For ease of access to the center area I set the piece in a low trashcan.
Reassembly trumped grouting because I decided I only wanted to have 2 or 3 grout sessions rather than 4 or 5. So with the help of my loving husband (who cut himself the minute he touched the piece, bless him) we put the pieces back together.
For ease of access to the center area I set the piece in a low trashcan.
Once it was back together I filled in the center areas and let them cure before the next, much messier step.
I got the first side grouted and preliminary cleaned, mixed up another batch of grout and worked on the second side.
I always leave a haze when I grout and then come back a day or so later and do a final polish.
It took about 13 days of work to get both sides of the wings, with the exception of the connecting areas, completed.
The inner wings you saw in Part 1.
And here are the outer wings.
Next up, either grouting or reconstruction. I've not completely decided which should come first.
The final piece of the design is a blue background. Here is how I cut the stained glass into usable mosaic pieces.
And here is my technique for adhering them. (I'm working these sections in Opus Vermiculatum, just in chase you were wondering.)
To be continued . . .
Once the green leaf shapes are cut (see yesterday's blog post) the design construction can continue.
Onto the background area tomorrow. . .
Onto the outside of the wings. The first step was to apply silver leaf to translucent amber glass. Below you can see the un-foiled glass, the silver backing (at bottom), and the resulting finished glass (at top).
Add some long, thin pieces of dark brown translucent glass, some red glass for accent, and some pale yellow glass and you have butterflies.
And onto the background. Pink butterfly bush flowers were constructed of pink stained glass circles in a variety of shades and opacities.
You can see from the photo above how nicely the larger wings are going to shine in the sunlight.
Leaves were cut from translucent green glass and the remaining areas filled in with a mix of translucent blue glass.
The video below shows my process for cutting the leaves for this design.
To be continued . . .
The first week in April I brought home an aluminum butterfly sculpture courtesy of http://www.butterfliesandfriends.org/ .
The design I submitted for the project covers the life-cycle of the butterfly and is worked in glass mosaics. The first step was to transfer the design to the wings. Once this was done I started with the inside wing sections. The first thing to be glued on were the "caterpillars".
These caterpillars are made from back-painted clear glass gems with oil enamel paint.
Next the leaf shapes went on. I worked with scrap stained glass sorted into 6 separate tonal qualities.
In the next blog post I'll go through the process of working the outer wings.
Warning: the author is on one of her soapboxes. If you don’t want to listen to a fairly intelligent rant, stop reading now.
Preface: I’m torn. This is something burning in me that I feel I need to write down and publish, but to do so will also “out” me as a Christian. I don’t say that this is a bad thing, but as an artist it’s not always the best label to have attached to you. On the other hand, I hope that this confession does not come as a surprise to you, if you know me at all.
I attended a performance by a professional ballet troupe six days ago, and came away affected. Dance usually does this to me. I am not a dancer, but so many times watching/participating in a performance of dance makes me cry. I watch and think, “yes! That’s exactly how it feels to be . . .” Dance, music, art can say what I feel when I don’t have words in that part of my brain to express it otherwise.
But this performance affected me in ways that disturb me. Sometimes things have to sit in me for a while before I can verbalize why they bother me. This is such a case. Just what was it that disturbed me so?
Their technical mastery of their craft was faultless, but I would expect no less from a professional dancer. The story they told, for the most part, was sound. It discussed the difference between two types of artists. The first was gracious and humble in response to the praise she received for her performance. The second was arrogant and haughty about her position in the company and with those she worked with; a good lesson for anyone living in community.
What I found so disturbing about the performance was their need to heavy-handedly attach a Christian message to the work. This reared its head in only a handful of places through the evening, but it was so stark a contrast to the artistry that it’s left me disturbed enough to want to vent about it.
Why did they feel the need to do this? I can only conclude that they either didn’t trust their art or they didn’t trust their God.
Theory 1—They didn’t trust their art. In their art they had the ability to tell the story effectively without getting heavy-handed. Their message would have come through without “shouting” it as they did. And they certainly did not need for the company spokesperson to reiterate the message of the story after the ballet concluded. One of the characteristics of art is that it can reach the heart where words cannot. But if you attempt to preach through it that reach is stunted.
Theory 2—They didn’t trust their God. When a message is divinely inspired, and they seemed to feel this performance was, you have to trust that God will take it into the soil prepared to hear it. To bludgeon your point home by labeling or preaching it is like planting seeds with a hammer. Sometimes you may hit soil prepared for the seed, other times you will crush your seed against rocks (and injure or discourage yourself in the process).
There was (and may still be for all I know) a trend in Christian “book” stores to sell framed art prints of paintings. All well and good, except that each frame had a plaque on it extolling some scripture or quote that supposedly made the art more acceptable to hang in a Christian home. This ballet performance took place in a church so I suppose the preaching made it more acceptable for Christians to view it (or perhaps some other Christians, obviously not me). Did the preaching sanctify it for Christian viewing. I suppose it’s the same as the companies who edit R-rated films to make them more presentable to Christian audiences.
But that's a whole other rant.
It was [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. . . . (Eph. 4:11-12). If there was only one way to get the message across God wouldn’t have provided a variety of methods to do so.
Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words. (misappropriated to St. Frances of Assisi)
A sunset or symphony will always trump a sermon in communicating truth and beauty.
I started in mosaics in June 2001 and by 2005 installed my first LARGE public art piece at a school. That led to 2 more jobs with the same contractor in 2007 and 2009. 2 years ago I had to make repairs to part of the 2005 installation and this month I was asked how much it would cost to make repairs to part of the 2007 installation.
After extensive research I found that the one of the tile colors I would need to replace was no longer being manufactured and so I structured my bid to replace the whole piece with new tile that would coordinate with a tandem piece nearby. (There were 2 mosaic sections in this particular project and only one is damaged.)
A few days later I received word that the school would be removed and the space filled in with cement, so they would not need my services on this project. I'm not sure if that will mean the removal of the tandem piece as well, but it's not my call, nor my problem.
The deciding factor in their decision is funding. I guess this is the more economical path for the school to take.
At a certain point, many public art mosaics are slated for either repair or removal. It's interesting to me that I've been doing this long enough to have it happen. I'm working on being OK with the removal of some of my public art.
I started with a 9" x 14" piece of 1/4" thick hardboard. For the base layer I collaged blue tissue paper. Then I added strips of other blue paper. Some are solid, some are altered papers from National Geographic Magazine, and some are foiled.
I found a large piece of fused glass that came from somewhere in my collection and knew I wanted to add this as well.
For the mosaic layer I worked in some blue Slivercoat (a clear blue glass with a mirror backing) and strips of clear glass. The background was then finished with a random pattern worked in tempered glass.
The name of the piece reflects the interplay of rhythm between the collage layer and the glass layer. I decided it needed a musical title.
Grey grout finished the work.
I worked on this piece in November 2013. Here you seen the raw boards. I was playing with placement of the shapes. I work with 1/4" hardboard. The smaller pieces were offcuts from earlier pieces and the base was reclaimed from a completely different project.
I wanted to play with the concept of using fabric to "frame" a work and so I covered the whole board with this funky fabric and taped off the area outside the working space. You can also see the two other pieces primed and waiting.
The painting on the boards is complete here. I used 2 different colors and crackle painted for the final coat. Then glued the boards in place
This is what would be called synchronicity, I think. While I was beginning work with this piece I decided to sort through a box of glass that I had lying around. In it I found colors that helped to dictate the fabric choice. However, the glass I found was translucent and the colors would have been lost on the busy background fabric. So I played around with some other items in my studio and came up with a process of back painting the glass that made it opaque, and brightened it up as well.
And here is the finished piece. In addition to the back-painted glass In included pieces of architectural clear glass with the raw edges smoothed down and then worked the remaining space in clear tempered glass.
Oh, and the grout is tinted pink.
In no particular order, I am a wife; an artist working in glass, collage, paint, mosaics, fiber, plastic, and/or computer; an avid reader; an oldest child; president and member of an artists co-op; a former editor and grammar freak; teacher; friend; singer; and/or all-around know-it-all.