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. 

Where does the time go?

I'm ridiculously behind on the weekly workouts at this point (and still behind on getting updates to old posts in - sorry 'bout that!), but I'm not out.  I have designs in mind for some of the recent ones but truly have not had the time to spend realizing them. I am keeping track of the ideas that come up in my notebook so that I am not starting from scratch when I do get back to having mosaic time. 

We've got a small group of Challengers this week. Some folks have taken a hiatus due to previously scheduled summer plans and/or mosaic work in progress.  Some Challengers have been inspired by a particular workout and want to follow that inspiration and some have realized that they don't need the prompts so much as they needed permission to carve out some time for mosaics each week.  That makes me happy to know - the whole point of this is to make mosaics and to find inspiration in a variety of ways and places so I'm glad it's working.

Week 8 - Time  - What we made, what we learned...

Artist: Julie Sperling

Title: "A cautionary tale"

Size: 6" x 6"

Materials: Marble, limestone, ceramic tile, unglazed porcelain, smalti, glass rods, tumbled stones, beads, safety glass, beach glass, scrap glass from glassblowing workshop

How long did it take to complete? Three one-hour sessions...ready, set, go!

Thoughts: Wow. I took the time trial option and this challenge was the most fun I've had so far. It was really nice to not have any pressure and to just make something for the sake of making something, end result be damned! Instead of prepping 3 small substrates as suggested, I decided to divide one substrate into three general areas. I grabbed a very eclectic selection of leftovers from my shelf and put them in three piles (one palette for each one-hour session). Each section started with a chunk of glass, but after that it was all left to chance / instinct. I didn't plan anything in advance, and I enforced a strict "laid is played" policy. The end result looks so different from my usual work. Lots more materials, lots more noise. I noticed that with the clock ticking, I tended to shorten my lines (which are normally long and gentle). Anyway, it's neat that each of the 3 sections---cream, white, and grey---actually has its own personality. I named this piece "A cautionary tale" because it has served to remind me of the importance of both play and planning. This craziness that I created is the result of zero planning, but oh what fun I had making it!

Artist: Sima Zeiger

Title: Hour Leader

Materials: vitreous glass and watch pendants

Size: 5"x 8"

Time: 6 hrs - too long!

Thoughts: This was my first attempt at a self-portrait. She's not perfect but I love her anyway!

Artist:  Sherry E Wallis

Title:  Tempus Fugit

Size:  8 x 6"

Time:  About 6 hours

Thoughts:  I'm very hard on watches, and the dainty, dressy ones only run on me for about two months.  So I've got something of a collection of dead watches.  Yes, in the hoard.  This one was a gift from my husband and has a lovely pearl and coral bracelet which I will now repurpose as just a bracelet.  

When I saw the subject, I immediately thought about "time flies," and to me, that meant a timepiece and wings.  So hear they are, flying across a twilight sky dotted with gold stars! 

I did the wings from polymer clay and the background is vitreous tile and mirror tile on an artists board.  I'll probably grout most of these pieces at the same time.  I like to give the Weldbond time to completely dry and cure.  I usually color my grout, so it's easier to mix up batches and do them all at once.  Not sure about what color to grout this, though.  

 I wanted the wings and watch to be above the tile, but didn't want them on top, so I did the wings in two layers, a base layer and then the feathers.  It took a while to cut all of them and stick them down.  Not hard, just tedious, because the clay sticks to itself and to your tools!  The tiles then but up against the bottom layer, so the wings look like they're floating.  

What I learned from this:  I love this piece.  After I'd started, I realized there was a better way to do the andamento around the watch.  I didn't rip it all up but I did change some.  Next time, I'll do the whole thing the way I figured it would do best.  My original intent was to use big tiles just laid in parallel lines across the back, but it looked awful and boring.  So I ended up cutting all those pieces which took more time.  

Artist: Cheryl Compton

Title:  One Starfish at a Time

Have you ever heard the story of the child who was on the beach when thousands of Starfish got stranded onshore?  He started throwing them into the water.  A man asked him why he was doing it because it wouldn't really matter when there were thousands he couldn't save.  The child answered, "It matters to this one".  That's the story I thought of when I sat down to do this challenge.

Time: 1 hour exactly

Materials:  Thinset (grey), pebbles from the beach on a cardboard backing

What I learned:    I actually waited until Saturday Morning, so I wouldn't have a chance for a 'do over' if it came out bad and I would have only the set amount of time.  Set the clock after laying all my stones in front of me.  I realized that the idea wasn't the hard part, execution was truly difficult.  The stones that I had didn't seem adequate.  I would have chosen also (if I could do it again) to do the swirled outer stones in a smaller size.  I think the large stones hide the starfish.  Also, thinset isn't my favorite to work with, but I knew the process of gluing, grouting, cleaning and so on was more than the one hour time.  I learned that simplicity is key to working fast.  A better idea would have been to use two colors (with the grey thinset) to make it pop.  I am actually going to try this design again, after looking for the better configuration of stones.  Overall, I don't love it.  The effect of the water swirling around the swimming starfish is totally lost. And, it doesn't stand out enough to be immediately recognizable.  But, it was a good learning on thinking through the colors, sizes and background choice in a faster timespan than I am used to working in.  


Artist: Nan Judson

Title: Hope 

Size: 8 “ x 5”

Time spent: 5+ hours

Materials: Stained glass, ball chain, china, and millefiori on wood

Thoughts: Songs of birds greet each spring with hope and joy. I have wanted to mosaic a bird for a long time, so this was a great opportunity to get out the scroll saw and play around with shapes and designs. I had so much fun that I cut out three more birds (different shapes), and am mosaicing them now. My art improves with repetition, because it loosens up the design process for me.

Artist: Marsha Lipnisky

Time Trials...heavy duty clock watching this time around!  Each piece took one hour to snip and stick.  I could not capture the intensity of the chartreuse on camera but the violet grout enhance the blue and green colors perfectly.

Title:  "Troika in Blue, Chartreuse and Violet"

Time: 3 hours (without grouting)

Material:  leftover plates from other projects, grout with watercolor acrylic mixed in with the water.

I enjoy looking at the finish pieces as a grouping or by themselves and will probably work with these colors together again.  The grout color came about by doing 3 test runs on four different grouts that I had in storage.  Each time adding more colorant to obtain the right intensity I was striving for.

Artist:  Janice Oravec

Title: Current Time

Size: 3  - 3"x 3" substrates

Time:  Approximately 35 minutes each, not including dry time and grouting

Materials:  Vitreous Glass, again

Thoughts: The challenge forced me to use the direct method. I combined the two challenges. Option 1, Time as Topic, for me means NOW which I constructed to fulfill Option 2, Time Trials. I like the "O" and "W" better than the "N".

Artist: Eleonor Mahood

This is my first time on the weekly workout. I think this is a fabulous idea and am excited to join in. I may not be able to send something every week but it will still be an inspiration in my art process. 

I did try the one hour challenge and did a 4 x4 piece from some broken dishware. its simple but the colors are pretty and it was fun to have permission to just do and not think about it too much.

The piece I submitted is called Time is Money. I have had this big jar of coins I though I might do a mosaic with one day. When thinking about the time theme, I ran into someone who said "Time is Money" and so I went with that. 

Its a wedi board base, coins held with welbond, and clock letters and images. I took only about 1 1/2 hours to do, but was really fun and I am happy with the outcome. It felt particularly good too because I had just finished a piece I have been working on for weeks that just didn't come together in a way a was to have something work, though simple was good timing. 

Design is still challenging for me and I think these themes will help me unlock some of that.

Look forward to continuing.