Let There Be Light (and Water)!

Pool of Dreams

I wanted to make a bird bath loosely based on The Whirlwind That Takes Me There only using a different colour palette.

Like my Pretty Maids and cockle shell bird baths, I made this one by hand forming the base using wire, glass fibre mesh (I recycle the mesh sheets that mosaic tiles come on) and cement mixtures. I have another bird bath I make using a bowl as a mould but I really prefer the hand shaped ones as they can be any shape and they are so imperfect which exaggerates the idea of hand-made. In this world of highly finished craft objects, this is possibly seen as taking a step back again, but maybe it’s important to do that from time to time otherwise we lose sight of what really is hand-made and the work begins to lose integrity. I see so many craft objects that do nothing for me. Ok, they are technically brilliant which is what the maker has strived for, but what has it become? It’s started as a blob of glass, clay or metal, it’s been melted, beaten, punched and hammered, it’s been transformed into something else, something beautiful maybe, but along the way it seems to somehow have lost it’s soul. Of course if you recognise this mosaic bird bath as an art piece, then perhaps I wouldn’t need to justify it, (since we know art is subjective and can be anything)ย  but as I always think of mosaic art as craft as well as an art form then I feel the need to justify it a little bit. So yes it has an imperfect shape and yes it is hand-made! And yes it holds water and looks lovely in the garden!

Rant over, I’ll show you some photos of the process…

I started by buying some beautiful ammonites. Madagascan and Jurassic coast.

I was very excited to finally be using some of my stoneware ceramic tiles I made in a pottery class over 15 years ago.

After making my bowl I rendered the bottom brushing the cement mixture to smooth the surface. This can be done at the end but I was waiting for my fossils to arrive!

I began with the large fossil in the centre and began to work around it. I didn’t really have a plan, it was quite spontaneous, I just placed several pieces next to the prior pieces and considered how it looked aesthetically.

And finally picking out the tile adhesive between the tiles before grouting.

When I had grouted it (charcoal colour) and it was finished it wasn’t until I added the water that I felt satisfied. The water brought up all the colours beautifully.

I have used gold leaf glass as well as my hand-gilded metal leaf glass and tried to get a photo to show it shining.

Some details.

Pool of Dreams is 60cm in diameter and holds over 4 litres of water.

I used fossils, glass tiles, vintage glass tiles from Marble Mosaic company, ceramic tiles, hand-made ceramic and gilded metal leaf glass, gold leaf glass, stained glass (iridescent), smalti, slate, glass marbles, glass nuggets, milliefiori, glass rods, gold-lipped oyster shell from Boris Anrep’s studio.

Happy Easter!

๐Ÿ™‚

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92 thoughts on “Let There Be Light (and Water)!

  1. Hi Kate, Love, love, love this bird bath. Thank you for sharing the details of its evolution and the detail pictures. BTW–charcoal grout is my go to as well and couldn’t imagine this mosaic having any other colour.

  2. I love the way water a nd light enrich and enhance the colours and the materials you have used. Perfect for an outdoor installation, surrounded by greenery. I love that it’s not even round the edges too.

    • I’m looking forward to catching one in it and snapping a photo, however I have several of my hand made bird baths in my garden and so far only seen the cat drinking from them!

  3. Wow Kate this is so beautiful! I have been wanting to make something like this with my girls. Now you’ve inspired me to finally get moving! Thanks for this great post! xx

  4. I do stained glass work, and have begun playing with concrete. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a fountain/bird bath. This has given me inspiration. Thank you!

  5. Kate, hi, love the birdbath, very unique and I agree very much with you, handmade is far better than bought. I was wondering if you could tell me the ratio for your cement mix please, or do you use a particular cement? Thanks, Dave.

    • Hi Dave, I use a cement tile adhesive for the hand formed thin sculptures but it’s quite expensive so I’m experimenting with a sand and cement mortar that is as easy to use.

      • Kate, many thanks for the reply. Mosaics have always been on my to-do list so at some point, I’m going to have a bash at creating something. I’m keen to see what your producing so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for your posts. I’m working on a small dovecote at the moment for my own back garden and plenty of plans for lots of other things. The only problem is finding the time. Work is such an inconvenience!!! Thank you again. Dave.

  6. I am brand new to blogging, in fact, really just starting today to even look around at blogs. I absolutely love this piece you have designed. It’s getting late this evening, but I would like to follow you and also reblog this post. However, that will have to go on my to do list or better called my to learn list for tomorrow. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration, especially since we love the wild birds, butterflies, and bees that come to our own gardens each summer. Makes me want to create something of my own.

    • Thank you! Glad you like it. Have a look at the new one, the Garden Treasure bird pool . Let me know if you like it better or less than this one. I’d be interested to know!

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