Tag Archives | cinca

Proclaim your love with a semicolon

I am super late in posting this commission that I did waaaaay back in the summer. Life just kind of took over…

Anyway, some friends approached me about creating a special mosaic for them and I was only too happy to oblige. Why a semicolon, you ask? Because these two lovely ladies found love with the help of a shared appreciation for a well-placed semicolon. Not joking! And I completely understand—good grammar is sexy, people (not to mention in short supply these days)!

This project was a fun one. My favourite part is the little Pride rainbow beside the typeset letter. I have a few more of these stamps squirrelled away in my stash, and I’ve got some ideas of how to use them (still typographic in design, but perhaps a bit more abstract). Now I just need to tear myself away from my climate change work to make it happen! Too many ideas, too little time.

Semicolon mosaic by Julie Sperling

Fun with semicolons! 12.75″ x 9.25″ (2014) — cinca, ceramic tile, smalti, typeset letter

Semicolon mosaic -- lgbtq rainbow typeset letter

My favourite little detail: semicolon pride!

 

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Mosaic workout challenge, week 18: Redux (again)

We got a second catch-up / do-over week. I was both hoping for and dreading this. While a catch-up week would allow me to go back and do the one challenge I missed while I was in Chicago, that particular missed challenge—copying a non-mosaic work of art (or part thereof)—was the only one that I would’ve been perfectly happy to never have to do. Anyway, here’s the skinny.

Title: Reasonable facsimile of Picasso’s camel sketch

Size: 6″ x 6″

Materials: Cinca

How long did it take to complete? About 2.5 hours

Thoughts: I was really hoping I’d get to miss the challenge where we had to copy a non-mosaic artist’s work… Damn catch-up weeks! It’s Thanksgiving up here in Canada and I’m spending an extra long weekend away in Montreal, so I had to be pretty strategic in terms of what I chose to replicate. As with other weeks when I’ve been pressed for time, I decided to maximize the negative space and went with one of Picasso’s line drawings (a camel). This also meant that I could keep the materials really simple (just cinca, in this case) and didn’t have to pack much—just a few tiles, my tweezers, nippers, and a bottle of glue. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. There are some issues with the keystoning in parts, but heck, I was on vacation and wasn’t being too exacting. Had I had more time and access to all my materials, I really would have liked to have tried my hand at interpreting a Rothko. Maybe I’ll save that for a self-imposed challenge on a rainy day…

Pablo Picasso's sketch of a camel

Pablo Picasso’s sketch of a camel

My mosaic rendition of Picasso's camel

My mosaic rendition of Picasso’s camel

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Mosaic workout challenge, week 16: The swept floor

This week’s challenge—“The Swept Floor“—was courtesy of Margo Anton and the rules were simple: use only scraps and don’t cut any of it (use it how you discarded it).

"Glacial till" - made entirely of scraps from previous projects

“Glacial till” – made entirely of scraps from previous projects

Title: “Glacial till”

Size: 4.25″ x 4.25″

Materials: Stone, cinca, glass, quartz, shale, marble

How long did it take to complete? About 2 hours

Thoughts: Considering I got my start in mosaics using glass scrap and rarely cutting anything, this week was surprisingly challenging. I had been processing a bunch of material recently for my next non-challenge mosaic, so I saved all the offcuts to use for this piece. I just kind of threw myself into this without a game plan and ended up working in sections that were determined by material and the shape of the pieces. There are groups of tesserae in this mosaic that I really love in terms of how they play off of / relate to one another, but overall I’m not crazy about the piece. I’m finding that when I don’t put any thought into the design beforehand, the results are a crapshoot, with me ending up unsatisfied more often than not. While I don’t usually (ever?) make a detailed sketch, I do tend to mull things over for a good while before diving in. These challenges are definitely reinforcing the parts of my practice that are essential for me.

glacial till - angle

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Mosaic workout challenge, week 15: String theory

Fifteen weeks down, five to go. I’m definitely starting to feel the fatigue. I’ve recovered from the Verdiano Marzi workshop, but now I’m elbows deep in prepping for my next climate change mosaic, so I can feel my interest in these challenges waning as I embark on exciting new projects. But I will not give up! I’ve come this far, might as well finish (and I am still learning stuff, so it’s definitely not a waste of time).

Week 15’s prompt—“string theory”—was from Kelley Knickerbocker. We had to doodle a line and then use tesserae to define the negative space of the line. It was a great challenge and much harder than I initially thought it would be!

"Metropolis" (6" x 4.25"), shale, cinca, stone, flint, coal

“Metropolis” (6″ x 4.25″), shale, cinca, stone, flint, coal

Title: “Metropolis” (note: differs from the name submitted to IMA, which was done in a hurry…I later exercised my right to a sober second thought)

Size: 6″ x 4.25″

Materials: Stone, cinca, coal, shale, flint

How long did it take to complete? About 2.5 hours (and another 2.5 hours for the one I did and then promptly threw in the garbage)

Thoughts: I had some trouble this week because, while I loved the challenge prompt, none of my materials were really speaking to me. Eventually I just grabbed a few random jars from my shelf and dove in head first. That attempt was so bad that I couldn’t bring myself to submit it, even though I know that there is no pressure to create a masterpiece in these challenges and that there are really no expectations other than to spend some time in the studio. Yes, it was that bad: the materials were wrong, the colours were off, the doodled line was wonky…*sigh* So I tried again, and the second attempt was a huge improvement on the first one. Had I not been under the gun to finish this in a hurry (I started on Sunday at 2pm), I would’ve spent a lot more time tapering the ends of the lines so they didn’t end so abruptly.

I learned two things this week, both completely unrelated to the challenge prompt. First, I learned that I really need to wait until I “feel it” before I start. If I force myself to just crank something out, chances are the results will be terrible. It is not unusual for me to leave a blank substrate and some half-chopped piles of materials on my table for a few days (or even weeks) while I putter and ponder until I’ve got it straight in my head. That is how I work and this challenge reinforced that I should do what works for me, even if it sometimes feels like I’m wasting time. Second, I learned what it feels like to create a complete flop and to recognize that and be ok with it going straight into the garbage.

Tough to capture the varying textures and heights in a photo

Tough to capture the varying textures and heights in a photo

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Getting prepped for my first Urban Craft appearance

urban craft - march 15

I’ve been making a number of smaller mosaics lately in preparation for my first Urban Craft appearance (March 15, 10am-3pm at the Glebe Community Centre). It’s been fun to use up some bits of material that have been hanging around my shelves for way too long and and also to tinker with styles I don’t usually use. But while there’s a certain satisfaction to being able to complete one of these little mosaics in a single sitting, I will admit that I am itching to really sink my teeth into a bigger project now.

The materials used in these little pieces are quite varied. There’s unglazed porcelain, smalti, bits of skateboard, a typeset letter, sea pottery (or at least I assume that’s what it is) that friends brought back from Bermuda for me, marble, bits of one of my favourite plates dating back to my student days (the green stuff), ceramic tiles, local stone (of course!), a chunk of glass courtesy of the local glassblowing workshop‘s discard pile, and even rocks rescued from one of those zen fountains that was destined for the trash.

It’s been interesting to hear what people see in some of them. The one with the salmon-coloured tile has reminded people of waterfowl, aquatic dinosaurs, bacon (!), muscle, and a seam in the earth. The one with the bits of skateboard has elicited comparisons to a roadmap / crossroads, chromosomes, and neurons. Someone saw a guitar in the one with the glass chunk, and people who commented on the one with the green ceramic have unanimously said it reminds them of seaweed.

Not much else to say about these pieces, so just enjoy the pictures below! And come to Urban Craft if you’re in Ottawa on March 15!

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