Tag Archives | schnauzer

Mosaic workout challenge, week 11: Making copies

This week’s prompt was so terrifying that I nearly bailed. We were supposed to find a mosaic by another artist that we loved and reproduce a small part of it. Yikes. Oh, and of course I was short on time again. But instead of bailing, I had a Tim Gunn moment, modified the prompt, and made it work for me. You might call that cheating, but I prefer “creatively bending the rules.” This is how it all went down…

Title: “Favourite spot”

Size: 4.25″ x 6″

Materials: Smalti, glass rods, stained glass

How long did it take to complete? About two hours

Thoughts: I just couldn’t bring myself to copy someone else’s work (especially if I had to post a picture of it after)—so intimidating!—so I modified the challenge slightly and instead made a mosaic in the style of an artist whose work I adore. I drew my inspiration from Luca Barberini‘s Via di Roma 136 series, which I have long admired. What makes these mosaics so appealing to me is the way Barberini conveys so much life and character with just a few perfectly imperfect tesserae. I love his whimsical glimpses into the everyday. Now, ever since these challenges started, R has had her fingers crossed for a portraiture challenge (PLEASE NO!!!) and she keeps joking with me that I should do a portrait of our miniature schnauzer, Dexter. While a realistic portrait of dear ol’ Dex is firmly outside my current (and probably even future) abilities, I decided that perhaps I could render his likeness à la Barberini and score some major points with R. And while it’s clear that I am no Luca Barberini, I did try to channel his simplicity and ease, and was surprised by how much you can communicate or suggest just with a few pieces of glass.

"Favourite spot" -- our dog Dex, immortalized in mosaic (he couldn't care less, he only has eyes for the fire hydrant)

“Favourite spot” — our dog Dex, immortalized in mosaic (he couldn’t care less, he only has eyes for the fire hydrant)


Dexter approves!

Dexter approves!





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.


A lazy post…

OK, I’m going to kill 4 mosaics with one post. All these pieces were done on small plates I picked up the day before we went to get our dog, Dexter (yes, the one that ate the chokecherries).

We had rented a car because the shelter we were getting Dex from was located on the outskirts of Montreal. (Side note for anyone interested in adopting a dog: Animatch, the shelter where we got Dexter, does absolutely amazing work.) Since we rarely have a car in our possession (which is actually fine by us), we took the opportunity to go pick up some heavier pantry staples at the store. We also picked up a watermelon. A small word of advice: don’t put a watermelon in the trunk of your car. The sounds it makes rolling around back there make for a very nerve-wracking drive home. Hey, like I said, we’re not used to having a car, so these are the kinds of obvious details we stupidly overlook.

Anyway, these small plates were great because they were quick projects and were super easy to grout (woohoo!). The one seems to remind me of DNA for some reason. Maybe I was a geneticist in a former life. No, probably not.

Purple candle plate (square)

Red candle plate

Red candle plate

Purple candle plate 1


No animals were harmed in the making of this vase

It took me forever to come up with the design for this vase. I know, I know – looking at it, you’d never know it. As usual, I had grand, elaborate ideas. Complicated ideas. Ones that would not fit on a vase like this. Thankfully, my trusty inner editor kicked in and I pared the design down to the end product. Not much exciting happened during the making of this vase. I didn’t watch any fabulous movies or discover any great new musicians (side note: Triple J Unearthed is a treasure trove of undiscovered Aussie musicians and the source of many a mix CD over here at our place).

No wait! I believe the Great Chokecherry Incident of 2008 occurred at some point during the weeks I was working on this vase. What is GCI 2008, you ask? It’s when our relatively new dog, Dexter (yes, named after the TV serial killer), decided to gorge himself on chokecherries while we were out picking them to make chokecherry syrup. Who knew chokecherry pits contained cyanide? Clearly not us! To make a long story short, we quickly Googled “chokecherries + dogs + poison”, started freaking out (especially since one of the symptoms of cyanide poisoning was “sudden death”), phoned the emergency vet clinic just to make sure we were freaking out for a good reason, induced vomiting as per the clinic’s instructions, and then fed poor Dexter milk, burnt toast, and a generous dose of vegetable oil (which didn’t have its intended effect) and voila! Dexter was no worse for wear, although our nerves were pretty shot.

So, in closing, I present to you Dexter, shortly before his chokecherry-induced near-death experience. Oh, and the vase. Enjoy!

Dexter, just before he nearly experience "sudden death" due to chokecherry poisoning


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