Monday, March 30, 2009

Mosaic Portraiture

The making of Christopher

Gather your supplies:
1. Photograph that you want to use for your subject
(at least 8x10)

2. 11x14 art board (use an art board as opposed to
stretched canvas, as stretched canvas will move
and possibly detach tesserae from surface).

3. Tracing paper

4. Transfer paper

5. Weldbond glue

6. Stained glass, nippers, tweezers, glass cutter,
whatever tools you prefer to nip and cut...

Step 1 - Choose your photograph

Step 2- Trace outline of photograph onto tracing paper. (this tracing is from another mosaic...I couldn't find the one from “Christopher”)‏

Step 3- Transfer outline onto art board using transfer paper. Tape transfer paper and tracing paper to art board to prevent shifting. Be sure to shade any and all shadows and variations in tones, or value changes. These subtleties are what gives your portrait life!

Begin with the eyes, then the nose, then work outward.

Don't be afraid to use color! A color wheel is a very useful tool to find out how colors relate to each other, which ones might work together and which ones probably won't.

I like to use Van Gogh glass for the background. It is available in a variety of color variations that will complement your portrait.

This picture was taken just after grouting.

About The Author

Ramona Hovey started working with stained glass about 10 years ago, working in both copper foil and lead came techniques.

About 3 years ago I discovered mosaics and it seemed to fit right in with what I wanted to convey to women who are trapped in the horrible cycle of domestic violence and abuse. As I work with broken pieces of pottery, shards of stained glass, or discarded trinkets, I envision the broken lives of people struggling with violence and abuse at the hand of one who claims to love them. As I see these broken, discarded pieces come together to form something beautiful or pleasing to the senses I am reminded of the hope and the promise that is available for those women, children and families, if we will but work to reach them.

My hope, is that through my outreach ministry with the S.O.S. Mission at St. Paul's Church in Asheville, NC, I will reach these families and help equip them with the tools necessary to put the pieces of their lives back together to make something beautiful.

Here is some of her work.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Double Direct Method on Mesh

The double direct method on mesh is one method of laying your tessarae onto your substrate. What is great about this is if your substrate is vertical or 3D this really helps. It is easier to keep your pattern & very flexible in that you can install it anywhere, whether it is on a tabletop, kitchen backsplash, or an outside mural. The versatility is tremendous.

You will need fiberglass mesh before you begin. It is very important to use fiberglass mesh since it takes much longer for it to deteriorate than other mesh. This is sold in square yard sections or you can get it in a continuous roll - I call it drywall tape.

I am using the drywall tape in the roll as this is what I have on hand. Now mine is a little dirty because I used this roll when making cement leaves for a reinforcement between layers of cement and cement is rather messy. But I think it helps in the pictures to see how it works. It is a little sticky so it helps holding the tape to each other.

  • Layer 1 - Pattern

  • Layer 2 - Wax paper or Saran Wrap

  • Layer 3 - Mesh

  • Layer 4 - Tessarae

Here is a pic of the different layers. You can use Weldbond to glue your tessarae onto the mesh as well as other glues. I am using Dap Kwik Seal Kitchen & Bath Adhesive Caulk in the clear






Here I am gluing the tessarae down over the pattern and the mesh. My pattern isn't exact - just a rough sketch but since it was retangular in shape I didn't really need it to be exact. The tessarae is some broken dishes.



The finished birdhouse. I'm already thinking of making the roof white. I can take the tessarae off easily when I change my mind.

You can either glue or use thin set mortar to place the mesh and tessarae onto your substrate and then grout.

What's great about using the mesh, I plan on making different flowers on mesh too. I will then glue all the different flowers & the birdhouse on a big piece of mesh together to make the design complete and then glueing onto the substrate. I'm doing this so I can do placement of everything on the final piece.