Tag Archives | data viz

Chord diagram comes full circle

I’m a tad late in sharing this little bit of news, but hey, better late than never. OK, so you remember that chord diagram mosaic that I made while I was in California? Well, because it sold before I had even finished making it (yay!), I hadn’t really given it much thought after handing it off to its new owner. Out of sight, out of mind.

So imagine my surprise, then, when one day I opened my inbox only to find an email from the guy who actually created the software (Circos) that makes those lovely chord diagrams. He had stumbled upon my mosaic while cruising the interwebs and wanted to tell me that he loved it. I was positively giddy! It was kind of like getting an email from a rockstar. A nerdy sciency one. It was a total day-maker…probably even a week-maker!

We had a brief back and forth about the intersection of art and science (one of the themes I’d like to explore in more depth as I move forward in my mosaic work). It turns out he’s a firm believer in putting art in science and vice versa, which is kind of obvious when you look at the beauty of the diagrams his software creates. I suggested he check out a student-run journal from the University of Ottawa called Art & Science Journal … you guys should check it out too! It’s chock full of artsy sciency inspiration.

And then, get this: he put a picture of my mosaic on the rotating masthead of his website! EEEEEEEEEE!

omg omg omg (sorry, I'm getting excited all over again!)

omg omg omg (sorry, I’m getting excited all over again!)

 

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Artist, know thyself

Over the past year or so, I’ve been slowly expanding my mosaic horizons – taking classes as the opportunities present themselves and exploring new tools and materials. Having worked with stained glass for so long, it’s been really nice to branch about and try new things. I have discovered that I love smalti and natural stone, especially when I use my hammer and hardie to cut it, but I have also discovered that I don’t particularly care for working with vitreous tile or using thinset directly as my adhesive (oh Weldbond, how I love thee).

At first I was a bit disappointed in myself for these new-found dislikes. I mean, if I’m an aspiring mosaic artist (craftsperson? artisan? still need to sort that one out…), shouldn’t I love it all? But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that it’s all just part of finding my ‘voice’ and knowing myself. I’m glad I’ve dabbled in vitreous tile and thinset, because who knows when a project will come up where they’re just the material that I need. They’re in my repertoire now, but they won’t be my trusted or beloved go-to items.

And with that, I give you the first mosaic (and hopefully the last, at least for a good long while) that I have done with vitreous tile. The design is based on a kind of data visualization called a chord diagram, which I think is used a lot (but not exclusively) in genetics. Truth be told, I don’t really know much about the technical side of graphs and data vizzes (or really how to read most of them), but I do enjoy them from a purely aesthetic perspective.

Sadly, there were a lot of leftover tiles from this project… *sigh*

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