The Horses of Equamore Mural Project/Artists for Equamore

I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last post, but life has been FULL! Work on the mural continues pretty much everyday and I am doing my best to try and get it up on the wall before July. (But no promises! I can only move so fast.) Keep your ears open for announcements of an unveiling event! It should be a fun one, as Equamore really wants to help me celebrate this with the community of Talent and the Rogue Valley. More on this below.

While working on the mural, I and my friend Lynn Adamo finished and installed the Booker T. Frog sculpture (the T. stands for “the”) on his new mosaic lily “pad” at the McMinnville Public Library at the end of April. (See earlier progress post) We had lots of help from friends to make this work just right. Everyone was excited to see Booker again and even more excited to see the mosaic brighten up the entrance to the library. You can read more about it and see photos over at Lynn Adamo’s great blog post: http://www.lynnadamo.com.

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I have to say I had no idea how many steps would and could go into creating The Horses of Equamore mural. I have done similar work before of course, but each project somehow seems totally different and new. I love a challenge, and rarely tackle anything that isn’t one, but this project turned out to be sort of a reverse-engineered mosaic, which is way more complicated than I originally thought it would be.

Rather than starting with pieces and putting them together to make a whole, I started with big slabs of clay (about 32″ x 24″) and cut them up to create the pieces. 20150517_181721Then those pieces were cut down further to create more and smaller sections. Then those sections were deeply scored to create spaces for grout lines so once filled, the lines would create the illusion of a true mosaic. I keep calling it a faux mosaic, but really it isn’t, it is turning out to be tens of thousands of pieces! 20150518_115420I also carve into the clay to create the critters, landscape, etc. by first tracing my template directly onto the leather hard clay.

20150518_175909Because I am designing grout lines into the pieces, I also realized I’d need to protect those grout lines from the shiny clear glaze I’m using on the rest of the pieces. In order to do that I have to hand wax every single grout line and edge of every piece after it is bisque fired and washed.

It sometimes takes an entire day just to wax a single half section. 20150520_205955However, my hope is that the rough texture of the bare clay will ensure the grout will grab and stay in the grout lines (xx= fingers crossed

I’m using underglazes to create the color on the panels. This is a bit more predictable than regular glaze, as the color applied looks somewhat similar to reality once fired. Regular glazes usually look nothing like the color they are — so what goes on green can come out blue, or what goes on pink can come out green. It’s a little maddening and for me too difficult for this type of work.First panels

Here’s a side by side comparison of underglaze before firing, and after firing with a clear coat on top.

To date I’ve completed about 19 feet of the 27 foot total! The next sections are in the kiln with another one awaiting bisque firing. The finish line is in sight 🙂

While that’s happening, I’m trying to create some work for the special fundraising event going on at the Equamore Foundation on Sunday May 31st. It’s called Artists for Equamore and looks like it should be a great deal of fun. I’ll have garden art, ceramic tile plaques, possibly some new mosaic jewelry, and more!artist event smOver 20 local artists (check out the above link), live music, wine, food, and really great horses! What more could one ask for? Even if it rains we’ll be doing it up in the arena area, so don’t give me any excuses. We need your help to make it a success! 20% of all sales are going to the horses – so come on out. 3-6pm.

Mosaic Mural progress

Another few weeks, another bit of progress on the massive project I’ve titled “The Horses of the Equamore Foundation”.
Here’s the step-by-step progress of the last few weeks on the Horses of Equamore mosaic mural.

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Clay is rolled out, pieces traced from the earlier produced templates, and then cut to shape.

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After the slab begins to set up a little more, detail can be added, shapes refined, and names stamped into the donor tiles.

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Next the tiles are glazed with an underglaze, which differs from “regular” glaze, in that it goes on more like paint, can be applied before the clay is fired, and is mixable to create infinite colors.

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Then the pieces are loaded into the kiln, fired to a bit over 1800F degrees, and allowed to cool. Then they are sprayed with a clear glaze to seal the underglaze and make them more durable and relatively impervious to dirt. They are reloaded into the kiln, and fired to a much higher temperature of 2100F+.
This is what the actual piece will look like, plus another 17 pieces the size of this one!

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I started the next part yesterday. This is Flint, one of the rescued Percherons from Equamore.

I also presented the beginning of the mural at the Ashland Art Center on March 6th along with the 17 other receipients of the first annual Lloyd Haines Philanthropic Foundation Grants. We had a fabulous turn out and it was really fun to see how all the various artists had used their grants and how much it had enhanced their lives and their artistic journey.
My journey continues! I will try to keep you updated regularly through this process so you can share in the fun – and keep the cheerleading coming! I can use all the support 😉

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!

Paul’s mosaic panels are completed

After I created this exterior mosaic mirror to coordinate with my client’s new interior furnishings, he was so pleased he commissioned two more pieces for the entry walkway to his home.

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Paul’s mosaic mirror created in January 2013.

He lives in a beautiful complex on the shore of the bay in Tampa, Florida and has a walkway bridge that leads to his screened in porch and front door. The mirror hangs on his  porch.

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I created two panels that played off of his mosaic mirror design, as well as bringing in some new textures.

These panels were a combination of the original mirror, and the address plaque I made for my friend Penelope earlier this year, in my post “Penelope’s Plaque”.

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Address plaque created for Penelope in early 2013.

The client liked Penelope’s panel and wanted something similar, but in the same palette as his mirror and the colors from his home.

Here’s what we decided to do- one panel with 2 circles (12″ x 24″), and one panel with 3 circles (12″ x 36″). He left the rest up to me and here are the results:

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Paul’s 2 circle panel.

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Paul’s 3 circle panel.

These pieces include stained glass, handmade and commercial ceramic tile, mirror, commercial vitreous mosaic tiles, iridescent tiles, glass beads, millifiori, and Italian smalti left over from the Hannon Library mosaic installed in Ashland, Oregon in 2005.

I tied these panels to the mirror by making the background the same, as well as carrying over the color schemes. I feel they were pretty successful and also fun to make.

I find abstracts much more relaxing to create than realistic work. My mind is focused on the basics and not on “does it look like ___?” or not. I can allow myself to let go and play more. I have a feeling I’ll be going more in this direction in the future.

Anyhow, I’m shipping these panels out tomorrow and I look forward to seeing the photos once they’re installed on the pillars. Let me know what you think, feel, etc. about this work or anything else on my blog.

Mosaics and Art at Downtowne Coffee

Back in 2005 I was a member of a studio called Phoenix Clay and Steelworks in Phoenix, OR. We had shared ceramic equipment, kilns, and our own 10′ x 10′ workspaces in one large room, as well as a classroom and gallery.

PCW -front of buildingw-designWe wanted the studio to be welcoming to the community and we wanted to brighten up the city of Phoenix with our art.

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I decided to make a double door surround for the classroom that incorporated both clay and steel in the form of broken tile mosaics with the theme of a town at the base, and flowers growing up out of the city.

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The town was going to be smallish three dimensional buildings covered in mosaics. Some were attached to the mosaic surface, others were free standing.

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The stems of the flowers were to be bent 1/2″steel rods that undulated on and off the facade of the mosaics rising up out of the town via the chimneys and smokestacks.

Bright colors of yellow and deep blues were accented by red, purple, and orange flowers. All of handmade tiles.

So I spent five months making this huge thing, and the week I finished I was informed the place was out of money and closing down!

So I took my mosaic panels (on 1/2″ durarock boards), and moved out of there. I carted the panels around for two or more years, trying to find a place where they would work so my work wouldn’t be for naught.

I ended up moving into Talent, OR in 2008, and discovered the Downtowne Coffeehouse right on the main drag of Talent Ave. Their sign has a little silhouette of a town that reminded me of my little city.

P1010382The building had originally been built as a gas station back in the nineteen twenties, and still has the two main posts holding up the porch that you used to drive under to keep you out of the weather as you serviced your auto.

They were looking pretty shoddy when I saw them. Paint peeling off, pretty ugly…and you know where this is going I bet…

I asked if they’d be interested in having my mosaics on their posts! I showed them to the owners, we discussed converting them from their original purpose, and away I went.

P1010367I knew after measuring and messing about that I’d need more square footage, so I had to make new tile, add panels, and cut the panels I’d already made into two.

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P1010947I also added coffee cups that I sawed into halves using a wet saw, and placed them so that they were like the

blossoms of the flowers climbing the posts. In addition, I needed to make a new city! I had sold the original buildings in the interim and so I designed a new flatter city and made new panels to accommodate the posts.

This all took me another couple of months or more to do. I must have had time on my hands back then…! I know I had more energy.

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Anyway, the posts were finally finished and ready to be installed.

That part took forever, as it liked to rain when I was installing, and we found out one of the old posts is twisted like a corkscrew, and other fun stuff to boot.

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But finally it was over! After at least 8 months of work my payment is – “free coffee for life”.

Not a bad deal,  since I live a block from there, and it’s really the only game in town as far as a place to hang out and catch up with folks. I consider it the hub of our community, and am happy to say they are expanding and almost ready to open up and out as a coffeehouse/restaurant – serving more great food and expanding their hours into the evenings. As you can see, this is an old photo- the place has a beautiful new look and paint job as well as an expansion on the rear of the building, plus a painted mural on the side.P1010952

downtowne coffeehouse 4 copyFor the new expansion they decided they needed a new logo- and who else to ask? Me! So with the guidance of the owners, I designed a little city in a coffee cup. This is not the final logo- but close. Next comes the city on the roof that’s been designed by Robert Frost, and perhaps painted by me if I can get a trade on food now…

AND they allow me to hang a few of my ceramic tile plaques in their store entry for me to sell at no cost.P1020237P1020576P1020177

Gotta love this place, and this community. Thanks Dan and Sara Goyette for  making this a great place to live and a great place for art!!P1020496