In progress: Feathers

Feathers mosaic on Wedi in process, left side

Mosaic sketch on Wedi board

Full sheet of Wedi board (3’x5′) with the sketch in chalk. Vertical lines represent the position of struts in the wall, where the mosaic will be anchored

This is my first mosaic project on Wedi board, which is a foam-core cement board that’s waterproof and much lighter than plywood. Wedi is a German company with few Canadian retailers, but enough of us Toronto mosaicists blathered on about it to the lovely couple that owns GlassMosaicCanada that they started carrying it a few months ago. So I can now buy it close to home.

It was important to find a lightweight substrate for this mosaic because of the size of the project. Even on Wedi, the weight of all the faux-marble, glass and mortar is considerable, so I designed the piece in two parts to be more manageable in handling and hanging. The curvilinear shape is also made possible mainly thanks to Wedi, which can be easily cut using just a utility knife.

Wall for mosaic

The colour is actually a lot more insane intense than this picture makes it seem

Feathers is a gift for my mother’s 50th birthday, intended to add much more va-va-voom to this crazy-coloured accent wall in my parents’ house than its current assortment of paintings imparts.

The design went through a few iterations (below), following requests that the two shapes fly apart rather than curve around each other, then flip open towards the top, then basically be made more like feathers. So hence the final design and title.

The materials used are all salvaged tile (mostly from the same scrap tile haul that supplied the materials for our backsplash), with the exception of the lime-green tesserae I bought to match the wall. This time I opted not to use the wet saw but to smash or nip the tiles into irregular chunks.

Continue reading » » »

Recently completed projects: Black, White & Red

I spent the last few weeks focused on making new mosaics for the DECA fair, which is only a couple of weeks away now and will be the first ever exhibition of Fragmentalist mosaics. Much excitement!

The great thing about setting out to make as many new pieces as possible in a short time period is that so many ideas jotted down, sketched out and imagined over the years suddenly get used and brought to life.

Nearly five years ago, after completing my first mosaic – an abstract pattern of two contrasting colours, a dark brown and a pale beige – I thought: “it would be really cool to try out the same idea in pure black and white with red grout. That could be mind-blowing.”

And so here it is, manifest reality of black, white and red. It’s pretty awesome.

Mosaic mirror frame with abstract black & white design and red groutMosaic mirror frame with abstract black & white design and red grout

Continue reading » » »

In progress: starfish mirror

This is the starfish mirror frame that I’ve been working on for about six months now. That’s both because it’s pretty large (2.5 ft x 2.5 ft) and because I could only find a couple of hours a week to spend on it, when the kids were in bed and the chores were done and I still had some energy left. I’m really excited to have it completed over the next couple of weeks now that an office job no longer takes up eight hours of my day. This thing is going to be tremendous.

Large square mirror frame with a mosaic of starfishes in red and purple

The starfish mirror frame in progress

The main idea behind this design is that of contrasting the organic starfish shapes with the geometrically regular rippling waves of the background. I wanted each starfish shape to be unique and as realistic-looking as possible. The shapes were all drawn from photos, and it took a few tries to figure out a tiling pattern that would accurately represent the pentaradial surface patterns of starfish while requiring minimal tile cutting – i.e. one that would be based on whole or half-tiles only and not, for example, on triangles or very narrow wedges.

I also enjoy exploring the interplay of varying tile textures and the different effects they have on the overall appearance of the mosaic as the viewing angle or the light changes Рhence the alternating iridescent and plain white curves of the background. Mmmmm Рcurves. I love tiling curves. Expressing  a smooth sinuous shape with small square straight-edged tiles is kind of like integration, and a brush with infinity.

Continue reading » » »