Tag Archives | skateboard

Mosaic workout challenge, week 14: Joy

This week was another theme challenge from a guest artist (Laurel True), who challenged us to think about how we express joy in mosaic.

"Break through" and jump for joy!

“Break through” and jump for joy!

Title: “Break through”

Size: 6″ x 4.25″

Materials: Smalti, ceramic tile, vitreous tile, and skateboard

How long did it take to complete? About four hours

Thoughts: When I read the prompt for this week, I immediately thought of bright colours and upward movement. I chose the skateboard pieces for their angles and because I liked the playful, energetic jumble they created. The rest of it looked a bit different in my head, but I backed myself into some corners, design wise, by trying to use up materials that had been kicking around my shelf for far too long and others that I already had cut. I also didn’t have a lot of each material cut, and I really noticed what an impact it had on my lines—they really are better when I have a big selection of tesserae to choose from. This week, for me, was also a lesson in just letting go and recognizing that sometimes it’s perfectly OK to allow a piece to be what it’s going to be once it starts diverging from the vision I have in my head (and other times it is worth fighting to get a project back on track and more aligned with what is in my head). It’s all about picking my battles.

A better shot of the angles of the skateboard pieces

A better shot of the angles of the skateboard pieces

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Running on fumes: The push to finish “Punctuated Equilibrium II”

The second mosaic in my Punctuated Equilibrium series was created during the holiday rush, which also coincided with a crazy busy time at work. My intention was to get it finished before the New Year in order to start 2014 with a clean slate, but I didn’t meet my self-imposed deadline. Between putting in long hours at work, then long hours in the evening in my studio, plus doing an insane amount of Christmas prep (virtually all our gifts are of the edible homemade variety, which, although fun, is very time consuming), there was a stretch of at least 2 weeks when I didn’t get to bed before midnight. By the time Christmas vacation rolled around, I was running on fumes. And then, as is usually the case, just as I started to relax, I got sick. Ugh. But I finally put the finishing touches on this bad boy last night, and I’m so excited to be able to take you on a little tour of it and point out all my favourite details.

"Punctuated Equilibrium II" mosaic by Julie Sperling (2014, 18" x 12", glass rods, local stone, skateboard)

“Punctuated Equilibrium II” (2014) — stone from Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, glass rods, and skateboard, 18″ x 12″

As you may recall, the Punctuated Equilibrium series is inspired by graffiti and how it can add life and energy to public spaces. This time, I decided to use glass rods rather than smalti for the graffiti portion, to better approximate that stippled spray paint effect. I used the cream-coloured rock I gathered at the cottage, and as I was chopping it into cubes I also saved some of the thinner edges to use as the ‘sparks’ coming off the graffiti.

"Punctuated Equilibrium II" - detail shot (Julie Sperling, 2014)

The spines of the rock radiating from the graffiti

I really had fun creating the crazy lines that curve and weave over and under each other throughout that bottom section. It was a good little challenge and I like the energy and chaos it brings to the area around the graffiti. Order is then restored as the lines gradually straighten out into a nice gentle flow and transition to a greyish-brown rock that has strong horizontal layers to it (and, oddly enough, smells like gasoline when you cut it).

"Punctuated Equilibrium II" - detail (Julie Sperling, 2014)

A closer look at those curvy weaving lines (and a peek at that little bit of skateboard tucked into the corner).

In pretty much every mosaic I make, I tend to have a favourite stone or two. My favourite one in this piece is one of the spines because it has a hole in it (which I didn’t even realize until after placing it into the thinset). My other favourite detail is how the grain of the grey-brown rock all runs the same way (that is, vertically). It was a pain to do, but worth it.

"Punctuated Equilibrium II" - favourite stone (Julie Sperling, 2014)

My absolute favourite stone in the entire piece. I just love that little hole in it!

"Punctuated Equilibrium II" detail (Julie Sperling, 2014)

See how all the grain runs up? Yup.

Anyway, that’s it! I’ve already got some ideas percolating for the third in the series, which were prompted by some comments on Facebook. It has to do with a new material for the graffiti portion, but that’s all I’m going to say for now, because it’ll require some experimentation. But if it works, I’m going to be pretty excited! Until then…

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