When I made this mirror, I kind of pictured a river or something in my head. But when I showed the finished piece to my partner, the first thing she said was that it reminded her of the colours on the Guatemalan flag. Funny how people can see such wildly different things in such a simple design, eh?
The birds! They’re everywhere! Do you find that lately? It feels like birds are popping up on t-shirts, baby shower invites, bedsheets, and microblogging websites. And now they can be found in my mosaics too!
This cute little fella was inspired by the recent bird fad, and you’ll probably never guess what I used as the base for this piece, so I’ll just come right out and tell you: an old steak plate that I found at the thrift store! I got my daddy to rout it out for me, and then I sealed it up. One of these days, when I have a studio, I would like to own a router. Oh the things I could do…! I have big plans for my future router, yes I do…
Every time I go home to Kitchener to visit my family, my mom unfailingly leaves a pile of her already-read magazines on my old dresser for me to thumb through. I use them for 2 things: (1) to find new recipes and (2) to clip out little swatches of inspiration from ads or stories about the top 10 <choose 1 or more: couches, dresses, dinnerware, throw pillows> that you need to have for <insert current year>. That’s where the inspiration for this mirror was drawn – some pattern that I tore out of a Chatelaine, most probably (I likely scored a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe too!). I think it was originally cherry blossoms, which, in a random stream of thoughts, makes me think of that Andrews Sisters song, “I’ll be with you in apple blossom time.” (Although I’m quite partial to “Bei Mir Bist Du Shoen.”) And no, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have both of those songs on my iPod. In fact, I have the whole “Best of…” album. So there!
I’d never done a mosaic on a curved surface until this little tealight holder. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. All I had to do was restrict myself to smaller, longer pieces and I was away to the races. The pattern reminds me a bit of a sound visualization. Or the line on a heart monitor. Take your pick.
Oh, and do you like the new photo style? I found a great white sheet at the thrift store to use as my background, and the sun came out just as I was taking this picture. Talk about good timing!
This table was done as a commission for a dear friend. The design is the (old) logo of a nonprofit in Thunder Bay – the Anishnabek of the Gitchi Gami (who, incidentally, do really amazing work).
This was a really great project to work on for a few reasons. First, I love that the mosaic has meaning that goes beyond that “hey, this would look nice” approach that I usually take with my work. That deeper sense of purpose really drove me throughout this project. Second, and this one is far more superficial, it was such a treat to work with glass that wasn’t out of the scrap bin. Especially the blue. I’m obsessed with that blue. I’m not used to having such freedom when it comes to choosing colours, but the super helpful folks at Northern Art Glass were really patient with me as I pulled glass sample after glass sample off the shelves (and trust me, their patience is no small feat given how indecisive I am!). And third, it was really nice to be able to work on a larger project again – I’d been itching to do one for quite some time and this was my chance!
The table took a lot longer than I anticipated, partly because of the prep work involved before starting to glue the pieces down (filling grooves in the wood, sanding, painting), and partly because the style of the mosaic is a fairly big departure from what I usually do. Normally I try to cut as little as possible, which means my mosaics tend to take on a life of their own as they develop, but with this particular table I had to cut nearly every single piece. I don’t think I achieved that more whimsical and random feeling that most of my mosaics have, but I think in this case it works. This project was definitely a challenge, but a welcome one, and I feel pretty honoured to have been able to work on such a special mosaic.
It took me a long time to find inspiration for this plate, which is funny because I absolutely adore the plate itself (which was found at, yep, you guessed it, the thrift store down the road). I think it was the edges that threw me off – I didn’t want the design to be too busy and compete with the shape of the plate. In the end, the idea for the design came from some random magazine clipping I had pasted in my Book of Inspiration. I’m not sure what kind of flower it is, but it kinda reminds me of a thistle. Or a sort of floral-inspired microphone.
This plate was one of the ones snapped up at the Sandy Hill craft sale a few months ago. It was bought by a lovely couple as a Christmas gift for their daughter. I think it’s kind of fun to imagine the ‘lives’ of my mosaics after they leave my hands. Did she like it? Where did she put it? Is it being used to hold keys or candles or yummy little candies, or is it being displayed like art?
As soon as I found these coasters at my neighbourhood thrift store, I knew what I was going to do with them. I had been wanting to do something ‘citrusy’ for quite some time, so when I saw that the coasters were already segmented into little wedges, visions of limes and oranges and grapefruits (and the odd sugar-plum) danced in my head. The only tough part was deciding on the colours. And the grout. I was actually originally planning on grouting them in a dark charcoal, but I’m super glad I talked myself into doing them white. It’s oh-so-much more citrusy. And I do love citrus.
Good news: I finally took the plunge and opened up my very own Etsy shop!
If you haven’t heard, it’s the new coolest place to spend your hard-earned money :-)
And yes, the title for this post was inspired by one of my fave Flight of the Conchords songs:
Remember the ashtray I mosaicked? The one that was done using the little bits and pieces of cuts gone wrong? Well, those bad cuts were because of this vase. I don’t know what it was (likely a combination of my lack of technique and unrealistically thin strips of glass), but the glass just wouldn’t cut in a straight line. Every time I broke it, the glass would veer off at the end, leaving me with a dagger-sharp point rather than a right angle.
I remember when my partner came home with this vase I thought, “Good lord, what am I going to do with the top of that?” I was nervous just thinking about it. The initial plan was to cover everything in strips of glass, but thankfully my partner reined in my ambition and suggested I leave the top naked. I will admit to being completely skeptical until the moment I grouted it. Once I cleaned it up, however, I was glad for her voice of reason.
I think the finished product kind of reminds me of one of those wicker-covered wine jugs. Or am I crazy? (Uh, that’s a rhetorical question – no need to answer…)