“I just want to drink coffee and make pretty things!”
I’ve used that quote before, in “Coffee and Pretty Things”, but it is so true for me that I had to use it again. In fact, I think I need to change it to “I just want to drink coffee and make everything!” So I have been thinking lately about what it is (besides the coffee part) that makes me want to make things all the time. And why the relatively new fascination with mosaic?
Well, I know that if I stayed off Pinterest, I wouldn’t be constantly coming across ideas for every craft project known to man, but I don’t think that adequately explains it. I have always liked to draw and make things, but mosaic is one art form I had never even thought of doing until the “Sago Palm Pot” , around this time last year. Actually, the Whimsical Mushroom (which has since been stolen out of my front yard, more on that later) and the Long and Winding Curb came first, but it wasn’t until the sago palm pot that I realized how much I enjoy doing mosaic.
I think it’s the idea of creating something beautiful, or at the very least different, out of pieces that would be useless or unattractive by themselves that has drawn me to this art form.
There is a story I have always loved in the devotional book “Springs in the Valley” put together by Mrs. Charles Cowman (first published in 1939), in an entry she credits to James H. McConkey. The story tells of a beautiful stained glass cathedral window that was irreparably smashed into pieces by a storm. The shards of glass were put into a box by the devastated congregation and stored in the church cellar.
Window and broken glass photos from Pixabay.
One day a man came to see the famous window, and upon being told of its fate, asked if he could have the glass fragments. Weeks later the custodians of the cathedral were summoned to the studio of a noted artist who specialized in glass. He presented them with a new window, created entirely of their broken pieces, and it was reported to have been even more beautiful than the original. The location and name of the artist aren’t given, so it may just be a story, but the message is there regardless. Beauty can come out of ashes, and sometimes brokenness can make us better.I found this book, not a bit by accident, in 2016 while Mark was in home hospice. In the story, (explained further in the post “It Will Be Okay”), best friends Little Fox and Little Seed make it through a dark and scary time together, after Little Seed gets planted by the kind and wise Farmer. The friends are reunited when Little Seed grows into a beautiful tree. Since then, foxes by trees have held a special place in my heart – and consequently, my art.
So it would only follow that eventually I would decide to make a Little Fox mosaic. I saw a fox mosaic online that looked easy enough to draw, so I used it as a “model”.
Of course I had to put “MA + DK ” (Mark Andrew and Debra Kay) on the tree. Not that I approve of people carving initials in trees, you understand, but it’s just a drawing. (Rest assured, no trees were carved in the making of this art.)I didn’t want to use square tiles like the ones used in the mosaic from Pinterest, so I used stained glass. I couldn’t get the mouth to curve up to look like a cute smile, but I thought this looked okay.
Gradually Little Fox and Little Seed (aka tree) began to take shape.
One of the hardest parts for me is always getting the tiny pieces of the sky in between the other parts like leaves and grass. And you can see that the “grout gap” is a little wider in some spots than it should be. I’ve learned a lot about grout recently by reading the articles by Joe Moorman, from Mosaic Arts Supply. If you have questions about pretty much anything related to mosaic, he probably has the answer on his blog.Eventually it was time to peel the mesh from the pattern and glue it to the background. I found the perfect background at Hobby Lobby. I didn’t want another tray, since I already have three trays (one peacock and two elephants)!
I had painted a border around the background, thinking it would show, but then I realized it would be better to bring the design all the way to the edge. For the border I used square glass tiles I had ordered online from the aforementioned Mosaic Art Supply. The company is in Georgia, so it does cost a bit for postage, but since they offer a variety of supplies I can’t find in Fresno, I figured the postage is way cheaper than going all the way to Georgia to get them myself! I glued the square tiles along the very edge of the board and then filled in the empty spaces around the design.I decided on gray for the grout, and I was happy with the results.
“Okay, Mom, when are you going to write about the mosaic of me?”