Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New England Mosaic Exhibition

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth during these last two weeks. Margaret and I have been busy with the next stage of the New England mosaic exhibition which will be held during September. Check out our revised website to learn more about it.

Even though September seems like a long time away, it's not. Last week we mailed our press packets and already have had an article published on the show in the Somerville Journal.
More recently, I've put on my graphics designer hat and laid out a brochure (which we should get back from the printers any day now) and an exhibition catalog. I'm really excited about the catalog - 40 pages, with full color photos of all the mosaics in the exhibition.
The catalog goes to the printer today so I may start finding some time to get back to mosaic making.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rachel Sager

I know a lot of mosaic artists. Most of us are mosaicists first. Our approach is to create a mosaic which happens to be a work of art (or at least we hope).

From my perspective, Rachel Sager is an artist. Her approach is to creat a work of art which happens to be a mosaic.

These are two of her most recent works which combine wood, stone, and glass (organic, inorganic, and manufactured) in such a wonderful way.

The one above is entitled Wounded Tree II. The one below is called Fool Moon.

The branch in this piece is a Japanese maple. The gold is from a venetian glass necklace that she took apart. The moon is made with pyrite nuggets.
Rachel doesn't have a website - yet. (We're working on that.) But she does have a page in the Rock Star Gallery. Check it out.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Rocks on Mosaic Rocks

Last week we ran out of a few of our standard tumbled gemstones, so we took a trip to one of our rock wholesalers to restock. It's dangerous going to this place. We just can't resist picking up new materials - particularly if they are the perfect size for mosaic tesserae. Here are some of our latest additions to the Mosaic Rocks shop.

(top row)
Citrine Points - These fascinating quartz crystals are capped with an amber colored citrine point.
Tiger Eye Tumbled Gemstones - We found a batch of smaller polished tiger eye stones - and at a lower price! We love these stones.

Tumbled Amazonite - Amazonite has an incredible sea-green/blue color unlike any other stone that we've seen. These stones are fairly small and would look great in a mosaic.

(second row)
Tumbled Mix - A potpourri of colors and shapes. This mix of small tumbled pebbles has a bit of everything.

White Howlite Nuggets - No, this isn't white cheese covered popcorn. But these nuggets are about as white as white can be.

Yellow Jasper - These polished stones are great to work with. Most are long and thin with one side that's flat.

We also have a number of new aragonite clusters to add to the site, and we've replenished our supply of copper nuggets.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another Mosaic Rocker!

Here's Jackie Iskander rocking on in her Mosaic Rocks t-shirt. Check out her website with her stunning mosaics (the precision in her work is incredible).

She also has an on-line journal. It's fun to read about other people's journeys in their mosaic art.
(Would someone please turn off the spigot so that it stops raining in Oklahoma?)


Last month I posted a photo of a marble floor medallion which Ginger Terry just started for a client. Look at what it's turned into!!!!! Metamorphosis

Monday, July 16, 2007

On Boredom

It's been slow going on my Venetian piece. My excuse is that my friend Margaret and I are working hard on putting together the New England Mosaic Exhibition which will take place in September. Our selection committee finished its work and we just notified the artists who will be in the show. (That was fun.) I also notified the artists who didn't make it. (That wasn't fun.)

I'll ramble on about the selection process in a later post. For now, back to Venice.

It's been slow going on my Venetian piece. (I said that already.) I think I'm bored. It's pleasing to see how the mosaic is turning out, but laying the stones for the sky in a random pattern is monotonous. I envy painters who lay down color with a few swoops and swishes of a brush. We mosaic artists must lovingly touch every single piece. Perhaps that is what sets mosaic apart from most other art forms. Margaret made this observation. We touch everything. There's no instrument (like a brush or a chisel) between us and our art.

It's a nice idea, but it doesn't get pieces glued to a substrate any faster - nor does jabbering on a blog.

I can't imagine what it's like to do a monotonous part of large mosaic. That's why the top mosaic artists have their myrmidons to to this work.

(Myrmidon - Teresa Sullivan taught me that word. It's a person who executes without question or scruple a master's commands.)

Perhaps the best mosaic artists find ways to make solid color backgrounds interesting. Some of my favorite mosaics - like Lynne Chinn's Far Red - have so much life and drama in a fairly monochromatic spread of color.

But I'm not looking for drama. My goal is to achieve a sense of serenity where everything just blends together. I think the randomness and color blending achieve that.

Grout rivers in a groutless piece!

Say it isn't so, but it is. One danger of doing this type of work is the unintended creation of a straight line in what should be a patchwork of interlocking pieces. Here are two grout rivers.

I didn't notice them until I looked at the section I was working on from a distance. So I replaced a few pieces to break up the lines. Still, I may need to do more. Now that I know there was a line in those locations, I'll always see it regardless of how I change it.

I like looking at this piece in different light. There's a point in the evening when dusk starts turning into night; the design of St G. just fades away and the entire piece looks like a strange bumpy surface of nothing in particular.

Perhaps boredom isn't so boring after all.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Virginia Gardner - Rock Star

I just added Virginia Gardner to the growing list of Rock Stars in the Rock Star Gallery.

This piece is White Noon and includes an incredible array of materials, including buffalo teeth! Also, those little dots about a third of the way up the piece are Desert Roses.

If White Night dazzled you with its brightness, here's one of her most recent pieces, Earth 1. It, too, contains an assortment of materials including some of the turquoise slabs from Mosaic Rocks.

Virginia says that a workshop with Ilana Shafir & then all day with Emma Biggs at SAMA had a profound influence on her.

A while ago when I first got into mosaics, I frequently surfed the net looking for mosaic artists. One of the first I stumbled on was Virginia's site & I've been following the progression of her work as a mosaicist and artist over the last few years. It's fun to see how we grow and change as we explore different motifs and new materials.

Check out her website at http://virginiamosaics.com/

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sailing (Marcia Hinds)

One of the great joys I get from Mosaic Rocks is the opportunity to meet different artists from all over the country and world. Most are mosaic artists in the traditional sense; however, some have an entirely different orientation.
I love Marcia Hinds' work. She call her paintings "ethereal landscapes" which is a perfect description for the way she sees the world through her art. This woman is not afraid of color and uses it in a way which simply draws you into her work.
Of particular note to mosaic fans - some of her work are mixed media in which she incorporates some traditional and some not-so-traditional pieces of tesserae. This photo is her most recent piece called Sailing. It's definitely not mosaic - but some of her other mixed media pieces come right up to the line between mosaic and other art forms.
Check out her website at http://marciahinds.com/ - A few mixed media pieces are in her "acrylics" section but don't ignore the rest of her site, especially her pastels.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Light & Mood - part 2

This past week with the holiday in the middle threw me off schedule to update the blog. I did find a few hours to work on my Turner-esque piece with some interesting results.

My goal is to create a mosaic with marble in which colors blend with each other to create an impressionistic mood similar to what Turner did with oils and watercolors in his work. The subject is a silhouette San Giorgio Maggiore against the Venetian lagoon and sky. Here's the piece without the sky.

I wanted the water to be colorless. You know, that color on a foggy day or at a particular time of day in which water really has no discernable color - not gray, not white, definitely not blue. So I mixed some grays with white cararra marble - which is also not quite white and not quite gray.

San Giorgio and its surrounding buildings is made with a gray-green marble, separate enough to distinguish it from the water of the lagoon, but similar in tones to make it look ghostly. It's hard to tell where the water ends and the land begins. The tops of the bell tower and the dome progressively get lighter so that they will blend in with the sky.

I started on the sky yesterday using a mixture of light yellow and rose colored marble. The rose stones are close to the horizon representing a setting (or rising) sun. The rest of the sky will be yellow. Here's the result so far.

A side note about photography: Both of the previous pictures were taken at different times of the day. For the first, I placed the mosaic on a black background; the second was placed on a tan background. I cropped out the backgrounds in both. It's interesting to see the difference in the colors. The first has a lot of blue tones in the photograph. The second is more white & gray, closer to how the piece actually looks. Perhaps it's the time of day, perhaps it's the background on which the photo was taken, or perhaps the color changed in the photograph when the yellow was added.

I like the ghostly effect. The piece is really interesting to look at from a distance. Close up is another story. Here's how I am placing the pieces:

Nothing flat here. Each piece is a different height, randomly set. This creates an interesting texture for the piece, but it also increases the exposed surface area of the marble. Not only are you seeing in the tops of the stones, you're also seeing the sides. This creates more color - and more shadow which perhaps confuses our eyes, making them see a blur of color instead of individual stones.

Mosaic Rocks! Summer Clearance - continued
This week some of our pyrite suns and polished ammonites are looking to be adopted and hoping to find a place in a great mosaic. The suns aren't the most glamorous, but they are fun and unusual. The ammonites are fairly small (about 1-2" across) and do sit flat, although they are thicker than most tesserae with their ends thicker than the spiral section.
You can see the suns which are on sale here and the ammonites here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Dance (Julie Dilling)

I am now the proud owner of Julie Dilling's The Dance. It's difficult to photograph this piece so that you can see the red background with the slightly raised slivers of stained glass that make up the grasses - but it's true beauty is revealed when light comes from behind.

Here's what Julie says about the mosaic:

The background is L'Opio. The grass is stained glass cut in 3/8, then cut in 1/3 and laid on its side. The edge are seed beads.

My inspiration came from a recent scuba trip to Indonesia. Most of the coral and sponges were reds and oranges - hence the red background. In the shallow areas were the turtle grasses that seem to dance in the current with the sunlight glittering on them. That's why I wanted the grass to be transparent. I have had "The Dance" sitting in the window at my house so the sun made the grasses sparkle.

Julie is a co-owner of Tesserae Mosaic Studio in Plano, Texas.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mosaic Rocks! Summer Clearance

We plan to clean up the rock pile around here to make way for some new things which will be coming in the fall. So we just added a Clearance section to our website.

We love books, and we especially love mosaic books. But who can possibly compete with places like Amazon? This week we're clearing out our stock of books by offering them at a 50% discount - lower than Amazon's prices!!!!

We also have quite a few copies of Mosaic Art 2005 CD, so we're putting them on sale just for the summer at a great price.

Each week we will add something new to the website's clearance section. Check back to see what's new.

Mosaic Rocks! rocks find a home

We love to see our rocks find a home in a mosaic, and (of course) Sophie never fails to showcase rocks in such creative ways. This "mini mosaic" has our new Sodalite stones, red calcite, and an aragonite cluster.
Send us photos of your latest mosaics using our stones & we'll showcase them on this blog.