Mosaic workout challenge, week 7: Home

Man, these theme challenges appear to be my Achilles heel! Give me technical or materials-based challenges any day. When I saw the theme for this week—Home—my initial thought was “Awwww fiddlesticks” (well, in all honesty, it might have been just a wee bit cruder than that). So many possibilities. So much thinking to do. Needless to say, I was paralyzed for several days, but in the end it all came together (somehow!). Anyway, let’s get to the show and tell!

"Home range" -- layered spray paint, marble, tile

“Home range” — layered spray paint, marble, tile

Title: “Home range”

Size: 6″ x 6″

Materials: Layered paint from a local Ottawa graffiti wall, marble, scavenged tile that had fallen off a shop front in Kensington Market (Toronto, ON)

How long did it take to complete? Far longer than it should have (5 hours?), considering a big portion of it is one piece is layered paint.

Thoughts: I continue to struggle with the themed challenges, and while I’d like to think that by the end I will have gotten at least a bit more comfortable with them, I fear I may only improve my ability to BS my way through them… This week’s mosaic is the product of a series of very tenuously linked thoughts and a few happy accidents. My initial idea was to use building materials like brick, glass, and maybe some nails or something. But I had already used brick in a few earlier challenges and it kind of felt like taking the easy way out. So I turned my mind to the more abstract, touchy-feely meanings of “home.” Lots of ideas, but no clue how to turn those into something tangible (on a 6″ x 6″ substrate, no less!).

Eventually I started thinking about how “home” has so many layers of meaning to it. It’s different for everyone and our notion of “home” often changes over time. Somehow, my mind then jumped from layers of meaning to physical layers, and I started thinking of the layers of paint that must build up over time as houses change owners and owners change their personal tastes and styles. This reminded me that I had some chunks of layered spray paint that I picked up at the local graffiti wall—remnants of artworks past. Perfect, I had my main material! While cutting it up into tesserae (used for the ‘clouds’ of this mosaic), I was really drawn to the rough jagged edges of the paint chunks. When I set one of the edges on my board to contemplate it, I noticed that it looked a bit like a mountain range, and thus “Home range” was born. So, through many twists and turns, I finally created what “home” means to me—it’s not just my dwelling, but also the landscape I inhabit and the spaces I move through. And this concept is where the name of the piece comes from, as a “home range”, in ecological terms, is an area in which an animal lives and travels.

A close-up of the tesserae I cut out of the slab of layered spray paint

A close-up of the tesserae I cut out of the slab of layered spray paint

Check out the rugged edge of the slab o' paint!

Check out the rugged edge of the slab o’ paint!

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6 Responses to Mosaic workout challenge, week 7: Home

  1. elizwhit July 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    I love watching your challenges and have thought to do this also to get the creative juices flowing……I might just try to do your challenges my way
    and see what comes of it….thanks Julie!

  2. Aparna July 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    I can see how this would be a hard one! Your integration of the notion of layers works beautifully, though, and I especially love the way you’ve integrated actual layers of paint into the texture of your piece – works beautifully!

  3. sjmcclelland July 29, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    This may be one of my favourite pieces of yours (so hard to choose) – the layered paint adds great texture and colour!

  4. Helen Miles Mosaics August 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    These challenges are such a good idea. I am impressed that you are keeping up with them. This one is so beautiful. Wow! :)

    • jmsperling August 6, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      They really are a great idea, Helen – I’m so glad the IMA is organizing them. I’m actually surprised I haven’t missed any yet, although I know there are one or two that I will likely miss in August, which has me kinda bummed. Oh well!

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