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)  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!

🙂

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

New Designs – It’s not what it seems!

I have various different projects on the go at the moment…a large commission, bird baths for the Bishops Palace garden festival in June and some new work for an exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey in September. All exciting stuff that is keeping my left and right brain buzzing and pinging.

During the in-between times I like to  experiment with various other mediums such as animation and digital photo manipulation. Some of you will remember my designs that I made into scarves a few years ago. This time I’ve made some more designs from photos of my mosaics and uploaded them to Redbubble where they are printed onto clothes, wall art, iphone cases, stationary and home-ware. I’ve picked out some favourites to show you but please visit the shop to see more of the products that are available with these designs.

The Golden Leaves this time is the only one without photo manipulation although the scarf is tiled with the photo on the Redbubble software. Please click the pictures to see more or purchase.

 

Golden Leaves Scarf

 

Starlings in the Wind Dress

 

Sunset Swirls chiffon top

 

Darkness is Gathering in a Swirl cushion

 

Leaf Swirl notebook

 

Fish Waves acrylic block

 

Spinning Moon Moths metal print

 

 

Wake of the Chorus drawstring bag

 

Whirl in a Whirlwind iphone case

Now I MUST get into my work-shed and fondle some glass!

😉

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Roll Up For The Greatest Show On Earth!

 

Beautiful Black Clouds

Beautiful Black Clouds

Yesterday evening just before the sun went down I managed to close shop at Somerset Crafts down on the Avalon Marshes in Somerset in time to see thousands and thousands of starlings swooshing over the gallery and on down to the heath. This happens every year at about this time and we have many visitors from all over the world who come to see the murmurations.  This year I would have thought could be a record year for numbers. I must have seen at least 15 large flocks pass by, (and there were probably more before I went outside) some right over my head and others in the distance. It’s hard to say but the numbers of each flock must have been well over a thousand, maybe several thousand as each flock took about  a minute to pass by and they spread out across the sky.

If you are lucky you see them sky dancing – performing amazing patterns in the sky. From where I stood last night it looked as if they were heading over the marshes and perhaps if you were a bit further west you would have seen a most spectacular display.  I saw a wonderful display a couple of years ago but failed to get good photos and in the end I just wanted to watch and not be hindered by taking photos. It really takes your breath away.

Here’s a great video and a couple of photos of the starlings  taken a couple of years ago by my friends Val and Al, who exhibit and sell their photos at Somerset Crafts gallery.

Murmuration of Starlings over Shapwick Heath

Murmuration of Starlings over Shapwick Heath by Val and Al of Avalon prints

Starlings by Val and Al of Avalon Prints

Starlings by Val and Al of Avalon Prints

What I find so thrilling is not just the beauty of watching them but also the sound as they pass by overhead. The flutter of thousands of wings. It sounds almost like white noise. And talking of white, as I stood there last night they dive bombed me in white rain!!! I put my hood up to stop it going in my hair, but amazingly I didn’t get even a speck on me, it had splattered all around where I stood! My daughter tells me I was unlucky!

Inspired we are by what I can only describe as “the greatest show on earth”, each year me and my other artist friends at Somerset Crafts make work for our annual Starling Exhibition.

I began a series that ended up developing fairly spontaneously. After making the first piece (which ended up being number 4) I then started to scrawl a pattern of birds on an old envelope, and I made each piece by matching one to the next, at the same time keeping in mind that each one could also be an individual piece of work. So there was no grand design or cartoon, and the andamento (flow of the tiles) around the birds was drawn onto the board as I went along. Making work this way is a bit of a risk as the andamento should really be planned well beforehand! However I was in one of those “I have to get on with it” moods and there was no time for proper planning. That is the trouble with mosaic, it is so slow, and I always find that half way through a project I want it finished as my mind has moved on to new ideas that I want to start!

Last year I experimented and made this piece using iridescent black glass tiles that I cut into bird shapes. It was successful and  swiftly found a new home, so I decided to develop the idea.

Night Murmuration

Night Murmuration

The first one (now number 4) I made and grouted all in black, but then I decided to re-grout it using a grey on the yellow glass, because once I had made them all and looked at them un-grouted I could see how well the andamento worked around the starlings. I think a black grout would have been too heavy in the sky where it was yellow and blue and would have distracted the eye from the flow of the tiles. So it was necessary to use masking tape to grout the areas in different shades of black and grey. By using a black grout next to a grey (reds are grouted in black and yellows in grey) it is possible to blend them along the gradual colour change i.e. through the oranges, as it is being cleaned off.

grouting the sky

grouting the sky

grouting starlings

grouting starlings

When the masking tape comes off there is a ridge of grout that then needs to be removed.

tool

This work is called “Beautiful Black Clouds“, it is now displayed in Somerset Crafts gallery. Each piece is for sale, and I wonder who dares to buy one and split up the flock!

 

Beautiful Black Clouds (1)

Beautiful Black Clouds (1)

Beautiful Black Clouds (2)

Beautiful Black Clouds (2)

Beautiful Black Clouds (3)

Beautiful Black Clouds (3)

Beautiful Black Clouds (4)

Beautiful Black Clouds (4)

Beautiful Black Clouds (5)

Beautiful Black Clouds (5)

Beautiful Black Clouds (6)

Beautiful Black Clouds (6)

 

Beautiful Black Clouds

Beautiful Black Clouds

Mosaic Print Designer Scarfs

I have been thinking about transferring mosaic designs onto fabric for years, longer than the big fashion companies such as Dolce & Gabbana! The trouble is they beat me to it!

But seriously I know I will never get as big or famous as they are, (who would want to be that rich and famous??) and I am just doing this as an experiment and through a desire to put down my nippers for a while and do something different. (When I say “for a while”, don’t worry, I am already picking them up again!)

The designs are digitally printed onto fabric. For my scarves I have chosen to use a silky polyester as it drapes beautifully and the colour is bright crisp and sharp.

This is my Golden Leaves Scarf

Golden Leaves Scarf

Golden Leaves Scarf

The design came from a photo of the mosaic leaf candle holders I made last year taken on a bed of autumn leaves, which I have made into a mirror design for the fabric.

I got the photo printed as greeting cards

leaves-card-folksy1

I had a tie commission with this design too…

tie

Then I made the Dawn Breakers Bird Scarf using a design I took from a mosaic I made called “Dawn Breakers”

Dawn Breakers scarf

Dawn Breakers Bird Scarf

dawnbreakers

Dawn Breakers

 

And this one is  my Midnight Sun Scarf using part one of my mosaicDisappearing Sun

Midnight sun

Midnight Sun Scarf

Part 1 of Disappearing Sun

If you want to see more pictures including some on my model, have a look by clicking the pictures or visit my Folksy Shop or my Etsy Shop

I also have cards and prints available of Spirit of the Leaves part 3

spirit folksy

Spirit of the Leaves (part 3)

Very popular at this time of year when the leaves are blowing off the trees and turning into birds!

😉

Together We Grow

As I watched the sun go down over the hill one evening, it shone directly through the middle of a tree in the distance. It seemed as if it had burnt a hole right through the tree and the leaves around it gradually changed colour from orange to green. The photo I took didn’t reveal the colours, but here it is anyway:

sun-in-tree

I made a coloured sketch allowing a fair amount of artistic licence to creep in!

Together-we-grow-sketch

I was going to make the background with stained glass strips in sunset colours that gradually change into rain at the bottom of the picture, but as I layed out the background it didn’t feel right. There was too much colour and it seemed to compete and clash with the leaves. So I chose a blue sky of vitreous glass tiles which changed into a rain of grey vitreous tiles and strips of mirror glass.

Together We Grow

Together We Grow

I played with the photo after I had finished the mosaic and I quite like this:

sun-in-tree-with-rain

🙂

Path to the Sky

The fields in the last few weeks have been an abundance of yellow buttercups. I couldn’t do it much justice with my photos but it was much better than this:

buttercups

The skies have been pretty impressive too:

dramatic-mendip-sky-by-Kate

webbed sky

webbed sky

No need to look far for inspiration!

I made this mosaic indirectly only because I had to work on it at a Demo day at Somerset Crafts and the table wasn’t big enough for the whole thing. So I made it in 2 parts:

2-parts-indirect

I installed it on cement board so it is suitable to display outdoors:

laying

I grouted it in black to emphasise the colours and the shadows between the blades of grass, the buttercups, the butterflies and birds  (did you spot them?) and the webbed sunset sky. Here it is completed:

Rattray-Path-to-the-Sky

Path to the Sky

Rattray-Mosaic-in-garden

As with much of the work I post on my blog it is for sale and I’ll be taking this piece to Somerset Crafts gallery next week, unless you contact me first with an offer to buy it!

😉

The Year 2012!

Thank you to my customers and supporters this year and all the best for 2013!

Here are some of the mosaics I have created this year:

2012 mosaics by Kate Rattray

2012 mosaics by Kate Rattray