Tag Archives | wood

My last hurrah with stained glass (at least for a while)

This is it folks. The last stained-glass-only mosaic I intend to do for a good long while. Now it’s on to lots of quality time spent with my hammer and hardie. I’ve started to get back into the swing of things (get it? swing? like you swing a hammer? sorry, that was lame) with the Doodle Bug mosaic – just a quickie with smalti and marble – and then the plan is to FINALLY finish the mosaic I started way back during the Sonia King workshop.

But I digress. What I really want to show you is this new plate I’ve made. It’s stained glass (a very dark translucent grey fading to an opaque green/black combo) with hints of mirror scattered throughout. I like the darkness of it and how much it contrasts with the last leaf plate I did. The mirror was provided by a fellow tree-hugger, who found a box of broken mirror sitting on the side of the road and knew I was just the person to put it to good use. And the plate is, of course, a thrift store find.

So, um, here it is!

stained glass mosaic on wood leaf plate

I was super close to running out of glass on this one! No room for error.

close-up of stained glass mosaic leaf plate

Zoom in!

 

1

Sometimes you just need to step away

Thank goodness for fresh eyes!

Thank goodness for fresh eyes!

This piece – done on a leaf-shaped wood plate that was handmade in Haiti – is another one where I was working on my crazy paving and blending colours. The end result is nothing like I had originally envisioned. My initial idea was to use three colours (the green and blue that you see here, plus a nice yellow that was neither too loud nor too muted) and make them radiate out from the centre of the leaf – the middle / vein would be blue, moving to green, and finally to yellow at the edges. In my head it looked oh so lovely.

But by the time I had started to transition from the blue to the green, it became obvious that there wasn’t going to be any room left to fade to yellow. Hmmmpf. Back to the drawing board. New idea: bring in the yellow at the top and fade it out as you move down the leaf. Yes, that would work. But in this configuration, the yellow now looked too harsh. Sigh. I rummaged through my glass stash half-heartedly, but I was feeling pretty stuck. Luckily, it was time to go home to Kitchener for Christmas and I was forced to step away for a few days.

Over Christmas break, I kept mulling over different options in my head.  I kept coming back to this pink glass I had seen while rooting through my bins. Once back in Ottawa, I hauled out the pink glass, held it up against the blue and green sections of the plate and my gut said yes, this is the one. The green and white swirls in the pink glass were just what I needed to help transition between it and the green glass I was already using.

This is the first time that I’ve really had to step away from a mosaic in order to come back at it with fresh eyes, and it’s funny how something so simple can be all that’s standing between you and the way forward. It’s definitely a lesson I will remember in the future, as I’m sure this won’t be the last time I need to do it.

PS This piece is available over in my Etsy shop if you’re so inclined…

Here's a better view of that pink with the hints of green and white

Here’s a better view of that pink with the hints of green and white

 

1

Decluttering

When I first saw this plate at the thrift store, I knew immediately that it had the potential to be a stunning mosaic. I slapped a few coats of varnish on it, but once I saw it all shiny and cleaned up, I just couldn’t bring myself to cover it in bits of glass and grout. It looked so lovely naked. So I set it out on our coffee table and there it stayed for quite a few months.

Then spring rolled around and I was overcome with the urge to [attempt to] declutter our 1-bedroom apartment. In one swift movement, I grabbed the plate, marched it into my new little mosaic nook, got out my bins of glass, and went to work. It actually didn’t take as long as I anticipated to get the pieces glued down, but once I was done I realized I had run out of grout.

So one weekend, after dropping Dexter off at the groomer’s, I found myself with four hours to kill. The perfect opportunity to pop over to the hardware store. Do you know how long it took me to get there and back (by bus)? About 2 hours. Wanna know how much of that time was actually spent in the store? Roughly 15 minutes. Yah. Saturday bus service in Ottawa is not super efficient, to say the least. Anyway, I got my grout (and listened to quite a few podcasts of The Current in the process) and was finally able to put the finishing touches on this bad boy.

1

A bevy of plates

One of the many “unique” garage sale finds peppered throughout our apartment is a plant pot that we creatively call our “German pot”, probably because it has a “Made in Germany” sticker on it (yes, our creative genius never ceases to amaze me). When my little Book of Inspiration failed me while I was trying to dream up a design for one of the many acacia charger plates I had waiting in the wings, our trusty German pot stepped up to the plate (so to speak) and served as my inspiration. Though the pot itself is white with green swirls, I chose purple and clear glass for this project because, well, because it was what I had in stock! Actually though, I think it does look nice against the colour of the wood.

Because the German pot-inspired plate came together fairly quickly, I decided to move on to another plate right away. Just a simple green flower (I can’t tell you how much I adore that green glass) set in a black background – not much to comment on, but I will say that the green ‘pops’ a lot more in person.

And then, because I was on a roll, I did this third plate. I really drew my inspiration from the grain of the wood. And I am happy to report that my stockpile of red glass is finally down to a manageable size. Actually, my entire glass supply is starting to run a bit low – I think a trip to the glass store may be in order soon, especially now that it’s nice out and I can bike over (which is much better than traipsing through a blizzard, but not quite as stereotypically Canadian).

 

0

A broken mirror resurrected

This piece has been done for forever, but I’m only just getting around to posting it because I’ve only just gotten around to taking a picture of it. Why, you ask? Well, 2 reasons: (1) I’m lazy / forgetful and (2) do you know how hard it is to photograph mirrors?? I can’t seem to get a good picture inside because the flash totally buggers things up, but today was a lovely sunny day so I was able to take this guy outside and snap some shots. And yes, those are telephone wires in the reflection. Sorry.

I guess one interesting tidbit about this plate is that the mirror was found in the trash. Yes, the trash. The neighbourhood where I live is overrun with students and at the end of each semester it seems that the dumpsters just overflow with perfectly good stuff they’re throwing out as they move back home to live with mummy and daddy for the summer. As my primary school librarian used to say in a very exasperated tone, “Kids, kids, kids…”

Anyway, one day I got home from work and there was this large mirror just sitting beside the dumpster, which I can see from my living room window (yes, it’s all quite scenic). Granted, it was a little bit chipped here and there, but for the most part it was in good shape. I thought to myself, “Julie, there’s a mosaic in that mirror.” So I grabbed an empty cereal box and my partner (dumpster diving is always more fun in pairs) and out we went. Of course, the mirror was too big to fit in the cereal box so we set about breaking it up, which was much easier said than done in the end-of-winter melting snow and mud (although there was something quite satisfying about stomping on the glass to break it).

And that’s how this plate came to be. It’s just one of the many treasures we’ve found in the trash here in Ottawa. Maybe I’ll tell you about our other finds sometime…like when I’ve got no mosaics to blog about yet have an urge to write.

 

0

Guilty as “charged”

Keeping my glass supplies stocked has never really been a problem thanks to my mom and her love of stained glass. But with over 500 km separating us now (538 km, to be exact – thank you, Google maps), it’s been a wee bit tougher to replenish my stock on a regular basis. While I’m not exactly running low on glass, my colour selection is dwindling. So one weekend a few months ago I decided to venture out into the great white Ottawa winter and hit the local glass store.

Now, when I say “great white Ottawa winter”, that’s exactly what I mean. The day my partner and I chose for our little adventure turned out to coincide with a healthy dump of snow on our nation’s capital. But like the good Canadians we are, we didn’t turn back. Oh no, we kept going, slowly slogging through the mounds of freshly fallen snow. Of course we had to stop en route at a diner to fuel up with a greasy breakfast first, after which our eyes glazed over and we quickly fell into a grease- and carb-induced torpor. I think that may have been a good thing, because it meant that we didn’t think too much about our 6 km trek through the snowy (and very much unshovelled) streets of Ottawa.

Once we arrived at the glass store, I inexplicably started feeling a little self-conscious, like an outsider. I didn’t know where the scrap bin was and after quickly surveying the shop floor, I started rummaging through what I thought was the scrap bin, which, instead of the irregular scraps I had been expecting, contained neat little bundles of perfectly square glass. I picked out a couple bundles, plus a whole discounted sheet of glass with a chipped corner. When I took them up to pay, I decided that we hadn’t walked those 6 km for nothing and I swallowed my pride and asked if that was the only scrap bin they had. The guy working, bless his soul, didn’t laugh at my ignorance and instead kindly pointed me in the direction of the real scrap bin. I donned some of the holey gloves provided and sorted through pounds and pounds of scrap. Ah yes, that was the good stuff – so many colours and irregular shapes and sizes! I was happier than a chipmunk in a peanut butter jar.

All this to say that some of the glass I picked up that blizzardy day was used for the 2 acacia charger plates seen below – my first projects with bought glass. The designs, by the way, were conceived as doodles while I was daydreaming in French class (and later simplified as I laid them out on the plates, because I inevitably bite off more than I can chew when I’m coming up with an idea for a design).

0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes