Frog finds a new home (or the creation of the Lily Pond Mosaic)

Wonderful world! My friend and fellow mosaic artist Lynn Adamo and I applied for a large public art project in McMinnville, Oregon last year for a new bus station/rerouting center.

Well, we didn’t get that gig, but luckily for us, one of the folks who was present for that selection process saw and liked our work. They have hired us to do a different project for the McMinnville Library renovation that is happening now! We, of course, said “YES!”

frog3It all started with a bronze frog sculpture that was gifted to the library some years ago.

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This cute contemplative frog is being relocated because of the renovations. He needed a new home, and we were being hired to create it!

The client requested a mosaic “pond” to be sited in an existing planter bed close to the front doors.

Bed_angled corner1Now… Lynn and I live at opposite ends of the state. We weren’t really sure how we were going to do this, but this is what we decided.

I did the design, color lily pad v4

and she did the in person meetings (since she’s far closer to McMinnville) and got a full sized copy made of my design. We chose and ordered tiles with lots of back and forth, online and on the phone.

And then Lynn made the cutest maquette ever!

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 6.59.29 PMTo begin the hands on part, we met up in Bend, at our friend Rochelle’s awesome studio Wild Rose Artworks (thanks Rochelle), to split the materials and layout the full size cartoon onto mesh.

Next we tiled along the imaginary center line, then when it was set over night, we cut the mesh into two large halves and brought them back to our respective homes to work on them.

20150206_162511So far, this is how it’s going on my end.

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I am also on the search, via a rock hound friend, to find the perfect rock for the frog sculpture to sit on in the center of the pond.

Fingers crossed!

In addition to all this great work that’s finally going on, I was accepted into the Rogue Gallery 2015 Biennial! The show is a collection of works from artists of the Rogue Valley. Please check it out when you can, it opens Feb.20th (from 5-8 pm) and will run through April 10th 2015.

Hope to see you there!

50 Shades of Clay (or the making of the Equamore mural)

20150218_160346Greetings to all my loyal friends and art enthusiasts!

I wanted to let you all know what is happening in my life and on the Horses of Equamore mural (FINALLY!).

2014 was a crazy busy year for me, beginning with receiving a $4,000 grant from the Haines Foundation of Ashland in late July! I proposed creating a mural I could call my creation from start to finish as a way to build my portfolio and help myself get future work as a mosaic artist. I was excited, but also a bit daunted, as I knew I would have to raise at least $10,000 more in order to really “get paid” for all my work.

I chose the theme of the mural, the horses of the Equamore Foundation, as I felt that there was a strong connection between the community of Talent where I live, and the horse culture that is all around us here in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. I was introduced to the foundation by Anna Clay, owner of the Grotto Pizza where the mural will be installed. Anna is a huge supporter of animal welfare causes, so it seemed a good match to me, and luckily she agreed! Here is a link to the mock up of what the mosaic will look like, minus a good number of wildlife tiles that will be added in to the final piece, in situ.

I also had to go through the City of Talent to get approval from the City Council, and still have to get permits finalized through Planning before installation on the Grotto.

In August I put together an Indiegogo.com crowd funding campaign which started in early September and ran for a month. I slowly started raising money one dollar (or sometimes 75 cents!) at a time.indigogo card copy

In addition to the horses, the mural will also include many other examples of wildlife that can be found in Southern Oregon. I “sold” folks the chance to have their names put onto an animal tile from a selection of around 45 tiles, which will be set into the final mosaic as an integral piece, rather than as an aside. I liked the idea, which I borrowed with permission from Eileen Barr who co-created the 163 steps project in San Francisco. She was a great resource for me in terms of how to handle fundraising and integrating the community into the project. Thanks Eileen!

I was ultimately successful in the last hours of the campaign and made my goal, which enabled me to pay a lower fee to Indiegogo and keep more for the project! THANK YOU to everyone who pitched in, large or small, it all matters! I am feeling so blessed and so happy to have the support of the community, my friends, and my family.

Then I took the next 6-8 weeks for prepping wares for the annual Clayfolk Show and Sale at the Medford Armory, which was also quite a success. More good vibes!

I began right after the Clayfolk Show getting set up to create this giant project consisting of a 27 foot long, 2.5 foot tall handmade ceramic tile mosaic depicting the horses of the Equamore Foundation, a local rescue for abused and neglected horses.

I purchased a “portable” carport/tent to use as an outdoor annex to my tiny studio. You can see the back of my studio just in front of the tent.

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It looks small here, but is 12 x 20 feet of room that I’m loving having already. It will be even nicer when it warms up and I can be out there all the time!

Next, my friend Rick Evans, fellow artist, and previous co-worker from Illahe Tileworks, found me a used slab roller on Craigslist.20150119_142143I’ve wanted one of these for a long time, but never had the space. Now I do! It’s very exciting and I rolled out my first slab today. I’m a little rusty on the how part, but it HAS been about 6 years since I’ve used one of these babies. And I’m attempting to do large slabs of clay — approximately 24″ x 30″. I’m feeling my age today!

Once I’m done with this blog post and the slab has stiffened up just a little, I will begin to cut out the shapes for the first pieces. Whoot! Whoot!

I had the full mural design blown up onto paper at 111% original size to use as a template. I coated the entire thing with clear contact paper to protect it from tearing and make it more resistant to the moisture in the clay.20150129_131949 Then I cut out pieces from the template that would be more manageable in size and shape. I made a corresponding “map” of the final piece so I knew where each piece would go once they were finished.

Yep. I pretty much just made a giant puzzle!

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Each of these pieces will be placed on the clay and cut around as well as transferring the design to the face of the tile as a guide. I still am a little undecided how I’ll tackle creating “mosaic” pieces for the background, but I think it’ll work out. Sometimes you have to figure things out as you do them to see what will work and what won’t.

And finally today, I’ve been creating my own version of the whole 50 Shades genre by doing glaze tests for the project. My own 50 Shades of Clay!20150218_160346

I am using Amaco Velvets underglaze with a clear sprayed on top to bring out the color and protect it from the dirt and weather. I’m loving the palette so far. I realize there are only 48 colors here, but more tests are on the way!

That’s where I am on the process so far, as I am concurrently working on a public commission for the McMinnville Library. This will be a lily pond mosaic I’m co-creating with my friend and fellow mosaic artist Lynn Adamo of Hillsboro. Coverage on that project in the next blog post!

Oh! and don’t miss seeing how all the Haines Foundation recipients used their grant money — join all 18 of us at the Ashland Art Center on March 6th (First Friday) from 5-8pm for an exhibit of everyone’s works and works in progress!

Time for the Art for the Home & Garden Show and Sale!

Well a true spring has finally come to the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon, and I have been working hard to create several new items of art for the Art for the Home & Garden  Show and Sale that I hope you will enjoy in addition to some tried and true favorites.

First, mosaic jewelry.

2014-03-31 14.16.17 2014-03-31 14.23.12 2014-03-31 14.21.54   Beautiful handcrafted tiny works of art to decorate your already awesome selves. I have selected beautifully crafted silver plated and solid copper bezels as my substrate, then I cut teenie tiny bits of glass, ceramic tile, semi precious stones and Italian millifiore and Mexican smalti to arrange artfully and tastefully within the bezel. After adhering these pieces and allowing them to dry, I grout them all in with a nice deep charcoal grout. Now they are ready to wear to impress your friends. I get noticed every time I wear mine! I have a large selection of one-of-a-kind pendants to choose from.

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Mosaic pendants by Miss Mosaic (red oval with hearts has been sold)

Next, I’m in the process of creating ceramic flowers to adorn your gardens.

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Ceramic and steel garden art flower BEFORE glaze has been added.

I start by rolling out and stamping wet clay, allowing it to get close to leather hard before cutting it into shapes sort of like making sugar cookies, but without the handy cutters (still need to make those). After they have dried for a few days, I bisque fire them then will coat them with glazes that capture the beautiful textures, and refire to a higher temp (2100F). Afterwards, they’ll be ready to stack into colorful flowers and place onto their “stems” of steel, with leaves welded onto them.

In addition, I made a large beautiful mosaic butterfly, suitable to hang indoors or out.

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Garden art butterfly by Miss Mosaic

These will brighten your garden or home no matter what the season!

I also have art for your home too!

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Mosaic birds for your home by Miss Mosaic

Cute little mosaic birds I created can decorate your walls to bring a little bit of nature inside and brighten up a room. These I made by cutting MDF board out in bird shapes I sketched out, then sanded and sealed with Kilz to keep out air moisture. Next I hand cut bits of glass tile and adhere to the base, grout them up, paint them again, and wha la! Happy little birds :)

If none of this has grabbed your fancy, I also have my ceramic plaques and beautiful sgraffito carved bowls (my favorite below) and possibly more fine art mosaics to liven up your home and bring a little handmade love into your lives.

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Sgraffito bowl by Miss Mosaic- side view

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Inside a sgraffito bowl by Miss Mosaic

I hope to see you at the sale in person- I will be doing my work shifts between 12:30 and 3pm on Friday and Saturday, so if you want to chat, that’s a guaranteed time to catch me, up at Mary Dee’s on Prim. I look forward to catching up with those of you I haven’t seen in a while, and visiting more with those I see more often.

The sale is easy to find- just take Wimer St. up to the top crest of the hill (off of N. Main St. in Ashland, OR). A map and flyer are here: AFGshow Come celebrate the wonderful creativity this valley has to offer right on your doorstep, support your local artists, and enjoy a wonderful day exploring!

If you can’t make it to the sale, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or by email at missmosaicgirl@yahoo.com for sales or commissions of my work! And share this with your friends to help support me! Thanks everyone!

Cutting and Laying Workshop at Ashland Art Center

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April was an absolute dream of a month weather wise here in Talent, Oregon; a gorgeous Spring display of color and bloom took my breath away almost every day.

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Getting started, everyone was standing up and excited with possibilities.

I was lucky enough to get to do some teaching in the midst of all this glorious weather and was joined at the Ashland Art Center once again by six lovely women,

studying the techniques of cutting and laying tile for mosaics.

We had scheduled a 4 hour workshop, and once again, I tried to cram tons of information into a one day class. We discussed different tools for cutting ceramic, stained glass, glass tiles, and other types of materials, as well as ways to lay tiles and shape them to create flow, movement, static areas, and areas of energy.

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Morgan created a setting sun – deep red over her cliff.

 

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Kay loves to break the rules once she knows what they are :)

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MaryDee was challenged by the toughness of the porcelain tile, but did an amazing job!

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Johanna works slowly, like me, but was focused on getting it “just right”. And she did!

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Our brave newbie did a tremendous job while entertaining us with tales of her zoological shenanigans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of the day,  I think they were all getting the hang of it!

Several folks took home tools and materials to finish their pieces as time allowed.

I hope they all enjoyed themselves, I know I did. I’m planning to do a two day weekend workshop in July or August at the Art Center and would love to see you there. Contact me here, or on Facebook for updates and more info.!

My FIRST Community Built Conference 2014 Davis, CA

What exactly IS this “Community Built” thing you ask? Well…I hope I can describe it in fewer words than the board members did- LOL. I describe it as: Community building and engagement through creative projects.

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Mosaic mural detail- Mark Rivera, artist Davis, CA

It all began with a bunch of playground designers and muralists “back in the day” (the 1970’s), and it’s not only still going strong, but is growing as a group and as a movement. All over the world folks like the 100 or so that gathered in Davis, California two weeks ago are yearning for connection. I am one of those folks and I didn’t really know it until I got there!

I had a hint these were my people when they said in the invite to “wear your messy clothes”, but I didn’t realize until I saw the projects these folks had pulled off, met the folks who fearlessly created and engaged with communities around the world, and heard the amazing speakers who are more concerned with bringing folks together than in a fat paycheck -how much I resonated with what was happening there at the conference.

Let me wow you with some photos from the weekend:

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Cottonwood bench, created by the artists of CBA Conference 2014

 

This is a Cottonwood leaf bench- created in under 4 days by volunteers from CBA with mosaic artist Donna Billick at the helm (almost done – and look- Amanda has on overalls!) :) Those of you who know me know I LIVE in mine. :)

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City Repair project led by Mark Rivera, Davis, CA

Here I am painting the intersection/street with neighbors and CBA conference goers led by Mark Rivera- at 4th and K St. in Davis, CA – a one day project that took less than half a day due to so many participants!

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“Compassion is…” Earthbench with Mosaic Ceramic Inlays by Mark Rivera, Brennan Bird, and the community of Davis, CA

 

The Compassion Bench, created out of recycled materials, cob, and love. Here’s a peek at what’s “inside”:Compassion bench 2  Old soda bottles filled with plastic bags, compacted together to create a wall of waste that then gets turned into a useful place of community gathering – SO much cooler than throwing it all in the landfill, and cheaper than any other material.

What you don’t see about what’s going on here is that by creating tangible projects together as a community folks are: meeting their neighbors, learning more about themselves and those around them, and then continuing to interact with each other AFTER the initial projects are finished to keep creating community in their towns, neighborhoods, and what have you. Folks are being empowered to make change happen themselves, and are less whiny, less apt to blame things on the “powers that be” and more engaged in life! They are taking ownership of where they live and creating what they want to see in the world.

Awesome huh? Are you excited by the possibilities yet?? If so, check out the website of this amazing organization at http://www.communitybuiltassociation.org or LIKE them on Facebook at Community Built Association. I learned so much in the 4 days I was there my head was exploding with it all!

Also check out the wonderful work of the Pomegranate Center at http://pomegranatecenter.org – and watch the Ted talk by Milenko Matanovic at TedX. He’s an amazing man, great speaker, and you won’t be sorry you watched it. He was an inspiring lecturer at the Davis conference. One of those people you want to “follow”.

Now I am forging ahead to write my own grant to do a community mosaic mural project for Talent, OR (my home) this summer. I plan to mount the panels onto the side of The Grotto pizzeria near the intersection of Main St. and Talent Ave. in the fall if all goes as planned. I will be engaging with my neighbors and friends to make some handmade tile elements, rounding up off-cuts and extras from tile setters in the area to create the background (and save the tile from the landfill), and hopefully having a ton of fun in the process.

Wish me luck- and if you know any tile contractors in the Rogue Valley let me know!!

“Daylight-saving-me” Time

daffodilsSpring has sprung!

I can hardly believe the daffodils are up and blooming, the almond and plum trees are blossoming and the pears are starting to bud. Ahh, Spring, how I’ve missed you!

blurryplumtreesplum blossomsS.A.D.:

Though we’ve hardly had a winter, with little to no snow (we’re now preparing for a major drought this summer), I am always happy to see the sun returning to my life a little more everyday.

I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which means in short, no sun no fun. I don’t function at normal capacity at best, I don’t function at all at worst. This year hasn’t been as overwhelming as some, but I do still struggle with trying to do anything useful when the clouds have rolled in… so though it’s spring, I still struggle. Just sayin’. It’s almost like someone waking me in the middle of the night and saying “okay-time to be productive now”.

It ain’t happnin’.

So if I seem less than cheery on a cloudy day, now you know why (or at least part of why). I don’t just love sun. I NEED sun. I cannot function at more than 50% without sun.

This is what keeps me from moving to Portland or the Bay Area, not enough sun! Before moving out here to Southern Oregon I consulted weather records and discovered Seattle has far more sunny days than my former home of St. Louis, in a year. What a shocker to me! And yet it explained so much about why I struggled so hard there. Southern Oregon is a much better environment for me, but really I still think I’d do better with a winter home in a sunnier local like Costa Rica or Santa Fe. In my dreams… So here I am. Trying to make the best of things while waiting for daylight savings to really kick in. Soon I can get on with my life and rev it up a notch.

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Body Health:

So, an update on the getting healthier front: I have been going to the gym between 5-6 days a week for the last 8 weeks. I do weight machines for 30-45 minutes, and 45 minutes of cardio every time. So about 1.5 hrs a day,  or an average of 7.5-9 hrs. a week. So far I have lost a whopping…. wait for it…

…1.6 pounds.

That’s like, maybe three apples. Geez…I mean I know my metabolism has slowed down, but WTF? If I keep this up I may get to my target of 30 pounds in 3 years figuring in that I’ll lose less each year and be able to do less… not very motivating.

But I’m going to keep going at least for the next 3 and half months, because I’ve paid for it and can’t stand wasting money. And I’m sure something good will come from it, I just wish it was a little more obvious and a little quicker.

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Vision:

One positive thing I am trying to do right now is work on creating a “vision” for myself and my life, a place of focus and purpose that keeps me on track and brings me back when I fall off the track. I’m reading a book (recommended to me) as a stepping off point, discussing and getting support with some artist friends, and working through some of my hurdles, one of the major ones being general wrong-headed thinking (see most of the above), the other being my bad relationship with money.

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Money:

I don’t know about you, but I have developed a deep sense of feeling I don’t deserve to have money, because somewhere along the way I was taught to believe that having money made you a bad person. Ungenerous, uncaring, unconnected to what really matters in the world- that’s what having money seems to mean to me. And having money means not having a job that makes you feel fulfilled, not having time to spend with friends, and not spending time doing what you love in general.

On some level that means I think people that do have money are bad people, though I KNOW this to be untrue. Some of my best friends have money, but I’ve never felt like I’m “on their level” as a result. They are good, caring, generous people, but I can’t seem to convince myself that we are equals. So that’s my work for the next while here, and maybe a long while, as it’s a deep seated belief that I desperately need to get rid of in order to move forward in my life.

As my old boss (an Italian grandmother) used to tell me, “it’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is to fall in love with a poor one”. Oh if only this were so for me! I am put off by men who make money but then expect to find stability and security with men who don’t?! Something is wrong with this equation! Any help in unsticking these screwed up perceptions is welcome. I am seriously going to have to undo my whole belief system to get past this, but it has to happen! It’s like being reverse prejudiced. So ignorant.

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Time:

I am also working on my focus and vision by setting simple goals for myself. Just by creating a calendar of “work tasks” for myself in advance (I’ve laid out the next 4 months) has significantly helped keep me on a positive trajectory.

Knowing what task I’m working on for any given day takes the pressure off somehow. I don’t have to create a new plan every morning. I just get up, look at the calendar, and get going. Amazing how simple yet how effective this is for a self-employed person. It’s so easy to get off track or flop around in the unknowing.

Now I go to bed every night feeling like I’ve accomplished something, and knowing I’m “earning my keep” somehow. Even writing blog posts is now part of my schedule. Once a month, whether I have a plan for one or not, I will be coming at you with a new post, a new musing, a new update on the state of the arts in my neck of the woods.

I hope you’ll stick with me and give me some feedback. I often feel like I’m just doing this alone, yet I know we are all struggling to keep it together and it’s good to acknowledge that and keep encouraging each other in our journeys.

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Positive forward motion:

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get back to my wheel work and creating new bowls and such. I had to relearn how to throw- even struggling to center a piece of clay. It’s amazing how I can manage to “forget” how to do something I did less than 3 months ago. I mean, I must be the only person I know who actually forgot how to ride a bike, who forgot how to swim, and regularly forgets what I just did a few months ago. I think there’s a disconnect of synapses in my brain. How else to account for this weird behavioral defect? But it’s finally starting to feel better again, it’s just frustrating to have to constantly have to relearn.

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New fun stuff:

I am also working on a newer endeavor in mosaics, wearable art! I bought two bezels as an experiment and sold them both in a week, so I decided there must be a market for these tiny works. They’re fun to do, low pressure, and a nice break from some of the larger more time consuming tasks I often get involved with. Keep your eyes peeled for some of these in the next two weeks!

And I will be traveling to Davis, California in early April for my first Community Built Association conference! I think this will be a great way to meet some like minded folks doing what I love to do and learn some new skills to bring home and put into action. I’ve always loved public art and the way it can affect our communities not just in their existence, but in their creation. I hope to contribute some more in the future and also get paid while doing it!

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Upcoming workshop:

I’m also teaching another class over at the Ashland Art Center on Mosaic Cutting and Laying Techniques. April 19th from 10-3 with an hour for lunch. More information and registration at this link: Ashland Art Center.

Hope to see you all out and about this Spring (once it stops raining!) Keep in touch!

Mosaic LOVE workshop February 2014

In my last post over a month ago I was attempting to entice all the locals to come out for this beginners mosaic workshop at the Ashland Art Center- and come out they did! I had a dozen wonderful women and we had a blast (where are the men I ask you?).P1000650

I started by giving everyone a small frame or shaped board that had been sealed with Kilz primer/sealer to keep it from taking on moisture. I gave out a myriad of materials, including the above handmade ceramic tile hearts from my studio as well as stained glass, commercial glass tile, millifiore (pulled glass rods), and other bits and bobs I’ve collected over the years.P1000653

Next I gave a short explanation of “keeping it simple”, as there is so much to learn it’s impossible to teach it all at once. I must admit to being surprised and a bit overwhelmed at the number of students. I was expecting five if I was lucky-but having 12 was awesome! There were a number of different aesthetics and therefore a nice variety of work came out of the day

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The first day I forgot to take photos (sigh), but luckily Kara Lewis was there to pick up the slack- so I have just a few from the beginning stages of work.

The following week, after all the pieces were finished and dry, we met to grout. I directed a little demo first with pieces I’d done with the first day’s “leftovers”. photo 2 copyphoto 2

Then I gave everyone their own grout to go to town with. Man are we messy! LOL!

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But the results are Beautiful ladies!! Love these little works of art :)20140208_12271320140208_12325520140208_12270520140208_124705photo 3 copy 320140212_152716photo-2

I am happy to say we all had a great time and I will be offering ANOTHER class next month at the Ashland Art Center on cutting and laying techniques. Here’s the class description:

Mosaic Cutting and Laying Techniques 

Sat. March 22nd from 10am-2pm (with an hour for lunch)

Learn to make those feisty tiles do what you want them to do! Create flow and motion and choose what your tiles do for you rather than allowing them to dictate to you. Learn to cut circles, leaf shapes, keystone cuts and more and lay them to create whatever is in your imagination. We will use commercial glass tiles, stained glass, and commercial ceramic tiles for this experience. This class will be primarily for hands on learning with a little bit of lecture and demo to help show how to achieve specific effects. We will create a 9″ x 9″ sampler of many different techniques combined to create one image and show off your new skill set. 

For all levels of mosaic experience from beginners on up, ages 13 up to adult. All materials and tools provided. If you have any of your own tools (side biter nippers, double wheeled nippers, stained glass cutters) please bring them along.

Minimum 3 students, maximum 6.
$65 members, $75 non members
Karen Rycheck
aka missmosaic

To sign up contact the Ashland Art Center after Feb. 14th by clicking the link HERE. And please tell your friends! Have a great wet week (yeah moisture!) and an even better weekend.