation is probably a bad idea.

I'm not sure what I was thinking (or if I was thinking) when I chose to start this project the same week I was heading to the Oregon coast for my annual retreat with my Tribe (a group of amazing, creative ladies from all over the country who help keep me sane.) It is a week of rest, rejuvenation, inspiration, tears, and laughter (lots of tears, lots of laughter.) While it is a creative time, it is also brief and precious and I was not terribly enthused about stepping away from the group (or the 1000 piece puzzle we were doing together) to work on my mosaic, but, as with most workouts in my life, I pushed myself to do it, and I'm happy that I did. 

Learning #2:  If you are going to make a mosaic while traveling, and you haven't decided what it will be, pack 3 times as many materials as you think you need and extra everything else too (adhesives, tools, substrates.) 

I packed bottle caps, silicone, thinset, apoxie sculpt, a palette knife and some tweezers. Maybe subconsciously I thought that since I was traveling to where Goonies was filmed, I would come upon a hidden treasure with many options for tesserae...but mostly I just didn't think it through realistically and found myself struggling to make it work. 

Learning #3:  Start with what you know and/or a bit of planning can be a good thing. 

I started out thinking I would do the whole piece with bottle caps.  I've never done a piece with bottle caps and though I knew bigger would be better, I didn't really have a good understanding of how big was necessary.  As I mentioned to some of you, I had allowed myself to go larger than 6" x 6"  with my substrate but I soon found that I had not gone nearly big enough.  To start, I made a sun with some yellow bottle caps and immediately realized the rest of the piece would be totally out of scale and/or an incomprehensible mess if I continued in that vein. Perhaps if I had gone less figurative it could have worked but my brain was not on that track so I was in trouble.   I got a little worried that my very first piece for the challenge would go immediately into the Museum of Mosaic Failures. I know I won't escape adding to that collection but I'd like to get at least one or two workouts done first!

Learning #4:  When you're stuck, step away and re-frame the issue. 

I went for a stroll on the beach,  trying to figure out how to solve the several problems I had created for myself with this bottle cap sun situation and lack of materials/tools. Thankfully my substrate was Wedi and the ugly sun was on one end of the piece. On my walk, I realized it would be relatively easy to cut off the few inches that I had made a mess of (apologies to the VRBO owner whose steak knife I used to cut the Wedi) and continue on with the rest of the board as though it had never happened.  Stepping away and taking a deep breath helped me to stop focusing on the bad of the situation and start thinking creatively about how to change direction. 

So, do I love it or hate it? 

Love is a strong word but I do like my little seascape. It's not my best or favorite work (that, I'm certain, is yet to come) but I am quite fond of the little boat -- hard to see in the photo but the sail is cut out of a Full Sail beer bottle cap (apologies again to the VRBO owner for using the kitchen scissors on that.)