Thursday, December 26, 2013

Love in Vermont

A couple of months back I was commissioned to do a Mosaic piece for an acquaintance of mine. She had just been married this year to the love of her life and wanted a Christmas/ Wedding gift for him. They recently moved to Vermont, her home state, and where he had never lived before. She said that he loved gardening and the natural beauty of the land here. Who doesn't! It is just beautiful, every season of the year.  She asked for gardens and Vermont landscape during the 4 seasons of the year. We went over a few ideas for layout and some of his favorite plants. She mentioned that they had planted a Birch Tree in their yard as a symbol of their marriage.

This is a design theme that I have always wanted to do. The 4 seasons in New England. Having been in Arizona and California for so many years I always missed the dramatic season change and it has not lost it's charm on me in the 4 years I have been back East. Designing this piece took me a bit. Originally I had the classic 4 squares lined up. Designing a commission for me can be tough in that I cannot force it. The idea needs to evolve in it's own time and eventually it just happens. Not good for deadlines! My husband reminds me every time when I say, "I have no idea where to start" that it will come to me. And it always does. 

Vermont seasons flow into one another if you are conscious of your natural surroundings. If you are not paying attention then the changes happen while you blink. All of a sudden it is Winter and you hear, "When the heck did that happen?". But truly they evolve into one another and I wanted to capture that. 

Christmas morning!
Evan I hope that you enjoy this piece in your home, that it captures Vermont and your LOVE, and that you and your thoughtful wife Skye enjoy it together for many years to come!

Skye, Evan and Dixie

 Thanks to Skye and Evan for sharing your Christmas morning with us!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Serenity in Glass

In 2012 I was asked what my idea of "Serenity" is. I immediately thought of my outdoor bathtub dream. I have always wanted to have an old claw foot bath tub outside on my land (which I will have some day) that is heated by a wood fire or coals of some kind. I also love hanging my clothes out to dry (even more so when I have my land). I have been in Vermont for almost 4 years and I absolutely love it here. I grew up in Connecticut and spent much time up in Northern Maine. I have always loved the landscape in the North East. Back when I was young I dreamed of having my land in Northern Maine. I seemed to be positive that this was where I would settle. Well I have ended up settling in Vermont (which is more perfect than I could have imagined) with my husband, who grew up here, and I will have my first baby any day now. We are actively searching for our land.

So in 2012 after having been asked this question of my serenity, I had designed a stained glass window. What happens with art pieces that are not commissions, is that they come secondary to all other things in my life. They are a luxury, a hobby, an idea that gets started and not always finished. I did a drawing, I chose glass, I cut out my pattern pieces, cut each piece of glass individually ( I believe this piece has around 360 pieces) , wrapped each piece of glass with copper foil tape, and I soldered the whole thing (my favorite part).

Soldering the window together
Soldered! First sight of it with light coming through

Looking back at the above picture of me soldering, I realize just how long ago this was, as I notice that our porch was not yet completed. The window sat soldered and unframed for quite a while, as life carried me away. Wintertime, a wedding, pregnancy, work... Well It was eventually put into it's frame, an old sash I refinished (partially refinished, I like to keep the charm of the older frame) and it is now complete with hooks for hanging (thanks to the help of my husband). As we look for land, expect the arrival of baby I hope the design manifests into reality for me someday. I shouldn't say hope, as I know it will come to be. My "Serenity".

This piece is currently for sale and will be featured over the next 2 months in the window of ORCA Media in downtown Montpelier on East State Street next to La Brioche and across from the Coffee Corner.
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any interest or questions.

Thanks to...
 Scott Sabatino for all of your help 
April McCandless for the photos
ORCA Media

Monday, September 9, 2013

OOooo I can Mosaic that!

I was recently photographing many mosaic art pieces that I have had in storage or filling up my studio and as I prepare for baby to arrive in January, have decided to get out there into the world for sale. I spent a while adding them to my Etsy Store and found myself remembering when I made each piece. A few I made last week but some have been in my life for many years. I studied Mosaic and Stained Glass art in the East Bay in California from 2002-2009 and have continued on in my travels back East. I am sure I have mentioned before that when I drove out of San Francisco I had nothing in my rental car but some personal belongings and my entire glass studio, including a mannequin that I was going to someday mosaic, (still have to do it, eek!).
So anyways, as I photographed some of this older early work I found this...
This was one of the first mosaics that I did on a random found piece of wood. I remember the day. I was at the Ashby Flea Market in Berkeley, which was a fairly regular Saturday trip. I was digging through someone's boxes of ol' fun junk and found an oval of wood with one of those lacquered on pictures. I have no idea now what it was of. Quite possibly a religious image. I was starting to get into mosaics as I had been doing stained glass and had tons of scrap glass. I saw this random wooden oval and thought, " OOOoooo, I could mosaic that!"

Since that day I have re-purposed many random items including a children's head board, a guitar, old window sashes, and many pieces of leftover scrap wood from our apartment building restoration job.
jelly sample jar

on a scrap piece of 2x4 from building project

Clear glass vase from thrift store

2006 Guitar

Children's size headboard found on the side of the road in Berkeley

I know I am not alone.  All mosaic artists have had that moment of "OOOooo I could mosaic that!" Someday I will get to that Mannequin.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

NEW (and old) Mosaics on Etsy!

I spent the other day photographing many of my mosaics, new and old and I have put them all onto my Etsy site for sale!

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Weekend of Mosaics and Tequila!

This past Friday, I packed up the car and headed to Maine to teach Mosaic Birdbaths to a super fun group of woman, AKA The Tequila Club. These women have been friends since high school days and still get together several times a year for fun, music, great food, and Tequila! My Aunt Karen is one of these wild women and asked a while ago if I would teach them a mosaic birdbath workshop as one of their get togethers. I loved the idea. Eventually the weekend arrived and it was a blast!

I brought 18" raw concrete birdbaths, tools and supplies, and buckets full of stained glass, tiles, broken dishes, and various fun gems and jewels. My Volvo wagon was definately low ridin'. Saturday morning I set up Karen's garage and awaited everyone's arrival.
With a demo on tools, materials, and design we got started.  Everyone was happy and anxious to dive into the materials and start designing their pieces. It is always fun to watch everyone begin to grab pieces that they are drawn to for one reason or another. Some know what they want to do right off the bat and never waver, while others grab a few pieces of inspiration and wonder how on Earth it will come together. It always does. Everytime! I love knowing this.

As designs started to take form the ladies began exploring with tools. What nippers for what materials. There were lots of questions, gladly received. Tool use is extremely important to me. If someone is to ever do this again they will need the basis of proper tool use.

With this crowd there were some extra tools. Cocktails and shots! While I probably won't begin suggesting Tequila for classes, it sure did take the edge off and create a fun environment. These girls sure know how to step away from their work and take a break. Very important! 

 And the food... Look at this lunch break. Yum! They also know how to eat. Oh my!

After a lovely lunch, and a mortar demo, the ladies began sticking down pieces. This is a tough commitment for some people but I always encourage at this point for students to embrace their instincts and go for it.


It is so fun to watch the art pieces take shape and see everyone use the tools without asking how anymore. Each piece so unique and everyone's process so individual. As always some finished sooner than others but these friends jumped in to help others when they were stuck for ideas or just needed another set of hands. These were big projects and challenging work for someone's first time doing a mosaic. It was a very long day. I think everyone was ready for the projects to wrap up for the day. They worked on another amazing meal while I cleaned up the workspace and prepped for grouting the next morning. What a fun night of hot tubbing, food, drinks and well deserved relaxation.

Day 2 began after breakfast. The ladies were so excited to go revisit their pieces. They were curious and nervous about grouting. I did a demo, we chose colors and we began to mix grout. 

These ladies worked really hard and boy did it pay off. Their works of mosaic art turned out fantastic. 

 The Tequila Girls and their mosaic projects.
 and their proud teacher. Thanks for having me ladies and I am so glad you enjoyed!