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, 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.

Happy Easter!

🙂

 

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A Union of Family Arms

For the last couple of months I have been working on a commission in the other hours between making new pieces of jewellery, Christmas craft markets, packaging sales online and celebrating.

I was asked to make a mosaic for an outdoor wall based on my customer’s family and wife’s families coat of arms. He sent me photos of the arms by the Herald of old Graubuenden, Marco Foppoli. His arms being on the left and his wife’s on the right.

de_salis_haesler_arms

My customer also sent me a picture of a Christmas card designed for them by Marco that was inspired by old sgraffito decorations of the Rhaetia mountains.

sgraffito_salis_haesler_a3_portrait

Copyright: Marco Foppoli 2015

I was allowed to have a certain amount of artistic licence without changing the images so much that they were no longer  their family coat of arms. So my proposed design was very close to the Christmas card but simplified. I chose to make a winter and summer alpine willow tree and to let the leaves from the summer tree blow across the hare’s feet as well as merge the backgrounds of both families to symbolise their union.

shetch

I made it in sections on mesh and indirect and worked the backgrounds and border direct.

hare-progress

summer-willow-indirect

shield-in-progress

 

The finished mosaic

The finished mosaic

Coat of Arms Mosaic for outdoor wall approx 1metre x 85cm made with stained glass, iridescent stained glass, glass tile and vintage tiles from Marble Mosaic Company once based in Weston-Super-Mare!

Details:

shield-gauntlets-detail

hare

shield-detail-border

🙂

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Ten Years – Mosaic Exhibition

TEN YEARS

An exhibition of mosaic art by Kate Rattray

at Somerset Guild of Craftsmen, 23a Broad Street, Wells BA5 2DJ

9th May – 13th June 2016

PRIVATE VIEW – Friday 20th May 4-6pm

I am delighted to announce that I am presenting 10 years of my work at the new back room gallery at Somerset Guild of Craftsmen in  Wells.

Having worked in the art of mosaic for over 20 years now, the last 10 years has been the most productive for me. I have chosen works that explored my interest in folklore, weather, and the apocalypse, featuring birds, moths and butterflies.

Here are three from that apocalyptic year of 2012!

The Storm

The Storm

 

"Chorus at the Wake of the Sun" in sunlight

“Chorus at the Wake of the Sun”

 

Unfinished Symphony

Unfinished Symphony

And two of my latest pieces.

Black Swan

Black Swan

 

White Swan

White Swan

But much better to see them in the flesh amongst a total of 29 mosaics. And if you are interested I am running a mosaic workshop on 21st May in the gallery. See details and book here

Come and see!

🙂

 

 

 

Feathers and Leaves

…and flowers… A collection of new pieces. Please contact me if you are interested in any garden paving stones or bird baths or wish to commission a piece for you garden or home. Click the links to buy feather pictures.

Golden Leaf Bird Bath (sold)

Golden Leaf Bird Bath -hand gilded glass (sold)

Exhibitions for Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2013

If you are visiting Somerset this year for Somerset Art Weeks you can purchase my work at Somerset Crafts on the levels (venue number 95)
and at the Courthouse Gallery, Somerset Guild of Craftsmen, Somerton, (venue number 53).

And while you are in Somerset don’t forget to visit my exhibition “Many Faces of the Sun”, at Divas Café, Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome

Harvest-Poster

sGC

Many-Faces-of-the-Sun

Many Faces Of The Sun

I have 10 of my mosaic art works in my solo show at Divas Café, Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome. Four of which are new pieces featured in the last posts. In the main gallery there will be an exhibition of paintings by Rachel Anne Grigor. More details here.
There is a private view this Saturday 14th September from 6pm – 8pm, hope you can join me!

Many-Faces-of-the-Sun

Where All The Fish Go

That mottled sky that inspired “Where The Flying Things Go” (see last post) led to another mosaic, more relevant to the mottled or “mackerel” sky as it is known. It is known as mackerel as the cloud formations resemble the markings on a mackerel fish. Here is another look at that sky:

mottled-sky

 This time I wanted to make the design with a sunset sky in contrast to “Where The Flying Things Go” which happens at dawn.

I made a quick scrawly colour sketch in oil pastels:

Where-all-the-fish-go-sketc

Then I simplified the design by taking out the boat sail and I let the fish flow naturally into the sun. I love the way shoals of fish make a circle in the water when under attack always trying to get to the middle for protection. This was how I visualised their form in the sun.

Progress of the mosaic:

progress--Where-all-the-fis

Once I had filled in the sky with sunset colours (offcuts of stained glass) I had to decide whether to grout the sun as it was or fill it with tiny pieces of stained glass. I grouted a small section in black to try it out, but there was too much reference to my past black suns and this time I wanted more of that dark orange as it wasn’t about dying suns. Orange coloured grout maybe? No, too much will kill the mosaic! So there was nothing for it but to spend a day in the zone cutting and fixing some tiny bits in around the fish.

So finally:

Where All The Fish Go

Where All The Fish Go

Detail of sun:

Detail - Where All The Fish Go

Detail – Where All The Fish Go

The fish outline is cut out of the tile and the grout is painted with silver ink:

Detail of Where All the Fish Go

Detail of Where All the Fish Go

I now have 4 new pieces of work to include in my exhibition at Divas Café, Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome which starts next Saturday 14th September although if you visit this coming Thursday or Friday it will all be up. See here for more details

🙂