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!

🙂

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Two More Weeks in Upper Street, Angel, Islington

For the last two weeks and for the following two weeks I have several pieces of my work in a new pop up shop in Angel, Islington, London.  Makers & Friends is at 126 Upper Street, selling hand made jewellery, prints, cushions, soaps and herbal concoctions.  I haven’t  visited yet but I hear the shop is humming with activity every day.

I have some of my butterflies and birds in the shop including these …

copper butterflies

Copper Butterflies

A Golden Winged Bird Passing my Way

A Golden Winged Bird Passing my Way

If you are in London drop in and have a look. The shop is open every day until April 25th 2016.

islington pop up

Makers and Friends shop (photo by Zen)

Makers and Friends, 126 Upper Street, Angel, Islington, London N1

www.makers-friends.com

Instagram: MAKERSANDFRIENDS_LDN

 

Bah Humbug! It’s (almost) that time again!

You might remember last year I made some gilded glass brooches, bees (Bah Humbug Bees) and fish (Fish for Funky Punks). They were sold so quickly from various outlets, so this year I thought I would make some more. This time I have redesigned them so they are more refined and they are made of acrylic instead of glass. The acrylic is etched so I can fill in the lines to represent the grout lines, and like the glass ones they are gilded using  variegated metal leaf.

Bah Humbug bee brooch

Bah Humbug bee brooch

Ocean Gem fish brooch

Ocean Gem fish brooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also made some more golden leaf coasters, these are gilded glass on wood. These have also been refined by making them on a thinner plywood with a felt fabric underneath, now perfect for any table!

Golden Leaf coasters

Golden Leaf coasters

You can purchase all these items online from my Folksy shop (or click the pics) or from the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen’s new shop in Wells and from Somerset Crafts Gallery, Avalon Marshes Centre, Westhay.

While the Moon Gently Weeps

The title of this piece came to me through the radio whilst I was making it. That beautiful song written by George Harrison “While my Guitar Gently Weeps,” was playing. All I had to do was replace the guitar for the moon!  It was exactly how I saw my mosaic. A waning moon weeping pieces of itself . Leaf shaped pieces that could also be tears.
I had made the first sketch a few months ago and after a couple more drawings I was ready to start.

sketch

Final cartoon

Final cartoon

This piece was not without it’s difficulties. I made it using the indirect method to obtain a flat surface. I wanted to  use my metal leaf glass together with the thicker depth of the  ceramic and glass mosaic tile.

indirect method

indirect method

I removed the paper whilst the adhesive was still wet so that I could change anything I wasn’t happy with, and I realized I had forgotten to add more adhesive to the metal leaf glass that I had used for the rings around the moon. I could have removed the pieces and added more adhesive to make it level, however I found that I rather liked the effect of the moon that stood out in relief from the rings. It’s difficult to show it in a photo, you will have to imagine it! (Sorry I can’t just show you the moon, I have to show you the owl too!)

moon

I attempted to make the shadows contrast with the shafts of moonlight  like I had drawn them. I used paler glass for the leaves in the moonlight, but my attempt to define this even more by use of pale grout and then silver ink just didn’t work, so I grouted it all in black. If you screw up your eyes you can just make out the rays of moonlight across the leaves 😉

leaves

Finally I used silver ink around the trees to emphasize the moonlight and allow some contrast between the trees and the dark blue night sky.

While The Moon Gently Weeps

While The Moon Gently Weeps

Again it is very difficult to show the mosaic accurately in a photo. I took the photo outside on a dull day and I even shone a light on the leaves, but they look almost as if they are made of paper coloured in with crayons, you can’t see the shine on the glass.  I’ll try again when it is framed and on a  wall.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Autumn Leaves

Earlier this year I made some leaves using gilded glass and stained glass. They are quite chunky because they are covered in mosaic both sides but I quite like them. I’m not alone either as two of them have been bought from Somerset Crafts gallery in the last week.

leaves

I decided to make some more leaves but this time thinner and more elegant. I bought some different colours of metal leaf, one of which was a gorgeous orange gold and perfect for autumnal golden leaves, and I gilded some glass.

metal-gilding-2

I made a few duffs before I was happy with the leaves. I cut and bent sheet metal into leaf shapes and applied the gilded glass mosaic on the top. I gilded the metal underneath and on the edges to finish them.

leaves(2)

If you wonder what you can do with them, here is an idea.

leaves-with-candles

These will be available to buy in Somerset Crafts and Somerset Guild of Craftsmen very soon!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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

Shift : What is the Work of Art?

Last night I went to the preview of “Shift : What is the Work of Art?” at the Black Swan Arts Centre in Frome  where I have the pleasure of being one of the artists chosen to take part.

Curator, Kim Wood, picked my animations “The Storm” and “Rain” .

Outside a glass blower was making a shape with the words art and craft written on it just to get us in the right frame of mind!

Upstairs in the gallery the exhibition consists of work by 7 of us ranging from Max Jacquard’s iconic recycled glass figure “Albion” stitched with bronze wire to Tom Bayliss‘s structures as “hobbyist model maker”.

Kim writes that our work ” sits on the fluid boundaries between what could be perceived of as ‘art’ and ‘craft’”

Johanna Dahn, Senior Lecturer in Critical Studies in Art and Design at the Bath School of Art and Design gave a short talk which highlighted the art/craft debate and the relationship to the work on show. She talked about how craft is process driven and how it has been seen in recent years as the inferior partner to art. She suggested how the pieces in the exhibition question our notions of what is art or craft, how the artists have played with the materials, integrated art forms, challenged our perceptions, and have extended the design process and made something else.

Johanna finished her talk with words to the effect of “Art or craft? Or is it something else? …and who cares anyway as long as it is an expression of the artists intent”  

 I think her last words were the best answer.

Come and see the exhibition and see what you think. It runs until the 16th February.Shift

animationSee more information about the exhibition here and here on Facebook

Can’t get to the exhibition and want to see my animations?

Click here