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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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!

😉

 

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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.

Bah Humbug!

Oh yes it’s that time again when we are all scrabbling around trying to find interesting presents for our families and friends. And there is news that we might have a white Christmas here in the south west UK, so all the more reason to get the shopping done now and then hopefully we can relax!
Well I am using this post to shamelessly plug my new pieces available to buy on my Folksy shop. Hey, you don’t need to behave like Scrooge! Don’t go yet! Talking of Scrooge, I would like to introduce you to my Bah Humbug Bee Pendants and brooches.

bees folksy

Bah Humbug Bees!

Then there are my Fish for the Funky Punks Brooches

shoal folksy

Fish Brooches for the Funky Punks

Both the bees and the fish can be ordered without backs and fixed straight to a wall or as part of your personal mosaic project.

They are made by hand-gilding glass with metal leaf and cutting it to shape. Once used for mosaic the glass is on top because if used gilded side up even after sealing, the grout will ruin the metal leaf.   The substrate for the brooches is aluminium, hand cut and filed. For the bee’s thorax I made some polymer clay half bead shapes that are fired in the oven and then varnished. They were great fun to make and finally we found a use for my daughter’s pasta machine!

beads

I have also made some more box frame mosaic art pieces.

This is my series “Three Golden Birds at Sunset” I think these precious little mosaics made with Venetian gold leaf glass and smalti look quite eye-catching  in the deep boxes, what do you think?

You can see more details about each of these items and more on my Folksy shop

Happy Shopping and have a Very Merry Christmas!
🙂

Birds, Bees and Fish

I have been working on some new pieces of art that incorporate my drawings and photos, set in  box frames and featuring  mosaics of birds, bees and fish as well as eyes and suns. I like the association of the box frame with memories and treasured items. Most of the pieces I have made are inspired by a happy memory. In the case of the “Red Folk Bird” I used a drawing I made some  years ago when making a story book with my children.

Red Folk Bird

Red Folk Bird (sold)

As these art works are much quicker to make than a complicated mosaic piece I am able to sell them at a very reasonable price starting from £58.00

Bluebird of Happiness

Bluebird of Happiness

Swim With Us

Swim With Us

The Dark Queen Bee

The Dark Queen Bee

Flying Black Bird

Flying Black Bird

Out of Darkness

Out of Darkness

The Eye

The Eye

The Three Trees

The Three Trees

Flaming Sun

Flaming Sun (sold)

You can see more pictures from my birds, bees, and fish series and read about my inspiration for each art work by visiting my Folksy shop here and click “Wall Art”

😉

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

🙂