The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Projects in the Studio 

Mosaic Class began March 30th. But I missed the first class. My first class was April 6 and I have attended 4/6, 4/13, 4/20, and 4/27. We meet on May 4, May 11th and May 18th. 8 classes.

So far I have finished a table top, finished a panel on Opus regulatum, finished a panel on Opus tessalatum, finished a panel on Opus Sectile, finished a Bee rock, and finished a Dragonfly rock.

I have started a panel on Opus circulatum, started a wooden shoe, started a flower pot, and started a panel on Opus vermiculatum.

Yet somehow I don't feel like I've accomplished much. Why is that? Must be tired.

I will be giving a speech on Mosaics on Thursday. Hope to sell a few things there, too.

More Dream Lifes 

Here are 2 more things I'd do if I had time:

Own a Miniature Golf Course. Putt-Putt is fun!

The other thing is go to Ball State University and Major in Aquatics.

My mosaic class instructor is going to yell at me. I have used up almost all the blue tiles I brought home. I am still working the fan panel, but I also did a flower pot and a wooden shoe. Hope he is in a generous mood Tuesday.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Page 23, Line 5 

There seems to be an idea circulating in Blogdom. The idea is that if you are stuck for a topic to blog about, you can go to the nearest book, open to page 23 and blog the 5th line.

So I went to the nearest book. It was “Setting Tile” by Michael Byrne. It is not a mosaics book; it is written for tile installers. I got it because of the information it had about setting surfaces, ie, Durarock, mortar beds, etc.

I opened to page 23 and it was about stone work. I don’t work stone. So I turned to page 123. The 5th line reads…”…on larger and more complex surfaces, the carpenter’s square isn’t large enough to establish large, truly accurate right angles. This is where the 3-4-5 triangle comes in.”

It goes on to explain that any triangle with sides in the proportion of 3:4:5 will contain a right angle. That is a very handy thing to know.

If I were young, I think I would go into the tile business.

Other things I’d do if I had time:

Be a waitress in a diner where I could wear a pink uniform and call everybody “Honey”.

Be the Cook/Owner of a restaurant where the only item on the menu is beans.

Own an art gallery and call everybody “Dahling”.

Be a Forensic Scientist

Be a Plumber. Plumbing is essential.

Create a Botanical Garden.

These are my fantasy’s. What could it mean?
I need to get out more!

Mail Call 

Two Happy surprizes in today's mail:

First: For the lady who wants the Dragonfly Rock, I will put it on Priority status. Considering glue and sealer drying time, you should get it in about 3 weeks. The other lady got hers faster because she didn't want sealer. You however live in a freeze area and must have it.

Second: I got the Society for Mosaic Artists Newsletter. I get soooo much out of each issue. I love it. I will be up late tonight reading every line.

Now I've got to get to work. Bye Bye.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Mosaic Art Car? 

There was buzz at Mt Dora Center of the Arts yesterday that there might be a mosaic art car created. There are plans for an art car parade in Mt Dora in August.

This morning when I went to collect the mosaic vacuum cleaner, I got to talk to the lady who owns the Toyota that might be converted to the mosaic art car. While all this is still iffy in the planning stages, a committee is being formed. So I signed on. This is going to be an adventure!

On the way home, the Mosaic Vacuum Cleaned broke. Fatally. The handle snapped. I guess it will retire to the garden now to rust. Although even its rust out will give me info on how long the mesh will hold up in extremely poor conditions.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Spanky Comes to Class 

Mosaic class continues to be great. The teacher, Rich, brought his little pug doggie, Spanky, to class. Spanky was totally adorable. Cute.

Beth wanted to mosaic a ceramic turtle statue, but Rich discouraged that project because it would take longer to accomplish than the 2 weeks we have left. I thought there was only one week left. I am glad to have the extra time. Beth then stashed the turtle and began working on a stepping stone. She laid out a beautiful Moroccan style design.

Patty didn’t come. I took some yellow tiles in to class for Sandy and she happily turned them into bananas for her tropical scene. She will miss next week as she is going on a trip to LA. Scott, the computer guy, made good progress on Janet Jackson’s Boob and his wife,Sandi, is progressing well on a very intricate, monochromatic portrait piece. Sandi is very sweet and generous about sharing the tools she brings to class. Sandy used Sandi’s emery board to get a good curve on the bananas.

I had 2 pieces to start. One was Opus vermiculatum. I selected tiles to create a waterlily.

Next I started on Opus Circumactum. Opus circumactum was not an Opus I ever knew about. I found it in a book yesterday and decided to try it. It runs fan shapes across the background.

I asked Rich if he had ever worked it and he had just finished a table in this pattern. He said the trick was to line up dead on the edges. Sure enough, as I worked this afternoon, I’d slap a trapezoid angle along the edge instead of a right angle and it wouldn’t work. Grrr. But it’s a beautiful pattern. Blue fans and sea shells.

Jake and I went out for Chinese fast food. He had Egg Foo Young. I had Curry Chicken. I always say “Hello”, “Thank you” and “Good Bye” in Chinese. It makes the staff laugh.

Our next stop was a hair cut for Jake while I scoured Goodwill for mosaic grist. They don’t have a lot of jewelry like they used to.

Then we went to Lowe’s for pool chlorine. Then we had a quick stop at Cracker Barrel so I could hunt for toothpicks with fancy tops for another project.

Settled in back at home we were totally thrilled when Cliffy called from Iraq!!!! Now we have his address and can send him goodies and letters and moral support. He is in Baghdad proper, but gets sent to various parts of town every day. He says the natives have a lot of camels and donkeys.

If your church or civic group has a drive for soldiers, contact me and I’ll pass along Cliffy’s info…especially at Christmas. Thanks for all the prayers.

Tomorrow I have to take the truck and fetch my pieces at Mt Dora Center for the Arts Show since the show closes. That was so much fun. Mosaics is great.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Sad Mosaic Mom 

Mosaic Mom is sad. Her e-mail seems to be broken. Nobody is sending me e mail. No one is blogging regularly. Mom feels soooo out of touch. Boo Hoo.

Is that some good self pity or what? Tee Hee.

Anyway, I'll be at class tomorrow praying that my hands hold out. Then I have 2 pieces to finish before the last class next week. This could be touch and go.

Bluebird House 

Sunday, April 25, 2004


Ten Flowers that Smell Good
1. Jasmine Sambac
2. Gardenia
3. Wisteria
4. Magnolia
5. “Double Delight” rose
6. Daffodil
7. Orange Blossoms
8. Honeysuckle
9. Stephanotis
10. Osmanthus

Ten Things that Smell Bad
1. PortaJohns
2. Mothballs
3. Tires
4. Dog poo on your shoe
5. Ashtrays
6. Ammonia
7. Women with too much cologne
8. Yankee geezer men in Florida in July who haven’t bathed because they don’t have to back home in Canada and they can’t seem to comprehend that it’s 90 degrees outside not 60 and they stink!
9. Septic tanks
10. Burned hair

Ten Things that Smell Interesting
1. Soil when the rain starts
2. Moss
3. New car upholstery
4. Coffee
5. Curry
6. Mushrooms
7. New shoes
8. Evergreens/Christmas trees
9. Estuaries
10. Mineral Spirits

Saturday, April 24, 2004

How I Got Happy 

Once upon a Time, I was sad.

Every morning I would wake up and yell at God because He hadn’t killed me in my sleep overnight. I was angry all the time and happy was never ever in my vocabulary.

Then a friend told me to write down 10 good things that happen to me every day.

I couldn’t do it. I could write a list of hundreds of things that had gone wrong. But I could not find one single thing that was good or that I could be grateful for.

Well, I hate to fail at things. Here I was failing at this assignment. Surely there must be one good thing. But day after day, nothing.

A particularly rough patch came along. Everything was breaking. The refrigerator broke. The roof leaked. The car battery died and left me stranded. I was very much more stressed because we didn’t have money for repairs. I was crying all the time. And I had nothing, nothing to be grateful for.

So I dragged myself out of bed one morning and hopped into the shower. And the hot water came raining down on me.

Yes, the hot water came raining down on me.

That was the beginning of happiness. I realized that the hot water heater hadn’t broken. It wasn’t costing me a repair bill. The electricity was on. That bill was covered, too. Hot water. It was so simple. It changed my life.

I couldn’t wait to tell my friend about my one good thing. She laughed and told me there’d be more, too.

There were a few at first. Some days none. Then more and more and more. Then one day the fulcrum tipped and there were more good things than bad things.

Now 18 years later, there are more good things than bad every day. And they call that being happy.

I did Opus Sectile today. And finished the 5th and final of a series of UFO yard sculptures.

There is a motorcycle festival in Leesburg. Lots of bikes are toodling up and down the road. Many road bikes, but no choppers.

Secret Fantasy: Paul Teutle will drive down my road and wave!

Mosaic Mom was once a Norton Girl!

Friday, April 23, 2004

Great News! 

Helen has passed her Junior Review. Here's what she says...

Friday, April 23, 2004
Drum roll please…


Whoo! Both sections too: art and oral presentations. Yay!

I’m so excited! This totally rocks and I’m sure that I’ll be celebrating later. But right now, I’m going to sleep for the next three days. Poke me around Monday if you need anything. Thanks.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Technology Gap 

The Chinese invented paper around 100 AD. They invented toilet paper in the mid-1300’s. America didn’t catch up till Sears and Roebuck published its catalog in the early 1900’s. Eeewwuuuu!

Anyway, back to mosaics…the Opus tessulatum piece is done. And I got Jake’s “Bee Rock” into a rough cut. The bee is cute, but I don’t like the rock I selected, so I’ll go to the rock pile this evening after it’s cooler. It’s pushing 90 today.

I made a Lowe’s run this morning. Got grout and mortar, but the Flamingo lady wasn’t home for a visit. I also stopped at Intercoastal for some tile pre-shopping. I appreciate when a store lets me browse. I am going to be stocking up here shortly. I am running dangerously low of certain colors. Intercoastal will get a big Florida tile order from me soon.

I was a good girl. I did not open the Bisazza sample books. They were on the counter top. I saw them there. They called out to me…”Ooooo, here we are. Pretty colors. Rainbow colors. Beautiful jewel tones.” It might as well have been a buffet of hootch sitting on that table. I was gasping for breath, but I made it without a Bisazza fix.

10 PM Update: We picked out a better rock and Jake’s Bee is complete. I will grout it in Colonial Blue tomorrow. That means stained hands for a day or 2 but is well worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Learning the Opus 

Today Jake is peppy and I am dragging around here like a 200 year old woman. Hormones are so unfair. Grrr.

I made a post office run and collected 7 beer cans along the roadside on the way home. Recycle bonus! A good Earth Day project, I’d say.

I am studying the opuses...how the backgrounds of mosaics are made. Here's some info I found...

There are a number of different styles of laying the mosaic tesserae. Each style denotes the rhythm and pattern in which the tesserae are laid, like the brushstrokes of a painting. These styles still bear the traditional Latin names.
Opus Regulatum
Opus Tessellatum
Opus Vermiculatum
Opus Palladianum
Opus Sectile
This is the essence of mosaic and will have a dramatic impact on the final look of the work.
From Gary Drostle

I got the coffee cup grouted on the Opus regulatum background. The regulatum required that each piece be exactly 1 inch square. Pretty slow. I did not cheat and use the saw. I made myself do handwork practice.

Opus tessulatum did go fast and was very forgiving. I got the most of the second piece laid this afternoon except for the cut and fit parts. I’ll knock that out in the morning. No wonder it was the most common background.

This site The Joy of Shards had a few photos.

I am almost out of mortar. I’ll make a Lowe’s run tomorrow. I may drop by and visit a lady who is mosaicing a door sized flamingo.

We are watching a TV show about how toilet paper is made. I’m gonna cut the blogging short and go learn something good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Class was super again!

The computer guy finished his “Sushi Roll” and started a mosaic of Janet Jackson’s Boob. It’s actually cute. He tired of mosaics and brought out his laptop which was also wireless. (via a Sprint card). He tuned right into the internet and located the teacher’s new home page. Then he looked up some items on Google before settling in to check the stock market. I Want One!, but will no doubt have to wait for the price to come down a bit.

I learned a lot watching Beth cut and fit her border on her “Goldfish”. Sandi ran into a problem with her bananas because the yellow glaze got bumpy when fired. She and Rick will have to work out finding a yellow that matches the depth of the other tiles since other than the fruit, her tropical scene is almost done.

I showed off my table. It represents the first time I’ve worked off a pattern.

“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name…it felt good to be out of the rain…” was on the radio. I hate that song and now it’s stuck in my head.

I finished my exercise in Opus regulatum. Early this evening, I started a design for Opus tessalatum. The lady liked her Dragonfly Rock. Hurray.

After class, I took Jake’s old batteries to the Recycle Center. Jake used to PAY at the county dump. $1.00 for each battery for the disposal fee. Today the recycle center PAID ME 30 cents each. I made $2.70 on the day. Whoo Hoo. That made me very happy.

This evening we worked in the garden, watering okra seeds. Only 49 days to harvest now. And we got the first tomato. Good eats tomorrow.

Dragonfly rock 

I made this for a lady in Mt Dora. Hope she likes it. I will deliver it tomorrow morning.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Garden Day Today  

Although I got a little mosaic work done today, most of this Sunday was dedicated to gardening.

The Okra seeds had been soaked overnight. I always liked the technical term for soaking seeds…the “Imbibition” of water. Anyway, they plumped up, so I plunked them into the ground this morning.

I love Okra. I boil the pods whole till just fork tender, and then eat them whole. I also love Okra because it is the only green vegetable we get in the unbearable heat of August.

The rest of the vegetable section is doing well. We will have tomatoes by next weekend. We’ll have a cuke by Wednesday. One Ichiban eggplant is flowering. One sweet bell pepper is about an inch big. There are several Jalapenos at about ½ inch. Salsa! Salsa!

Then I turned my attention to a neglected section near the patio where my aloe vera grows. The oak leaves pile up year after year. Keeping groundcovers from getting buried under oak leaves is a real challenge. The aloes had stretched and stretched and flopped over and stretched some more.

I took the shovel and dug the whole mess out. All aloes came out bare rooted and went off to grow in a bed by the Nopales. I took out a very etiolated clump of Liriope.

I like the word etiolated, too. It means stretched and stretched and flopped over and stretched some more because the oak leaves are piling up and blocking all the light.

A Jasmine Sambac was languishing in too much shade, so it got relocated. Now that area looks clean. Maybe I will put some pots of Impatiens there.

I uncovered 3 rocks I didn’t know we had. (In Florida, these are very valuable landscape accessories).

Over by the pump, I ditched the Violas and Sweet Alyssum. Too hot for those now and they looked fried. They were in one of my mosaic pots and got replaced by a Beaucarnea recurvata, aka Pony Tail Palm.

More words I like…Beaucarnea recurvata, Cocoloba uvifera, Liquidamber styracifula. And my all time favorite…Shinus terebinthefolius. All plant names. But they just have a certain interesting rhythm.

Very profitable garden day. In mosaics, the dragonfly is attached to its rock. I will grout that tomorrow. I added mesh to the Christmas tree frame, but I got annoyed at getting my arms cut on the wire. I got set up to do a topiary. This will help me work out a design for Christmas tree foliage. I added more pebbles to the wall with the leftover mortar.

I guess I was pretty peppy today. I probably won’t feel too peppy tomorrow.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

BuZy Zaturday 

Deb, Tom and Danielle came over this morning. Danielle is enjoying Freshman High School art so very much. Her class is drawing portraits with oil pastel. She has some good artistic talent.

How I wish the school system in this county had more art curriculum. But I have given up hope of that. The county/the whole country is too broke.

Do you know how I know that the economy is bad? There are no aluminum cans on the roadsides. They are being collected and cashed in. People need the change that bad.

Anyway, after they left, Klampe phoned for Jake. Jake is at the Statewide Z Car Fest all day today. I hope he wins some awards for his restoration efforts! He will have a lot of news to tell his friend on the call back.

I settled in for some serious work. I got the dragonfly netted. I grouted the flower rock. (Jake was right about that one. The dragonfly I had done on the reverse of the flowers wasn’t bright enough and got lost into the grout.) I experimented with grout color on another rock to avoid a second disaster tomorrow when I appliqué the dragonfly. I mortared a rock get the shape I wanted to set the dragonfly on. I used up the extra mortar finishing the pebble inlay on my wall. I vacuumed the studio.

The Pompano is roasting in the oven. The brown rice is made and the Greek salad is chilling in the fridge. A nice Saturday indeed.

P.S. Jake was home in time to eat his fish while it was still hot and contribute a photo of today's Z Fest.
Here is his Green Bean next to some famous guy's car. 240Z

Friday, April 16, 2004

New Place to Shop 

As I write my Blog, some computer somewhere reads it. The computer picks up key words and sends ads to the banner.

Mostly at Mosaic Mom you get mosaic ads, but yesterday I wrote about Baba Ram Das, so watch for ads about incense or Zen books or yoga to appear soon.

But today's ad was a company I had not seen before, so I visited there. I liked what I saw. Go see for yourself.

Here's the Premade Mosaics. Check out the Bulk Tile page, too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


My class project grouted up beautifully first thing this morning.

By late afternoon since all the other work was done, I masked off the face, slapped it on the turntable and applied Liquetex to finish the edge. This stuff worked like a charm. It filled the gap between tile and pressboard thus creating a smooth, paintable surface. I wish Suzy and I had known about this as a finishing medium when working with her classes.

The Buddha says “You wake up when you wake up”. Or was that Baba Ram Das? Or if you achieve Oneness, does it matter how you spent the ‘60’s?

The entire price of class admission was paid right there with the knowledge of Liquitex, but wait there’s more…

I mosaiced a dragonfly onto a rock this afternoon, but I hate it. It is not a design the customer is likely to accept and it screams for a re-do. However, it represents the first time I’ve tried to construct an Opus Vermiculatum.

That right there was the bonus. I have a new level to learn to control. I love it!

A lady had brought a design in for class work which contained a pinnate leaf (fern-like). The instructor changed her to a palmate leaf (banana leaf). This was a subtle but very significant change in the amount of cuts. In the Martin Cheek book, I’ve noticed that fish tails are curved outward not inarched. Again subtle but very significant.

The greatest thing that happened in class Tuesday?....A song came on the radio…”Morning has broken”. Four people started singing along! Awesome. Then a discussion broke out over whether it was Cat Stevens or Jim Croce. Nobody could remember. Awesome.

As Buddha says” Gate/Gate/Paragate/Parasamgate/Bodhi Svaha! Or was that Baba Ram Das?

(Translation: Gone/Gone/Gone Beyond/Gone Beyond Beyond/Hail to the Goer)

Baba Ram Das

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Lesson Day 

Today was another mosaic lesson with Rich Rudden at Mt Dora Center for the arts. I have been mosaicing from 10 AM and I finally packed it in at 9:30 PM. Almost 12 hours!

My fingers are almost too stiff to type. But I have some good looking stuff ready to grout tomorrow.

A birdhouse, a trivet, the class project and a happy rock.

My nose is to the grindstone...literally.
I am learning so much!
I am so happy.

Monday, April 12, 2004


Was this the creature espied by the McDonald's at the Volusia Mall? C'est la Mole Cricket.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Happy Easter! 

Happy Easter Everyone!

mosaic by Bruno Zenobio

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Ian's Resurrected! 

Ian will get a tee hee out of that title...but go visit my blogfather. P.S. I LOVE the squirrel story!!!

Fried Fish, Fried Computer, Fried Eggs 

Jake’s fishing buddy, Stan, invited us to a Fish Fry in New Smyrna today. It was at Stan’s Tennis Club and Stan caught and cooked all the fish for about 100 members and guests.

The tennis club was amazing. I had expected a country club or a condo setting, but this was a group of die hard tennis sportsters who got together and built their own courts. They had 8 courts. The club house and grounds were adequate, but the care and money were on the courts. There was not a ripple or a wear mark in the green. No cracks at all in the white lines. Not a saggy net or ripped fence cloth. Come to think of it, not even a stray oak leaf on any of the courts. These were serious players.

The fish was pompano and whiting, beer battered and deep fried in nuggets. Delicious.

But we didn’t stay too long because it was off to Deland to pick up Helen’s fried computer.

We will take it for repair Monday and hope to have it fixed in a day or two. Her Junior Review Presentations are stuck inside in limbo. The tragedy is that Rickey’s Psychology term paper is stuck inside too. It’s due Monday so sadly he will spend Easter Sunday rewriting a paper.

Next we motored to Sanford where I picked up a book I had ordered. It’s called “Riding the Bus with My Sister”. I had read another really good book with the word bus in the title, “The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God”. So I have high hopes for “Riding the Bus with My Sister”.

I just finished the last book in the Left Behind Series. The first 3 or 4 books were exciting and even inspirational, then it became a chore to stick with it. I got an overwhelming sense of commercialism. It took 9 years to wrap up that saga. That’s 9 years of buying books, not 9 yrs of story line. And I was going to say Thank God it’s over, but in the epilogue there’s a chilling sentence about how Satan will be released after the millennium of peace….chilling because one realizes that this cash cow series will re-appear….Nargh.

Made an error and stopped at Publix at 5PM on the Saturday before Easter. No check out line had less than 6 people. Got kinda fried waiting so long for a dollars worth of fruit, but it was my own fault.

Came home and ate fried eggs for supper. Am going to watch TV for a while now and CHILL.

P.S. We met Crystal today. She's the author of this pot.

Friday, April 09, 2004

At the end of the rope... 

When you're at the end of your rope...let go.

This class exercise was not working out at all this morning. I replaced the background twice and was frustrated beyond belief. I wanted to chuck it and ditch the class. Then I let go...

I told myself to copy the pattern I had seen in the Martin Cheek book. So I just started chunking 1/4 inch bits and setting them in.

By golly, it started to work. By late afternoon, I was cruising! I can have this thing grout ready by Tuesday, I think.

We are taking time out tomorrow to go see Helen at school. She is buried under assignments so it is easier for us to go see her for an Easter visit than for her to come home. Schools out for the summer in 2 weeks anyway.

Big news: There's a new fragrance soap in the ladies room at the YMCA. It used to be floral. Now it's green apple! It's the little things...Smile.

This is a Byzantine mosaic of the Passion done in 1263

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Smooth and even and flat 

My project for mosaics class is teaching me a lot. It’s basically a different approach to design.

I usually let my materials set the outline for the design and I work in 3-D. For example “Bird Vase” was created based on the birds I could find and the vase I got at a tag sale for 15 cents(!).

The method taught in this class starts with design and makes all materials conform. It is much more classical. Flat. Very smooth and elegant. Very hard to achieve.

I am going nuts working with glass, commercial tile, pool tile, glass beads, and pottery. All these materials are different thicknesses and they have to be set perfectly level because it’s a table top. If I don’t get it level, your glass of wine will tip. So it’s slow going.

The teacher said he accomplishes about 2 ft. sq a day. Today I got maybe 15 sq inches in 5 hours. And I’ve still got a tippy problem area. Grrr.

I’m eager to do the background though to experiment with the andamento. I am thinking of inserting a ghost image in the same color. Lotta cut to fit on an exercise like that. Maybe I’ll just run a checkerboard and move on.

Helen phoned from Lowe’s today. She found the tile department and found the mortar she needed for her project. Yay! Go you!

Here is a classical mosaic of the Betrayal of Jesus from the Basillica of Gethsemane

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Thumbs up! 

Working on the project for my class, I sliced my hands open. I have 2 cuts on my right pointer finger and 2 on my right thumb. My left thumb is gashed too. Joe always said the saw wouldn’t cut you but the ceramic would. True.

Therefore, it was nice to have a day off from mosaics today. Deb and I went to lunch.

We ate at Soup to Nuts Diner. It had a cute 1950’s motif. Then we browsed JoAnne fabrics; that’s always a treat. I got floral tape and a topiary form. Yes, I am going to mosaic the topiary form. Don’t get ahead of me yet.

When I got home Helen was phoning. She is a little stressed over her Junior Review. But she has a good head on her shoulders and magic art hands, so she’ll come out just fine. Thumbs up!

Then a guy pulled in the driveway to ask about the Z Club. Then a lady pulled in the driveway to ask about the white wisteria that grows on the front fence. Thumbs down. Too much traffic. I locked the gate.

Here's a basket of mosaic easter eggs to get the holiday mood started.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Music to Mosaic By 

Besides all the new techniques I am learning, the Rich Rudden mosaic class has one great thing going for it…the music is awesome.

The radio was tuned to the oldies station. Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence” was playing when I first walked in. That song brought a happy flashback.

An hour into tiling, an Eagles song played and the young couple sitting across from me started singing along. Later yet, the instructor was singing along to an old rock and roll classic.

Let me tell you how happy I am to be in a room with people musically compatible.

Here’s an example of Rudden’s work. Portrait of John Lennon. I must be sure Brian Sweezea sees this!


Doesn't that previous blog title look good? Like I'm really professional and all? What if you knew the customers were family? See it's not the same. Not so varnished when it's about doing a mosaic topiary for your sister's mobile home. But ain't spin great?

Anyway. Jake may have gone fishing today, but I was the one who got hooked, reeled in and landed.
I went over to the arts center to look at Joe's work and they said they had an opening in Rich Rudden's class. I jumped right in.

So I am making a table top. I'm not used to working flat and staying in the lines. I find it very hard to complete the assignment and not turn it into sculpture. I'll never learn if I don't get this discipline.

Rich Rudden has the most amazing skill with tile nippers that I've ever seen. His cuts look machined. He bevels edges and polishes tesserae by hand. He said he works at it 8 or 9 hours a day. My word!

All I am hoping for is to learn to control hand cut andemento over an area. This is going to be an adventure. Happy Mom!

Monday, April 05, 2004

2 Comissions 

I am working hard on 2 orders I have from customers. The Blue Danube is perfect for one! I will have to fire up the wet saw tomorrow for some cuts I need. The weather is finally warm enough that I don't mind the slosh.

Tomorrow Jake is fish hunting again. I am headed to the Mt Dora Center of the Arts to apply the Blumenthal "How to look at art" method to the Joe Difiore mirror. Also I want to peek in on the Rich Rudden class in progress.

I intended to get on a waiting list for a fall session for Rich Rudden's mosaic class, but the college called today. My minimum class enrollment was not met for April, so they have rebooked me for October to teach book repair. I wonder how this scheduling will work. Grrr. Angst 6 months in advance.

Pray for Cliffy 

Everybody say a prayer for Cliffy. This ain't the best time to be in Baghdad.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Missing Ian 

I really miss reading Ian's blog. I guess he is gone for a spell.

He was a fabulous writer and his college antics such as learning to handle booze and learning to carry a roomkey to the shower were hilarious. His nature observations were remarkable, truly remarkable.

I guess I'll always think of him as my "Blogfather" . I'll let you know if he comes back.

Mosaic Memories 

Someone asked me at the reception if the "found objects" on the mosaic vacuum cleaner were precious items for me. Not on that particular sculpture, they aren't. However....

I really enjoy making "Memory Pieces". The first one I made was for Suzy. I turned her Grandmother's broken teapot into a birdhouse.

Nikki brought me a broken vase. It had been a gift from her Grandmother, too, but the dog hed knocked the end table over and shattered everything. I am turning that vase into a birdhouse, too.

I really love having a method to salvage precious things with this craft. I'll post pics asap.

Blue Danube Dishes 

Suzy gave me some broken dishware to use for mosaics. I laughed and laughed. These are the dishes I remember as a kid! Now I get to smash them up for art! I love it!

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Jake's Practice 

Jake wants to practice making a link. Here is where Jake works.

Friday's Mosaic Adventures Cont'd 

Mosaics at Seminole Townsquare Mall?
Well, not officially. But Helen and I wandered into Rave looking for summer shirts for her. Rave was having a sale on jewelry. Mosaic Mom always needs jewelry to work with. At 25 cents per piece I treated myself to 5 dollars worth.

Mosaics at Mt Dora High School
I met Barbara Doll, the art teacher at Mt Dora High School, at the reception last night. I had wanted to meet her for a long time. She was excited about possibly teaching mosaics to her students.

I need to let Helen know that Barb has a MFA in CERAMICS. Helen is trying to decide between going straight through to masters work or taking a residency in bronze work.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Here is a photo taken at the Student Show at Mt Dora Center for the Arts. This is my "Blue Moon" sitting right next to Rich Rudden's work!

Happy Compliment.....

I didn't run into Joe at the show but the director said he liked the mosaic vacuum and said..."Every woman would love to have one of those."

Thank You, Pedro 

Here's a great big Thank You to Pedro for sending me a photo of a mosaic car. That was so thoughtful and it gave me great design info. If only Jake would give me a Z car to mosaic...alas...

Thanks again, Pedro and I hope you enjoy the chocolate bunny!

Frog Prince 

This is the project I made in Joe DiFiore’s mosaic class.

It’s really pretty bad. But it acts as a “sampler”. I have referred to it time and time again when I need to remember techniques.

Just looking at it now, I remember how proud I was that I remembered to mosaic the back and sides first…including grouting the back...before starting the front.

The chipped Venetian glass was a prototype for chipping the Bissazza tiles in Butterscotch pot.

Suzy had given me beautiful porcelain blue flowers and I lived in fear of breaking them as the project progressed for 6 weeks.

The design failed but the learning was invaluable.

That makes this piece a keeper. It lives along our driveway between Crystal’s Pot and the Muffler Fountain.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

I didn't do such a red hot job of importing the picture of Joe's guitar. For a better look click here.

My Mosaic Teacher 

Joe DiFiore

Sometimes in life you get a teacher who goes beyond the letter of the lesson and elevates you spiritually. That’s who Joe is to me. I wouldn’t even be working mosaics today if not for him.

The first time I took a mosaic class many years ago, the teacher didn’t like my work…and said so! I was very discouraged. But while that class waited for the grout to cure, she showed us pictures in a mosaic book.

“Here’s one Barb will like,” she snarled…and she was right. I loved it. It was a style of mosaic sculpture and collage that just fascinates me. It was a Joe DiFiore mirror.

Over a year later, I was able to sign up for Joe’s course at the Mt Dora Center for the Arts and it changed my life and my art dramatically.

The piece of garden sculpture I produced for Joe's class was awful, but Joe never said so. I was too busy learning techniques to care much about the design. That piece is my “sampler” and I refer to it when I need to remind myself of how to do a technique. It represented so many firsts:

First time I designed a shape rather than use a ready made form.
First time I learned how mosaic sculpture base was constructed.
First time I saw a grinder.
First time I cut ceramic figurines.
First time I cut tile with a ¼ inch clearance or less.
First time I touched the wheel of the wet saw while it was running.
First time I used charcoal grout.
First time I saw mastic used extensively.
First time I saw mosaics on metal with mastic.
First time I saw a wet band saw. Yikes!
First time I learned to level tiles of differing thickness.
Ditto diamond dremel bits, mesh, edge finish, cleaners, and marketing tips.

Because of Joe DiFiore, I have confidence. That’s the spiritual that goes beyond the mere ceramic of it all. I can stand at my saw and create whatever I want to. You just have to give thanks to God for a teacher who can inspire that kind of confidence.

I say thanks every time I turn on my saw. Amen.

Here is one of Joe's pieces.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker
Listed on Blogwise