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. 

Calling Home

A couple notes before we look homeward

1. It has been a few minutes since I thanked you all for participating in this challenge and for sharing your work, your processes, your challenges and frustrations with everyone. I continue to learn from and be inspired by you every week, which is especially nice when (ahem) I don't get my own workout in.

2. As you have noticed, I tend to get the weekly results up Mondays at the earliest. So, going forward, you are free to turn your pieces in by end of day Sunday and they will go up with the group. And, as mentioned previously, I will put up pieces or updates that I receive later, but it will take a little while. 


Home - What we made, what we learned...

“Home is the nicest word there is.” ― Laura Ingalls Wilder

Artist: Cheryl Compton

Title:  Welcome Home

Materials:  Stones from Barbery Beach, Art Glass, Shells from all over GBI, Sand from Eleuthera (gives it the pink tinge), grout

Time:  2 Hours

What did I learn:  I LOVE this piece.  The moment I saw the theme, I thought of doing a "welcome mat" for our front stoop.  So, I got out my 53 Ap and Sketch Stylus and started designing something.  I came up with the design and then modified it to a smaller size (for this challenge) and to see if I could use different types of media (shells and glass) mixed in with my stone.  The result (as you see) is really cool.  I am going to mount this piece on a flat of driftwood and add a hook on the back so that it can be hung on the wall.  The concept of using the molds and adjusting the height of the sand to accommodate the shells and the (thick) glass made this the part of the challenge that was new to me.  Using stones with the added features, I did have to pour the grout very carefully and readjust some of the stones (as they tipped over without the support of other stones around them).  I was able to manage the process pretty well and am very pleased with the result.  Now, on to the full sized 'welcome mat'.  : )


Artist: Sima Zeiger

Title: H' Om

Size: 6"x 6"

Materials: vitreous glass, contorni, stone, millefiori and glass bird magnet

Time spent: 4 hrs

Thoughts: I wanted to capture the entrance to my "home" and especially the gate. My nippers and I became very good friends on this project!


Artist: Kathleen Quinlan

Title: Heart felt, heart full

Materials: China cup

Time: 6 hours

Thoughts: After a year and a half hiatus from mosaics, during which I was longing to get back, but never seeming to find the time, I decided this challenge was the perfect format, so I took the plunge.  I was unable to get to IMA to grout on Wednesday night, so will do that soon.

This theme was a true challenge, because I was widowed a few years ago and so the concept of home was turned inside out for me. I kept coming back to heart and I've been drawn to pique assiette recently. I took a very sweet oversized delicate tea cup that has just been sitting on a shelf and decided it would be perfect to transform.

I noticed how I kept thinking of how I could refine, and perhaps complicate, my design, but had to resist because of the pressures of time. That was a good discipline, to let go of the mind just a little bit!

Best of all, I've overcome my inertia and am excited to continue the WMW challenge! So great to be creating again.


Artist: Cate Thomassen

Title: “Jack”

Materials: Stone and unglazed porcelain- approximately 6” x 6” in size. This one took about 4.5 hours.

Thoughts: ‘Home' was an interesting topic. Home has meant many things to me over the years, but at this point, what comes immediately to mind is my husband. Home is with him wherever we may be. Attempting a portrait was not an option so, as my spouse’s name is Jack, that’s what I tried to portray.

This work fell on the heels of  Michael Kruzich’s Drawing Andamenti and Tessellation for Mosaics workshop, so I attempted to put some of what I learned there into practice. Lack of time was again a barrier to achieving the result I was hoping for, of as was the small canvas. I would have preferred to use a stone background and to spend more time and give greater attention to the andamenti. I also noticed that my shadows could use improvement…and on and on.  All that being said, however, I moderately satisfied with the result and look forward to more.


Artist: Deborah Englebaugh

Title: Variations

Size: 6 x 6    

Time: 2 ½ hours

Materials: Brick and bisque fired clay

Thoughts: The assignment “home” immediately provoked thoughts of material so it made sense to use the brick from my home as tessera. The brick was a difficult material to break down, but pounding on the brick with a large hammer proved to be the perfect stress reliever. The extra added bonus was finding the texture and color variations inside.


Artist: Kathryn Venezia

Title:  Orangeyouglad you saved it

Time: 5 hours

Materials:  concrete half sphere, tile, mirror, beads, wire, cup, glass marbles


Artist: Nan Judson

Title: The Door’s Open

Size: 4 x 8 x 2"

Time spent: 7.5 hours (a lot of this time was waiting for the silicone adhesive to dry. I was working on other projects in between.

Materials: Stained glass ball chain, cabochons, china, and millefiori on a cement brick. Attached with silicone.

Thoughts: I have had this cement brick for a long time in anticipation of making a door jam. for my front door. I chose colors to match an oriental rug in the same room. Every side is different. Took a long time to do because the cement brick had ridges on it, and I needed to make sure each finished side was flat. Also had to wait awhile for the silicone glue to dry on each side. Fun to do because I made up the patterns as I went, and each side is different. And now the front door days open, allowing fresh air to come in.


Artist: Julie Sperling

Title: "Home range"

Size: 6" x 6"

Materials: Layered paint from a local Ottawa graffiti wall, marble, scavenged tile that had fallen off a shop front in Kensington Market (Toronto, ON)

How long did it take to complete? Far longer than it should have (5 hours?), considering a big portion of it is one piece is layered paint.

Thoughts: I continue to struggle with the themed challenges, and while I'd like to think that by the end I will have gotten at least a bit more comfortable with them, I fear I may only improve my ability to BS my way through them... This week's mosaic is the product of a series of very tenuously linked thoughts and a few happy accidents. My initial idea was to use building materials like brick, glass, and maybe some nails or something. But I had already used brick in a few earlier challenges and it kind of felt like taking the easy way out. So I turned my mind to the more abstract, touchy-feely meanings of "home." Lots of ideas, but no clue how to turn those into something tangible (on a 6" x 6" substrate, no less!).

Eventually I started thinking about how "home" has so many layers of meaning to it. It's different for everyone and our notion of "home" often changes over time. Somehow, my mind then jumped from layers of meaning to physical layers, and I started thinking of the layers of paint that must build up over time as houses change owners and owners change their personal tastes and styles. This reminded me that I had some chunks of layered spray paint that I picked up at the local graffiti wall---remnants of artworks past. Perfect, I had my main material! While cutting it up into tesserae (which I used for the 'clouds'), I was really drawn to the rough jagged edges of the paint chunks. When I set one of the edges on my board to contemplate it, I noticed that it looked a bit like a mountain range, and thus "Home range" was born. So, through many twists and turns, I finally created what "home" means to me---it's not just my dwelling, but also the landscape I inhabit and the spaces I move through. And this concept is where the name of the piece comes from, as a "home range", in ecological terms, is an area in which an animal lives and travels.


Artist: Marsha Lipnisky

Title:   "Bonding Time"

Time:  Approx. 6 hours 

Size:  7"x 6"  piece of tile

Thoughts: I was excited about doing the project but I am not a drawer so I had to find a way to capture the statue on paper. As I was studying  the piece I noticed the shadow of it being cast on the table and decided to draw the shadow.  With a little tweaking I managed to capture the idea of a family of four bonding.  The rest is left to the imagination.  


Artist: Kelli Russell

Title: Our House is a Very Very Very Fine House …

Time: 5-6 hours?

Thoughts: I wanted this particular piece to look like it could have come from a child’s drawing, which I think I achieved J. Ultimately this mosaic will be a pendulum clock, with a handmade clay bob on the pendulum in the shape of 2 cats. (And the finished pendulum will look better than my hastily-drawn outline!)

One of my personal challenges is to learn to NOT compare my pieces to everyone else’s wonderful work. That said I loved this challenge because the idea came quickly from the song lyric and I enjoyed working on it as long as I ignored the voice that says “this isn’t Art.” I’m happy with how the mosaic came out. Learnings so far over the past few weeks have been mostly about time use (yes, I CAN find time to do this regularly!) and organization, which I’m appreciating very much.


Artist:  Sherry E Wallis

Title:  Houston Home

Size:  12" x 8

Time:  Way more than I thought and still not done.  Around 10 hrs.

Thoughts:  I took a class from Laura Rendlen just before SAMA, and I thought adapting her methods to this mosaic would be very appropriate.  I'm a Houstonian, born and bred, and it's the first thing I think of when someone asks me where my home is. 

Houston is criss-crossed by many waterway, but the main ones are bayous, and Buffalo Bayou is near both my house and borders downtown.  In fact, it's why Houston is where it is:  because it has a navigable waterway.  Later this was expanded to become the Houston ship channel and extend 50 miles to the sea, so we became one of the largest ports.  

I'm going to finish this and when I do, the bottom layers won't be completely visible.  It should look like a bunch of leaves and maybe some vines, if I get ambitious.  So you could see sort of what the finished product should look like, look at the little section under the blue building and imagine that with lots and lots of little leaves.  Some will go up over the bases of the buildings and will cover the beginning of the waterway.  BTW, Buffalo Bayou is really that color.  :-)

What I learned from this:  This is a good technique to use up ALL the Chinese vitreous that shreds to pieces when you try to cut it!  


Artist:  Janice Oravec

Title:  Home

Time:  3 hours

Materials:  Vitreous Glass and Cork

Thoughts: Home to me is not a place, but a feeling of comfort when surrounded by people and things I love. I love bright warm colours, which my home is filled with. So my week 7 mosaic "Home" is signified by a bright warm coloured heart. Need time to tidy this piece up. The grout and glue are wet and there are big gaps that need filling. When I am truly done, I think I will like this mosaic.