On warm-ups, playtime, and palate cleansers

"Thaw" mosaic by Julie Sperling
“Thaw” (2013) – scavenged safety glass, stone, smalti, cinca

I have recently discovered that I work better after warming up. I’ve always known that it takes me a while to get into the groove with other things, especially with sports, and even with writing; however, I had never even considered that this might also be true of mosaics. Well, after deciding that I would try to always have two projects on the go – a small one (to tinker around and have fun with) and a larger one – I’ve discovered that I work best when I lay down a few lines on my small piece before diving into the big one. Who knew?!

These smaller mosaics are also great for just playing around and experimenting with different materials or styles. It’s OK if I don’t like the outcome, because I haven’t invested too much time and/or too many materials in them. They’re also great ‘palate cleansers’ between bigger projects, perfect for helping me shift gears (as was the case with “Harvest”). There’s also the added bonus of having something – albeit a small something – to show for my work more often, which works well with my results-oriented personality.

I’m calling my most recent warm-up / playtime mosaic “Thaw”. I had been wanting to experiment with the safety glass that my mom scavenged from a bus shelter for me (best Christmas present ever!) since, well, Christmas, so that’s where the palette started. I also had a tiny bit of clear-ish smalti left over from the Mississippi project, so I grabbed that, and some really white stone tile I got from the ReStore (no idea if it’s natural or man-made, but I’m leaning toward the latter). And then I decided to toss in some cinca, just for kicks. The white stone was super crumbly and cut terribly – I was thankful that I tried it out on a small piece before committing myself to using it in a big piece. I may actually never use it again.

Anyway, I’m really digging this new way of working. So three cheers for warm-ups, playtime, and palate cleansers!

Close up of "Thaw" - mosaic by Julie Sperling
Zoom in on “Thaw”


Julie, your mosaics are beautiful. My brother, Wolf, works with your dad and he sent me a link to your blog. I’m so glad he did…although my art is very different (fibre art, art journalling and photography) I’ve always loved mosaics and it’s great to look at and enjoy something so wonderful.

Thank you, Linda! Funny, you’ve always loved mosaics and I’ve always really appreciated fibre arts (but have absolutely no talent for them). Thanks for checking out my site! :-)

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