15 October 2011

Finishing the Leafy Mosaic Table Top


wow, it looks so bright and lovely at night!
The grouting is done and now so am I.

02 October 2011

Leafy Mosaic table top, second stage

I used clear silicone to glue glass drops and ceramic pieces onto the glass centre. I will use black grout to fill the spaces in-between the glass drops.
I re-arranged the leaves. Tomorrow I can start glueing the pieces down. The edge tiles should be coming out the kiln now.
the black grout will change the effect a lot. be prepared for that.
A lantern hanging under the table, or a sunbeam will illuminate the centre of the table.
all ready to start sanding sharp edges and then sticking them down. This is the boring and slow part. I only manage small sections at a time. But doing things properly now saves a lot of hassle later.

Lots of work to do, and I am IMPatient, I dont want to wait any longer, I want to  finish this in time for the Leisure Isle crafts festival in 2 weeks time (I think)
Knysna Loerie Mosaic insert
the edge tiles are on, and the filling in begins.

21 September 2011

Leafy Mosaic table top project - first steps

The 18mm thick Fibre cement Nutec surface is primed with bonding liquid/ key coat. Just waiting for the edge tiles and a few more inserts for the middle. These will match the 4 chairs, which have mosaic seats in the same theme and colours. I will add more posts as I make progress

the leafy inserts and mosaic pieces are laid out on prepared substrate

the centre of the table will have glass mosaic inserts applied with clear silicone

10 September 2011

More mosaic seats

Here are a few more pictures of mosaic seats I am busy making.
Among all of these chairs, there are 4 that will belong to a set, with a matching table top.
The ceramic inserts (leaves, birds, flowers) and edge tiles are being fired and glazed in greens and complimentary hints of cream and amber etc and I am looking forward to getting started, and having a matching set! (instead of all the crazy colour combos I seem to do)

outdoor mosaic studio

starting a new seat
before grouting

"Jeremiah was a bullfrog..." Mosaic seat on a wrought iron chair.
part of a set of 4 chairs and table
organised chaos

I am also making a table top for the four greenish mosaic seats, so it will be a matching set. As the centre of the table has to be cut out for the glass section, I had a nice round board. I used some lime green fish and shell inserts- old stock, mirror pieces and deep red mosaic tiles made at Knysna Pottery House to make this mirror. Not everyone's 'cup of tea'. A visitor to the shop this morning said it was "gaudy". Oh well, I get tired of blues sometimes and enjoy a shocking colour combo occasionally..
Lime and deep orange fishy mosaic

22 August 2011

Mosaic seats for garden chairs

I have had 4 old wrought iron chairs for about 20 years and their wooden seats  had rotted away, rust was showing up under the peeling paint and they looked very sad and shabby. Time to "upcycle" some old furniture so that it will last another 20 years at least.

the chair with new seat but the same old paint job

the seat before grouting

shadows across the mosaic look interesting

My inspirational red cat, surveying the scene

I tried various methods of preparation:
 1)The first 2 chairs i did by hand-  First I scraped and sanded off the old paint. (8 hours of slog)
painted with Hammerite paint. (special paint for metal)

2) Getting cleverer now- I took the last two to a local metal shop and they sandblasted and spray painted or paint dipped the chairs. He also re-welded two weak areas. They are as Good as new but the bill was R600 (ouch)

So at last I have my own 4 chairs completed with new mosaic seats. Since then I have asked a local artist John Ross, to make a beautiful wrought iron chair for display at the October Leisure Isle craft Fair, commissioned CXsteel to make a chair too, and adopted 4 chairs at the pottery house that need mosaic seats. All of a sudden I have 10 mosaic chair examples- of which 5 are already completed.

there are three more chairs like this that will also get mosaic seats, using green leaf inserts, birds, angels etc

the olive thrush likes it

I used 9mm fibre cement board, prepared with bonding liquid before mosaicing.  I use what ever I can find in the mosaic insert boxes at the pottery house, and combine them with reject tiles from the reject pile in the corner of the garden. I like to show what is possible with what is immediately available, often selecting some forgotten or unappreciated experimental handmade tiles at the bottom of the pile.

After the mosaic and grouting is all dry and complete, the reverse side of the Nutec/Fibre Cement board should be painted with a waterproof paint.  The chair will be able to handle sun, rain and storms.

I learned that 2nd hand chairs are the best and most affordable, and if you scrounge around you could find free cast iron chairs that just need some love. If you insist on a certain design, a local, artistic metalworker can make it for you, but this will cost a lot more.
I will add photos of the other completed mosaic seats when I do a follow up post... Have fun mosaicing.

28 June 2011

Fishy Mirror Mosaic Project

Annie and Frank from Germany saw my fishy mirror on the pottery house's website and asked me to make them a similiar one in a specific size for their holiday cottage in Sedgefield., South Africa.
Annie and Frank's Fishy Mirror
It took me about a week to make it, but that was only working on it a few hours a day,
First I had to nag and nag my husband to cut the board with his angle grinder.

Then, once that was achieved, I used a rasp to tidy the edges and then sanded them off a bit.
Painted the Bonding liquid onto the Nutec board
Glued the mirror on to the board
Played around with composition of fish and glass nuggets

I used scrap mirror pieces also 3mm thick, which is easy to cut using the glass mosaic cutters.
and arranged the broken mirror around the fish mosaic inserts and glass drops.
Used the ready mixed white adhesive from Tylon to glue it all down
Finally once all was dry, it was ready for grouting.

Once the grout had started setting, I wiped off the excess, making sure to fill  holes in the edges and smooth down any messy bits on the back edge of the mosaic. Here is the mirror, just after grouting. It still needs to be carefully cleaned, grouting touched up if necessary. Then the back of the board must be painted, and  it will be complete.
 Not too easy to photograph a mirror as it reflects the colours in the room and the shy photographer.

30 May 2011

Smashing broken cups and plates to make a mosaic

I have been collecting my brother John's beautiful ceramic pieces for years. Often they are things he would not approve of  me using as he does not sell many rejects- he smashes them, as his standards are so very high. I rescue some pieces when I can.  Of course I do have pieces that were once perfect too. Things do break.  After some effort, I trained everyone not to throw any broken thing away, although I still lost a few pieces due to family ruffians and ignorant people in my living space.

One quiet Sunday afternoon I started this project, but ran out of John's broken pieces. . I used one of my own pieces, a plate my husband had decorated and one of my earliest teacher Barbara Strauss's stoneware mugs ,  but had to stop and wait a month, before I could get some more beautiful shards from John's Swellendam studio.

I started by smashing them up with a hammer after covering with a thick layer of newspaper. I discovered later that the glass mosaic cutters worked very well on the pieces too. High fired porcelain is quite similar to glass.

I arranged them in squares and the design sort of developed from there. I glued them all down carefully. The 2nd batch of broken stuff I got via my mom included a stunning teapot which had a perfect lid.

Grouting this mosaic was quite daunting as the edges of the pieces are very sharp- and you might see bits of sponge still on the mosaic as the photos were taken while the grout was still drying. Not a good idea to fall against this mosaic- it could be very nasty. So it should be kept out of the reach of small children or wobbly adults.
cracked fish tea party

John's  perfect  and still entirely whole work can be seen on :http://johnnewdigate.com