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. 

The "Do-Over"

Week 10 - What we made, what we learned...

You've made it to the halfway point. Congratulations!  I am now several weeks behind on prompts and unlikely to catch up unless I 'time trial' all of those I've missed.  It seems to get harder and harder each week to carve out time for mosaic so I have even greater respect for those of you who have managed to keep sending in your work week after week.  And I know there are a couple people who are still doing the work but having some mishaps and not feeling great about sharing them, that's ok - keep trying. Remember, we all make a mess sometimes, that's how we learn what not to do next time (and sometimes your mess is another person's masterpiece!)

Only a handful of submissions this week but all participants were happy for the chance to revisit a past prompt and most of you were pleased with the results of your redux, which is a nice bonus. 


Artist: Julie Sperling

Title: "An acquired taste"

Size: 4.25" x 4.25"

Materials: Stone, smalti, and gin bottle

How long did it take to complete? About two and a half hours

Thoughts: I was so happy to have a chance to go back and redo a challenge that I wished I had done differently. I knew immediately that I wanted to revisit last week's challenge ("When life gives you lemons...") and try a more appropriate thinset colour. I'm much happier with the results of this week's challenge---that green glass is popping now! The name is a nod to both gin and thinset, the latter because that's the mistake I was fixing and because it took me quite a while to learn to love working with thinset.


Artist: Mary Beth Binder

When Life Gives You Lemons...        

Time spent: It’s a present to myself so I’m still working and not worrying about it. 

Thoughts: It may not look like it has anything to do with lemons, but my entire mosaic journey is about taking lemons and making lemonade, so there you go! I had been inspired by some tempered glass art I saw at a festival booth years ago, but it wasn’t until I had a serious accident that left me disabled for months that I decided to quit waiting and start learning how to do this thing I knew I was meant to do. Not only was I no longer a dancer and athlete, I was a person who realized that things can end in a heartbeat and so you had better quit dreaming and do everything that you want to do in life. Shortly thereafter I started studying at IMA and making mosaics.  I then learned I would receive a big settlement and be able to realize my dream of moving to Maui! Preparation was underway and then the settlement was revoked. Now it’s a legal matter, but I get to continue my studies at IMA and am fortunate to learn from the masters! So.... I am making a tropical motif for the light on my tropical-themed patio. It may not be Maui, but for now it’s exactly where I am meant to be!

What I’m learning: I am a terrible cutter. Soooooo.... sloooowwww…..


Artist:  Janice Oravec

Title: Three Legged Dog Print

Size: 6"x 6" substrates

Time:  45 minutes

Materials:  Stones in Thinset Mortar

Thoughts: My do over was week 1, Found Objects. So with this challenge I combined, Found Objects, Three and Repeating Patterns. I have no clue how to work with thinset mortar, I love bright colors and once again I was challenged by lack of time...I know WAH. Definitely not my favorite. On to next week.


Artist: Marsha Lipnisky

Title:    "Just Black and White"  (Unfinished work from week three: Black and White)

Time: 5 hours for sticking on tiles only (much more time for deciding on the layout)

Size: 9 x 11 inches

Material: Framed mirror painted black and white, broken plates, Titebond II wood glue and grout: charcoal and alabaster.

The challenge:  (1) harmoniessly working only with the two opposing plates and hopfully appearing as if one. (2) I chose to use two different colored grouts; using black on the white plate and white on the black plate to diminish the contrasting differences in color. 

What I learned:   I learned to grout with more than one color of grout.  I layed the white first and let it cure and then the black grout.  The use of blue painter's tape was used to mask off the area not being grouted.

This was a fun project.  If I squint at the whole frame it looks like there is a even balance of "gray".


Coming soon...

Coming soon...

Artist:  Sherry E. Wallis

Titles:  Red and White Three

Materials:  Stained glass, buttons, glass gems, seed beads, millefiori

Time:  about 6 hours

Comments:  This week started out by my visiting my daughter in Oakland.  I knew I'd be very busy with her wedding plans and visiting friends as well before I left on Thursday for Washington to judge a dog show.  I was so excited about this trip because I got to visit the new IMA facility and meet Sophia and Ilse as well as to renew my acquaintance with Laurel True.

The new place is great and was just a skip away from our hotel!  I brought most of my stuff and managed to do this project very quickly.  They were kind enough to donate the red glass gems, when it was obvious my planned material just didn't fit.  

For once, I had a very modest plan, to combine two colors and the number 3.  Even though Sophia and I spent a lot of it talking and touring the facility and looking at the work the Ravenna-method class was finishing up,  I managed to finish most of it.  I filled in the gaps with seed beads of white and red as well as millefiori in lieu of grouting.  

Thanks so much for your hospitality and for giving me a place to get this done. It was great to meet y'all  

What I learned:  I can almost finish a basic piece in 3 hrs.  Don't ask  your husband to take your extra bag home without checking it carefully.  My Lepps and Silberschnitts were claimed by TSA as weapons.  Someone could use them as a club.  Oh, as well as the dangerous dental pic.  


Artist: Eleonor Mahood

Title: City Streets

Size: 10" x7"

Time: four hours including figuring out design

Materials: Smalti, glass tiles, porceline tiles, stone, wellbond on cement board

Thoughts: I had been saving stuff to do a series on monochromatic pieces, so this was perfect to start that now under the redo theme. challenge always is design and balancing the materials I really like how this turned out. and continue to find the themes helpful in focusing my ideas