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One of our students could not attend the second part of Mosaics 1 class, so Andrea grouted it for her. The pictures below show the process. Hope you like it, Barb! We all think it came out great.
Barb's ungrouted mosaic.
Cutting out painter's tape to cover textured tesserae.
Covering small textured tiles.
Taping over beads.
Taping the edges.
Notice how the round bead is glued with caulking.
Only a tiny piece fell off in the 'thwack test.'
Grouted but not cleaned up and without the final metal button.
Final product with charcoal grout.
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Here's the basic process I followed in creating my latest mosaic. I was inspired by a bunch of peach, orange, and rose tinted bling...It said "1970's paisley" to me!
Planning the placement of bling but don't be too set on one design...sometimes it changes as you work.
Get started! Pick at least one area you feel good about and go from there. The rest will come to you.
A few tips: Have at least two similar areas on the design to create continuity, like the flowers. Combine all with a common (in this case, gray) background.
Add any final bling. Here, I added darker beads to the borders of two paisleys because they didn't seem to stand out as much. That dark gray in the big paisley really dominated.
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Quite a few people have been asking for alcohol inks. What are alcohol inks, you ask? They are like watercolors for non-porous materials.

They tend to be expensive and the local big box craft stores don't carry a variety of colors. We don't tend to get them in the shop too often so that got us thinking..."hmm, what if we make our own?"

As usual, Google and YouTube were our go-to resources. We found several helpful hints on making our own inks, typically using markers and rubbing alcohol. So, we decided to schedule a short session (also on Meetup.com) on Saturday, September 11th at 11:00 a.m.

In preparation for the session, I (Victor) have been experimenting with various tint sources - permanent markers, acrylic paint, and inkjet ink. We'll get to try them all on the 11th.

If you currently use alcohol inks, whether you purchase them or make your own, come by and share your experiences.

If you have been wondering about them, come by, learn from those using them and try out a few options for making your own and trying them on different surfaces.
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Your imagination is your limit...
Look at all the things you can be for Halloween, just using materials from our warehouse.
Come in soon, these items won't last!
Fake bones! Ultimate Halloween.
Use a mask to create a costume.
Doilies as head dressing...gypsy or ??
Scarves! Glamour queen? Another gypsy? Floozy?
Not into dressing up? Create a Day of the Dead baton in our Oct. 27 class.
Tassels and other bling - Use your imagination!
Prayer caps...Imam Victor?
Ohhh....FRINGE! Flapper? Old fashioned chair? (Yes, you can be a chair!)
Creepy guy head...Freak anyone out with this!
What else do we have for the SUPER creative?
Fabric galore! Green for slime monster? Leprechaun?
Furs and fuzzies. Sasquatch?
Beads, tassels, buckles, bling. Hippy? Dancer?
Black straps. Spider web?
Brass and other metal. Robot? Steampunk?
Huge sheets of foam board. Washing machine? Protester?
Seashells. Mermaid? Another type of dancer?
Pine cones. Smokey the Bear? Tree hugger?
Pill bottles. Mad pharmacist?
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This mosaic is from scrap glass and found items, all on a sample pane of industrial glass. In the final version, there's a prickly pear, an organ cactus, a barrel cactus, and 4 1/2 ocotillos. Can you see them?
Laying out materials with industrial glass pane
Defining areas of sky, far hills, and closer sandy foreground
Adding sandy foreground
Final mosaic with bling - but looks best with light behind it
Placing key elements
Adding the sky, hills - watch how light blue disappears when grouted!
Grouted with warm gray
Closeup with some light behind it but picture doesn't do it justice...Looks great on a window sill!
Planning for the tripod-no 3-D bling here!
Change of plans-to a stormy sky
The bling was TINY for the ocotillo leaves
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I (Andrea) love making mosaics on clear glass because it adds a whole different look and feel to the final mosaic, but it takes a different approach in many ways:
  1. You are best off using clear glass but textures are cool.
  2. The edges of each glass piece need to be very vertical because when you grout, you want a clean line. In fact, I tend to use tighter grout spaces on clear glass than on other substrates so they don't take away from the image.
  3. The glue needs to be clear! I've been using MAC glue, which was designed for mosaics, but I'm considering trying Gorilla Clear Glue next time. Anyone have an experience?
  4. Lastly, (and I hate to do this) but sometimes I need to cut and grind tesserae to fit well...for all the reasons listed above!
By the way, I am planning for this to be a TWO-SIDED mosaic...watch and see!
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Andrea is very good at naming her art pieces as some of you who saw the posting earlier this week know. Her "Garden Nirvana" mosaic is aptly named. I (Victor), on the other hand, always struggle when it comes to naming a piece so I'm asking for your help.

I mostly work in metal (steel). I incorporate wood, tile, or other materials but my main medium is steel. Here, I decided to work on something different when I saw a call to artists for Day of the Dead art.

You can scroll to the bottom to see the finished project to suggest a name or read through the materials and steps if that helps your naming inspiration.

In the spirit of upcycling and reusing materials, everything here (except for resin) is upcycled.

List of supplies:
  • Silk screen frame
  • Plywood
  • Small MDF boards already cut in different shapes (square, oval, circle, rectangle)
  • Colored sheets of paper from a paint sample book
  • Colored sheets of paper from wallpaper sample books
  • Glitter
  • Foam board
  • Danish book cover backing paper
  • Resin (purchased new for this project)
 
Here are some of the materials at the start: a foam cutout of a skull, the small MDF pieces, the wallpaper samples, the paint color samples, and the screen print frame already attached to the plywood.


This is the Danish paper used to cover the foam skull cutout.
This is where most of my time was spent covering the MDF pieces with sheets from the paint sample book, cutting out shapes from the wallpaper sample books, designing the layout, and arranging and glueing all the pieces.
Lastly, I painted the frame black and the background white. I did the resin covering in two batches of resin. Well, it was actually three or four since I am new at getting resin to cure correctly. The black frame and white background have gold glitter added to the resin so I did that first. The face is clear and I covered that once the resin of the frame and background had cured. I opted to use resin to give this a uniform, deep, and shinny finish.
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I had an idea that expanded on the traditional tapestry mosaic method, as done by Laura Skye. Instead of fringed edges and distinct areas of design and texture, I combined those into a landscape.  Here's how my design (and lack thereof) evolved!
Laying out the design with the pieces that inspired me the most.
Starting SOMEWHERE! I can't possibly plan the whole thing, but once I get started, the rest just keeps happening!
First section completed, using umber cement colorant, Italian seaglass for the rocks (thanks, Judy!), and broken jewelry and other bling for the first layer of the garden and an alluded-to wall.
On a roll now...I used red cement colorant for the second layer of the garden so it would contrast with the tesserae and the first layer.
Getting closer...I used goldenrod cement colorant for the final layer, as well as some yellow- and gold-themed bling.
Finally, I used a mix of blue colorant with charcoal to create the dusk to dawn sky. The stars are primarily rhinestones.
Finished product "Garden Nirvana"
Voila! The ALMOST finished product. I added some 3-dimensional bling (the turtle, the rose, and a few other adornments. All I need to do now is add the hanging hardware, which is part of the same chain I used to delineate each layer of the garden.
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The final products: Two double flowers and one single (in the middle).
The large flower is a coffee can; the smaller ones are tuna, etc. The textures were great when painted.
The steps we followed were:
  1. Paint the flowers with acrylics.
  2. Use silicone to glue smaller flower pieces inside of bigger ones.
  3. Use the same glue to apply 'bling' such as glass, buttons, and metal pieces.
They are so lightweight, we just used light wire to hang them up.  We should put some on posts, too!
Tin cans cut into flower shapes or the centers of flowers.
This was a coffee can!
Flower parts painted with acrylics.
The big flower paired with small center. Check out the textured paint on the green parts!
Pairing and gluing the parts together.
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Donated silk screen frames, ready for creative uses.
Screens attached to each other and hung on garden wall.
Screens painted and ready for artwork...coming soon!
These are the three steps we've taken so far.  We received a large donation of silk screen frames of many sizes; some with screens still in them but most without.  They have a very cool rustic look.

We laid them out on the floor and attached them with wood screws and wood glue.  We kept the "Arizona" one in the center because of the great look. They don't weigh much.  We hung them as a group on our garden wall.

The following weekend, we painted the nine sections different colors.  Our next step is to add different art work to each of the frames...stay tuned.  Please post any pictures of YOUR frame projects!
Project Update May 2017
We've started adding different elements to each of the silkscreen frames.
Project Update June 2017
We've added a bit more color. On the bottom-right, we added a painting on canvass that Andrea embellished with beads and other bling. We also had some metal flowers from another project so they went into one of the top frames atop angle iron stems.
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