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. 

Copies, with a twist.

Week 11  - What we made, what we learned.

Further delays as I am sick, again.  Monday and Tuesday were the worst of it  (my days off, of course.) I'm on the mend but still moving slowly and easily tired, so I'm keeping it brief today.  

JulieSperling_Week11_favourite spot - full 2.JPG

Artist: Julie Sperling

Title: "Favourite spot"

Size: 4.25" x 6"

Materials: Smalti, glass rods, stained glass

How long did it take to complete? About two hours

Thoughts: I just couldn't bring myself to copy someone else's work (especially if I had to post a picture of it after)---so intimidating!---so I modified the challenge slightly and instead made a mosaic in the style of an artist whose work I adore. I drew my inspiration from Luca Barberini's Via di Roma 136 series, which I have long admired. What makes these mosaics so appealing to me is the way Barberini conveys so much life and character with just a few perfectly imperfect tesserae. I love his whimsical glimpses into the everyday. Now, ever since these challenges started, my wife has had her fingers crossed for a portraiture challenge (Sophia: PLEASE NO!!!) and she keeps joking with me that I should do a portrait of our miniature schnauzer, Dexter. While a realistic portrait of dear ol' Dex is firmly outside my current (and probably even future) abilities, I decided that perhaps I could render his likeness à la Barberini and score some major points with my wife. And while it's clear that I am no Luca Barberini, I did try to channel his simplicity and ease, and was surprised by how much you can communicate or suggest just with a few pieces of glass.

Artist: Liz Williams

Thoughts: I've noticed several mosaics using broken coffee mugs over the years.  I learned - as always - that less is more and a mosaic I like takes more time than the 2-1/2 hours I spent on this one. 



Artist: Cheryl Compton

Title: Inspirations from the past

Materials:  Thinset, grey and pebbles from the beach

Time:  Took about an hour to do this piece

Comments:  I began doing mosaics and more specifically pebble mosaics after a trip to Israel.  The mosaics that were done there throughout the ages are amazing.  The one that stuck with me the most was the "Mona Lisa of the Mid-East".  Her picture is the first one.  Now this beautiful woman is something that I hope to someday reproduce but my skills are far from the level of this masterpiece.  So, I instead chose to do a piece of the border decoration that surrounds her on this magnificent floor (second picture).  Alas, it is a poor copy.  The original pebbles were cut, mine are direct from the beach.  The colors are amazing and vibrant from that region, mine are from the beach.  And the way it was put into the floor adds to the beauty of the design, mine is in plain old thinset.  It was a good exercise in looking at what inspires me and reminding myself that these masterpieces truly are the goal I hope to attain....someday.

Artist: Sima Zeiger

Title: A Reproduction -- The Lost Colony by Rachel Sager

Materials: Italian smalti, sandstone, limestone and a metal bicycle grinder wheel

Dimensions: 8x8"

Time: 6 hrs

Thoughts: Rachel Sager's mosaics speak to my interest in geology and my new found appreciation of rocks and stone as a mosaic medium.

Rachel Sager: "My artistic process includes large chunks of time spent sifting through the earth itself, gathering material. Using a rock hammer, I chop larger rock into smaller rock, and then still smaller rock, until I have piles of tiny tesserae that are the building blocks of mosaic."

Artist:  Janice Oravec

Title: Work in Progress

Size: 6"x 6" substrates

Time:  Ongoing 

Materials:  Smalti, Vitreous Glass, Beach Glass, Ceramic, Aluminum, Steel, Beads

Thoughts: Need more time, half of my pieces are not glued as I want to change them. My biggest challenge was finding the right materials. My next challenge was staying on course. I need to redo my unglued pieces, mostly big beach glass, then I need to find something more suitable.

Artist: Marsha Lipnisky 

Title:  Charlie Tuna

Time: 2.5 hours so far

Size: 12" x 10" when finished

Thoughts: I've been wanting to do a Martin Cheek character for some time but came across Charley Harper's art last week and chose his 'Fish' instead.  I was inspired to do this because I have a brother who loves fishing and all things fish and I found Charley Harper's minimalist style speaking to me...."Must do...must do".

Enjoyed working with 'Charlie' because I had a basic plan and gave myself some artistic leeway on tile choice....that is until I ran out of white. 

Working on a grid saved time and stress from having the tiles move all around. Later I will use tile tape to set it on thinset.

I learned that it is a good idea to take pictures of your work in progress because you can critique it (seeing it with a third eye) and make corrections before it is set in 'stone'.

Kelley Knickerbocker

Kelley Knickerbocker

Artist: Eleanor Mahood

Title: Beach glass abstract 

Size:  9 1/2 by 13 1/2 (too large for a weekly project!)

Materials: cement board, beach glass, beads, other shaved glass

Eleanor Mahood

Eleanor Mahood

Thoughts: The topic was perfect because I had pulled this piece to use as inspiration (I wish I had made this one myself) and then got welcome permission to do a copy.

Well I wanted to try it with my own materials it is of course not a real copy but a copied idea. I have not made much progress on it but would like to share its finished version when I am done. I love the abstractness of the original piece and the simplicity/ complexity balance. I still have trouble with figuring out background colors and edges. something more to work on. And I am a bit slow because I work so much and all that.

Time: so far about 1 hour after much ruminating about materials.

Artist:  Sherry E. Wallis

Titles:  It's shouldn't be like this

Materials:  Polymer clay, vitreous glass tile, jewelry pieces, etc.

Time:  about 10 hours

Comments:  This should have been what I did for the previous week, so I've asked Sophia to switch them.  This should have been a tribute to Laurie Mika, whose work I love and who introduced me to polymer clay through a class on her wonderful mosaicons.  

I am responsible for two pieces of art for the auction at our national show for Akitas.  The money goes toward both our rescue and health research funds.  One of my pieces holds the record for the highest auction price, and people have been asking me what I'm making for the auction for several months.  The mosiacons start with a focal point, and for this one it was the Zentangled Akita.  It was supposed to be on an ultramarine colored tile, like the blue in the triangles.  Unfortunately, something terrible happened when I baked the clay.  The dog is scorched, especially his tial, and the blue was burned to black.  Worse, it smells burned!  

I couldn't find the quilting square which is marked off in rules, that I use to make square cuts and I can also see that I need to do some of the blue tiles over because they are uneven.  This will hopefully give everyone the idea of what the final product will look like.  Only it will have turquoise and purple tiles as well,

What I've learned--Even if your thermometer says everything is fine (and I have this super-duper digital, continuous reading one, you can still have a malfunction.  I'm not using the tray that came with the oven any more.  I think it concentrated the heat, and I'm going to bake my piece sin baking soda or cornstarch to protect the white.  Disaster's happen, but they're not the end of the road, and fortunately, polymer clay isn't super expensive.