Sunday, December 29, 2013

poker face

I generally don't make "parts" for people but this was a Christmas present for my baby brother.  He likes skulls and squids.  Yeah, NOBODY has one like this.  It was so crazy hard to make 8 tiny legs in a one color design squished up like that.  Oh yeah, and I did it carving with a dremmel.  Come on!  Seriously check out those suction cups.  I worked so hard at getting the 8 legs in that the one guy has nine legs, HA!  Now I need a casino to commission me, yo!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


WHAT!  Two posts in two days.  Yup.  It happened. I finished this baby yesterday, and was issued a perfect overcast sky to photograph it outdoors this morning.  36 x 20 inches of tasty goodness in glass. Well, the commission was obviously about magic.  How lucky did I get right there?  Originally, the whole thing was going to go in a Houdini direction.  So while I am thinking all these Houdini thoughts, I meet a friend that is all about Houdini trivia.  He told me a story about the word believe and that stuck.  I linked it HERE if you're interested. But that is what those tiny "crystal balls" are and the large one is actually a humongous marble sawed in half.  The word beneath is tiny and is so distorted that it looks huge and you cannot tell if it is convex or concave as it appears to move beneath the glass as you change your perspective.  Really, it is flat.
So here are some other things incorporated in this mosaic: The red background of the bird is a REFERENCE to the heavy red velvet drapes that I think of in magic.  The recycled bottle rings are a nod to that trick with the three cups.  I was talking with my brother about this trick and he said to make sure I only put ONE red ball in... I am embarrassed that I didn't think of that simple idea myself.  There is a lot of greys and silver in different forms, my way to illustrate "smoke and mirrors."  The tiny black and white strips are a little extension of the tuxedoed arm. And the signature tile?  This cracks me up.  Bicycle cards are the cards we always used.  While I was working on it, taking ideas from various card backs, I had a small open section that I was deciding on.  I asked Shaundi what I could fit in there and she instantly spits out, "a gecko!"  In my former life as a mailman, my nickname was gecko or geck... so there you go. 
I WISH everyone could see this in person.  There is so much movement and sparkle in this.  The "magic" from the wand is layered inside and on top of the half inch grey glass.  This is the deepest mosaic I have done and also the most prominent relief.  This makes the mosaic the heaviest I have done per square inch, weighing in at 32 lb.  The entire time I was working on it, a substantial amount of chronological life, I was thinking that this is an amazing world that I get to do this.  I have my daughter and daughter-in-law saying my favorite prayer and it SO fits here.  I pinch my eyes shut and say, "More like this."

Friday, December 6, 2013

super legit

OK, how much fun is this?!!??  In high school, my son was in a band, the singer was Kailynn West.  I wanted to contribute to her kickstarter program and had no idea it came with a song.  I answered a few questions and told her she could take whatever photos from my blog or site.  What a great Christmas idea for someone, right?  I don't know if she would have time yet but Valentine's Day?  She's a doll and I am happy to have this self affirming song stuck in my head.  Click the here to see her adorable video.  Yeah.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

makin' magic

No seriously?  Two and a half months?  I can't believe it has been that long since I have blogged.  Well, I wasn't lollygagging.  I'm working on a commission... wait... did I say working?  Ha ha.  I have been in my shop playing all day and will continue as long as I can find ways to feed this addiction.  We're in the home stretch here and will give you some close ups when it is done.  You know I say my work is poop before it is grouted.  Not only that, there is still a great deal of glue, blood, and sharpie all over it. 
I am so excited, I can hardly stand it.  There's going to be a "crystal ball" and some magic dust.  And yeah, I think you'll like my signature tile for this one.  Oh right, and a VIDEO too!  This will be the first video of my fused glass mosaics so you will see how things get leveled and inlaid into the substrate.    Found perfect music too.  Yup, got permission.  I wish everyone could be this excited to get to work Monday morning. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Oh (venti) Venus ...36 x 20 inches


In your best Frankie Avalon voice-  Venus if you will, please send a little fly for me to kill...  I'm not kidding you, this is the stuff that gets stuck in my head.  Anyway, while I was trying to think the fly trap piece through, there wasn't a place I looked that I didn't see Starbucks somethings. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

hot summer (16 x 20)

My July has been a bit more eventful than I had wanted.  I was invited to a wedding and finished this mosaic in time for the couple's gift.  As planned, the day after the wedding was my son's going-away shebang because he moved to Denver the next day.  I helped him and his wife drive their cars out over three days.  But just like everyone else, there was the old unexpected stuff that can roll ya'.  It is the same stuff that happens to us all.  The night before the wedding, Rob and I were in a car accident that totaled both his car and the car that caused the accident.  All people involved were injury free.  Then the night of Kaleo's party, we got a phone call saying that my mother-in-law, Corrine, had just died.  
So yeah, it is easy to look at an injury free car accident as a good thing rather than an inconvenience that snagged an entire evening in our already overbooked life.  But then how do you deal with losing a great friend/second mom in any kind of positive way?  Of course, I did my share of blubbering.  If I feel it, I'm gonna express it.  That's me.   There is no way to advise someone how to look at this because everyone has their own beliefs.  What worked for us is knowing that at least her long struggle was over.  I try to compare it to my son's move to Denver.  Yeah, I will miss him but why would I hold him back from happiness?  I wouldn't.  I am so freaking grateful to have had Corrine as another mom.  I have known her for almost 30 years and we had zero fights.  That is a tough act to follow now that I am a mother-in-law.  I will always have a billion fun memories of her.  It is easy for me to feel peace about her crossing the rainbow bridge because no matter WHAT is over there, it is better than laying in a hospital bed.
I thought the Denver move was horrible timing but in the end it was perfect timing.  Everything unfolds as it should.  I have to remind myself constantly.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

it's not easy (being green) finished!

Here is how this 16 x 24 mosaic came together.  Susquehanna Art Museum asked for a work of mine to be in their VanGo! exhibit for a year.  The work they asked for was sold.  This year's theme for the exhibit is monochromatic and I often go that route anyway.  I had a mosaic half way worked through in my head so I told them I would love to make something specifically for this exhibit.  I was looking for an excuse to make a circuit board and trying unsuccessfully to fit it in my upcoming venus mosaic.  Instead, while thinking of the monochromatic mosaic, it all clicked.
I was thinking about how the things I think actually direct my life... how thoughts can be rewired just as circuits can...  I was thinking that one of the things I find difficult in mosaic is that I cannot easily change anything about my work once it is finished.  I felt like I needed to figure out a way to make part of this mosaic interchangeable. So the glass drops in the tube above the circuit tile are loose and can be poured out and rearranged or even switched out for a different color.  Eventually, they may be blue?
Yeah, the whole piece is about thought and reflection.  There are references to how we see ourselves - the different distorted mirrors.  There is a pic of a great thinker, Buddha.  There are all kinds of references to thought in the form of thought bubbles represented by dots and bubbles everywhere.  Of course, all this, the circuit board, and being able to change your thoughts (the glass drops) are all more symbolic than I usually work.  Even thinking outside the box is represented by the thoughts extend into the white border.  The life saver is self explanatory.
BTW, no, I am not Buddhist.  I was asked.  I don't have to be Buddhist to appreciate the wisdom of Buddha just as one does not need to be Christian to know that a lot of problems could be solved by following Christ's example.  I believe that, "We are what we think." even if it may be a fake Buddha quote.  I believe that, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."  This work will be for sale in a year... MAYBE.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

it ain't easy (being green)

Making tiles for a monochromatic mosaic.  Obviously, it will be green, and the working title is, "it ain't easy (being green.)"  I've been having a bit of fun with my signature tiles lately and so far this circuit board has been the most.  Here it is not yet fired so I am hoping to open my kiln tomorrow morning and be very happy.  How do a life saver and a circuit board work together?  Just wait till I add the Buddha face.  You'll see.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

snowy owl

Finished this 16 x 20 inch snowy owl mosaic that has been floating in my brain for a while.  I guess she was waiting for the right person to come along and take her home.  Pretty fab when I get something done and I have a home for it.  Love that.  I have never grouted something more challenging than that owl face.  Oh, and the whole thing is sitting pretty in an Evan Germann frame.  WOOT WOOT or should I say whooo whooo?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

GREAT news

SO FREAKING HAPPY!  We just got physicals this morning and Rob's blood pressure is perfect.  Why is this so exciting?  Well even though Rob is at the gym 6 days a week and he's not overweight, his blood pressure was alarmingly high.  It runs in his fam.  At last year's physical the doctor checked Rob's BP four times because it read so high that the doc didn't believe the numbers.  He told Rob to head straight to the pharmacy, don't even go home first, AND please don't ever forget any pills.  Rob went to a lot of follow up visits to monitor the meds so none of these numbers are flukes.  His meds came with the warning of shitty side effects that all drugs come with.  In a years' time they had only a minor effect on his blood pressure. 
So at Christmas we got a vitamixer and started pounding down veggies, while cutting WAY back on meat and dairy.  Three months later, a blood test showed Rob's cholesterol was already down to just a smidge over norm but I bet now it is norm also.  Today it has been about 5 months since we started searching the internet and eating smoothies.  And you know?  I actually LIKE eating them.  Well, after this news, I LOVE eating them.  Hippocrates - "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"  Oh, and since there is a side effect to everything you put in your body or brain, I will tell you there HAS been a side effect to smoothies.  We feel good.  Laughably, Rob is not impressed.  Like what?  This night and day difference in such a short period of time could be a coincidence?  WhatEVER!  I say we kicked genetics in the ass.  Rob's blood pressure meds are so nasty that he has to be weaned off.  After that, we will be thumbing our noses at big pharma.  WOOHOOOO!

OK, so this mosaic is just a happy little 6x6 mosaic I made last week.  "butterfly bling"  I thought it fit my mood.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Go Tar Heels!

What a stellar day.  I finished this work last week and it just got picked up.  This is what I live for and I kind of feel like, "How does it get any better?"  I don't always get to see people's reactions when they buy my work so this goosebump moment is something I treasure.  I gotta say, I LOVE commissions and this one was one of the best.  This one got me a check AND A HUG! 
I am not trying to pose as a sports fan.  I don't get sports at all... but for two weeks, I was all about tar heels.  I could have been their biggest fan!  I was searching all over the internet  looking for stuff about the player that was chosen and trying to see details that could be incorporated.  I even sought council from a tar heel aficionado, thanks Ryan!   This commission was fun, the final results pleased me, and pleased my client.  Those three things are all that is necessary for me to call it a flying success.
Oh, and am I worried about someone saying I copied their stuff?  Well, I didn't use any logos.  Colors are fair game.  Carolina did not invent argyle or a foot, and a two letter combo would be hard to lay claim to.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


So last night was the reception that MifflinMiddle gave to present the kids' mosaic to their parents. What a night...for real.  House was packed! They gave me flowers and this photo of most of the kids that helped.  The teacher I had been working with on the mosaic was the one that orchestrated the whole shebang.  The night was a collaboration involving kids and arts.  The kids provided music, both instrumental and vocal.  There was kids' visual art everywhere on the walls.  There were high school tech kids that did all the food AND they were shadowed by middle school kids.  I mean mini stained glass cupcakes??!!  COME ON!   
Maybe the best part was talking to a girl that said she was in one of the Mifflin high school classes that I spoke to last week.  She was there with her mom.  It feels good to know that some of the things I have been preaching are sinking in.  This 10 foot tall mosaic is just evidence of truth in my message- that everyone is capable of big things.  Please notice how young these kids are!  I took in cement board and sheets of glass.  BLAM!  You just know it looks 10x better in person too.  On the frame of the picture they gave me, it says, "enjoy the little things."  You know I do... but this was not a little thing.  This was one of the really big things.  So grateful.  Thank you Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for making this mosaic happen.  Thank you Cassie for going so far above and beyond.

Monday, March 11, 2013

America's favorite (cookie)

This whole thing started with a photo I had seen of an Oreo shown beside a Mayan calendar.  I had thought the texture was something that would be really fun and it started my wheels turning.  Once I got the Oreo done, someone said, "You need a glass of milk."  So skip the glass cause I prefer mine splashy, striped, and dotted. Then I was thinking of all these black and white things that might look good with an Oreo and with these in mind, I figured a UPC code could also work as a cool signature tile.  Mix that up and there you go.  "America's favorite (cookie)" is 36 x 20 inches.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

cookies and cream

OK, first of all, this is not nearly finished.  I hardly ever show my mosaics ungrouted because they are like unfinished paintings.  This will look WAY better with grout but you can see where I am going.  This is the top half of my oreo mosaic and the bottom will be mostly stuff like my stripes and bubbles.  Hope this is done in about a week, who knows?  But YES, I finished my video for my last piece.  Here's the link to MEEP believing. on youtube.



Friday, February 8, 2013

MEEP believing!

I have been at this (hot and heavy) since before Christmas.  I gotta explain why I chose to do Jim Henson as my first ever actual portrait.  I have always been a Henson fan but when he featured David Bowie in a full length movie, that put me over the edge.  Think about this:  What kind of nutter thinks they can puppet for a living?  As a young man, what do you think his friends and fam thought when he probably talked about his ambitions?  Serious props to this guy. 

Now I know you shouldn't judge a muppet by the color of his fur but I am biased when it comes to blue and green.  Besides that, I just think it is cool to add a glass beaker!  Yunk yunk.  I hope to finish a video of this shortly.  Fingers crossed.

I have been criticized for my philosophies but I am finding more often than not that the people that I admire have the same thinking.  Just google Henson quotes and you could learn a lot.  I'll leave you with his most famous. "Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending."  Amen, Jim!  I'll do just that. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

manhole cover?

Nothin' says lovin'... like a BMF cookie in the oven.  Sure, my friends and fam all know that I pale in comparison to Rob in the cooking department.  But once in a while I come through.  These photos were both taken this morning.  One photo is in MY oven.  The other photo is what ROB is cooking today.  Who is the clear winner on New Year's Day, huh?  This is a 10 inch tile for another mosaic.  The yuckier photo is hog maw, Rob's fave meal and we eat it every newyear's day.  Yeah, I don't eat that part.