Monday, October 30, 2017

happiest glass chameleon ever

Ya!  "be the change" is 20 x 36 inches.  Wow, now that I am sharing more of my ideas as I am working on something, I am noticing just how much I change my mind.  I reread a previous post and see that I was going to put purple flowers in this.  I can't even imagine that now.  I was looking over notes that I made for myself and instead of beetles, it was to be dragon flies.  Weird.
Anyway, this is a really simple signature tile but I stand behind it.  I try to add a little fun close to my signature in some form, like paint spatter on the frame or some type of deviation in the border.  In this case, I put the beetles right there.
These dots and "beads" are strewn through the whole mosaic.  Virtually everything featured is rounded, the background is all square and rectangular.
I have a few extra photos of the chameleon fabrication in a  video on a Bored Panda post.  If you're on BP, give it a thumbs up, please! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

fern and fiddlehead

This is where my chameleon is right now.  A few of these tiles have moved since this photo but almost all of them are now adhered.  Then actually everything else should be breezy.  The chameleon, fiddleheads, and fern are curvy.  Everything else will be square or rectangle, brown or green.  I have some cool mottles to work with. When it gets to this part, I put in long days because I hate to quit. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

here she is!

Well, I tossed my original face and started over.  Having figured everything before, this face only took two firings! Second results are WAY better.  The other one was over fired and started to lose it's shape. Then ultimately, it cracked in half which made my decision to toss it real easy.  Thanks, Universe.  The above photo is a fast and dirty phone photo of most parts laying on a piece of black glass.  I am not yet sure what I will do with the tongue, probably shorten it.  Fling it up? Wave it down? The bottom two tongue pieces are just laying there to give me ideas.  Today I will be working on her two right paws and the branch she will be clinging to.  I have to add her right eye yet, which might be difficult because there is only a tiny bit showing.  But I really want to show her eyes in two directions.  That is the whole reason I worked so hard to find a face that is turned slightly toward me.  I used one photo for a reference of the top half and one for the bottom.  The body is just the same typical, chameleon photo. 

So far, I AM IN LOVE with her.  Gonna be even more happiness if I can get a good front paw with her palm facing me. Then I just need to make the rest of the mosaic to do her justice.  I think I will add a flower for her food to sit on.  I already know I want two bugs.  One will be her right eye focus, the other for her left eye.  Probably all greens and maybe a purple flower.  We'll see.  Green fiddleheads?  Hmmmm

Friday, October 6, 2017


This chameleon has been kicking my butt.  I think I am ONE firing away from finished.  The whole reason I did a chameleon in the first place is the skin texture.  There are very few decisions left here and then I am just adding the remainder of texture layer to her skin.  Seriously, I can hardly stand it.

I listed things I wanted to see. With about ten photos of chameleons, I narrowed down to the three that I sized and printed so I could cut and piece together to make a chameleon in the position I wanted.  On the back of the above list, I have a list just as long of the things I am adding as I am omitting things from the original list.  For instance, I blew past paisley, and I changed my mind to put her tail in front of the branch which is still in my head.
A good reason to do a chameleon is to get crazy with color.  However, I only think in blue so why fight that?  Credit me for being a little adventurous with some green and yellow on her lips and side. 
I have so few decisions left, like what to do with her tongue or even if she has any at all. As soon as I get these pieces all in the kiln, I can start on her two paws for the legs on her opposite side.  I would love to see the underside of her paw whitish but I have to really think about what the background of this mosaic will be.  If I do a black background a light purple paw will be cool.  Yeah, I just talked myself into that... or green.  Hmmmm.
This was after the first firing.  I over-fired and had to recut the tail and mouth. I have made so many eye parts and I am really happy with the eighth one.  Ewww, no, not the one in the above picture.

Both the above eye parts got trashed already.  The one part was reworked and fired two additional times before it landed in the trash.  I just want to point out why my definition of failure is quitting.  There is just so much bullshit that you just won't see in the end result of anything cool that anyone does.  I don't even call these mistakes, they are just part of the path to the eye that looks good enough for my story. The one that I am firing onto her face tonight (hopefully) is exactly how I had envisioned.  I had to stack blue glass and I used my wet saw like a grinder to sculpt this crazy little thing about as big as the tip of my thumb.  So let's see how the day goes.  I might be so excited tomorrow that I do a blog post two days in a row.  I could also wake up to find... Nope. Not going to jinx myself.

Monday, September 18, 2017

all you need is...

I had so much fun with "paint drips" that I completed another one for a gift.  I have it hanging in my house till I give it to them.  Check out that iridescent!  I inquired of the recipients and they said RAINBOW.  I wanted their paint to drip over white but wanted it to be interesting.   I have to wait till November to post it on Facebook so I can surprise them, but you get a preview.  All you need is love, love.  LOVE is all you need.

The one I finished for my own kitchen works so well with my rainbow backsplash.  My kitchen is such a happy place.  The bottom photo is to show you the "drips" on the floor.

All you need is love, love. love is all you need.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I need something for my kitchen wall.  This got started a while back but I stepped away for a bit.  It is probably hard for you to see where this is going but I almost know the end at this point.  When finished and grouted, it should look like a white canvas with a subtle patchy grey gradient at the bottom... that got paint dripped on it.  Adhering the "paint" first means that I cannot trace around the individual drips which makes it harder to cut the background.  But I couldn't work with so many loose parts all over.

I think this will carry the right weight when it gets grey grout in the cracks.  A lot going on in one place so it is hard to tell yet.  We'll see.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

second act

While I have been meaning to get on here and write about the above mosaic, another cool thing happened.  I submitted to American Craft Week's call for people that do art as their "second act."  I got accepted into their on-line exhibit!  Second Acts  I have already blog posted the works they chose of mine but geez, the other artists' work is to die for.  Yeah, check it out. So thrilled to have been included.

Friday, June 23, 2017

chopping wood, carrying water

Yesterday was a super fun road trip day.  I don't always get to see my work after it is installed, but I decided to hire my favorite photographer, Jim Whetstone, and go see some of my recent projects.  Each stop was a great joy because I re-live memories of so many kids' stories.   Framing and installation always elevates the work that we did in the residency. This Milton Black Panthers' mosaic will have the frame painted black, presumably before school starts in the fall.  

The huge window above the panther made a really tough lighting situation for a photograph.  I just snapped this with my phone to show how light was bouncing around everywhere, EXCEPT on the mosaic where we wanted it.  I am really anxious to see what Jim was able to come up with.  Half of the four projects we went to involved mirror which makes things even more difficult.  Yeah, pro photos coming but I just couldn't wait. Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?

Check out Jim's work. On his home page, click on all galleries, then California light.  Whoah, right?  He's a really nice guy to work with.  Life is good.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

then for fun...

I would have a really fun time driving around on trash day and collecting things to be upcycled. For now, I have enough stuff in my own place to work on.  We had a really old picnic table that had a warped top.  I still liked it but it really bothered Rob.  We came to a perfect compromise to just replace the top.  I had this great idea about how much fun it would be to do together.  I can tell you that this was the first and last mosaic project for Rob.  It isn't anything fancy, just left over stuff in my shop.  We are both happy with the results and maybe it gave him a greater appreciation for what I do. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

end of the school year

I can't say enough thank-yous to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for hiring me to do these residencies.  I want to again hire my photographer to shoot all four of these projects and will post in situ photos.  For now, I am going to share some of the photos that are of what goes on. 

 I'm anxious to see all these projects together and hung.  I am so proud of them that I have decided to make a serious effort to change my work's direction.  Way back when I was trying to decide if I should do mosaic or fused glass, I knew I should combine both.  Now, I am hoping to find ways to combine my own art with these projects because, frankly, I am addicted to both.
Who wouldn't love working with these two?
For one thing, twenty people at one time can get a whole lot of work done, FAST.  Sure, there are stinkers to contend with, and I don't always get through to them all.  I don't expect to. But when I can get through to one of these tough nuts, it is an indescribable high.  I can tell you that every day of this 40 day stretch, I was looking forward to going to "work."
One school, had a project where each kid got to make their own tile, then we started on the mosaic. 
In the third one, each kid got to do his own little section of a feather.  They chose a color and we assigned real estate.
 They made their own little video of the process and put it out on FUSFOO

 The last one was huge mirror letters that the school wanted in a mosaic of their school colors.  I was dying to do something with Ben Day dots so I was thrilled. 

For right now, I have to work on lining up some epic projects.  WOOHOOOOO!