Thursday, March 30, 2017

Abstract Spiral in Glass Tile Smalti Mosaic

My first abstract art.  When I began, I didn't have a very clear idea of what the finished piece would look like.  I wanted to create a feeling of movement and rising within the confines of the high-walled box.   I loved the freedom of letting the colors just fill the spaces and discovering what the art would become.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti finished orsoni glass sun yellow blue italian italy
Finished Italian smalti mosaic of an abstract spiral

This mosaic was done inside a a slide top 6 bottle wine box.  Someone at the local wine store gave me quite a few of them for free.  It was harder than I expected to work in a box with such high sides because there was never a good place for my arms and elbows.  But I like the re-purposing of an item and getting a bonus knick knack shelf after it's complete.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti wine box orsoni glass sun yellow blue italian italy
A side view of the wine box

The shapes in the completed mosaic are based on a 2011 photo from a spiral staircase in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti wine box spiral staircase Thailand
My husband's photo of the spiral staircase

As I began the mosaic it was hard to find a direction.  I didn't know if I should start work in the middle or begin out in the corners and work towards the center.  I randomly chose to start with the lighter mid-section hoping to get a feeling of rising, but in the beginning it looked very much like an eye. I hope that part recedes in the finished mosaic.

abstract spiral mosaic smalti progress orsoni glass sun yellow blue italian italy
My progress of the abstract spiral

There is a meditative quality to creating a mosaic that I have not found in any other medium.  It was almost therapeutic to lose myself in the tedium of placing each tiny bit.  I truly enjoyed working on this mosaic and am sorry to see it finished because I will miss spending time with it.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trees in Glass Tile Smalti Mosaic

I have spent the past few months playing with mosaic trees in glass smalti.  I wanted to work on something natural since lately I have been drawing and painting cityscapes with a focus on perspective.  I actually use a ruler and think in strong shapes, concentrating on lighting and architecture and what makes a place unique.

Trees do not work that way, they are leafy and organic and a huge challenge.  This is my second glass tile tree mosaic.

tree smalti mosaic looking up ireland forest blarney castle finished orsoni
Finished Italian smalti mosaic of a tree

Here's a close-up of the mosaic so you can see the differences in the height of each piece of the glass.  The edges are not sharp so you can run your hand along and feel the texture.

orsoni smalti glass tile venice mosaic italian italy
A close-up of the cut smalti glass tiles

The single tree mosaic is based on the left most tree in my daughter's photo.  She snapped this picture in the forests surrounding Blarney Castle.

tree photo looking up ireland trees forest blarney castle finished orsoni
Cece's photo looking up into the trees
tree watercolor looking up ireland trees forest blarney castle finished orsoni
The watercolor created from the photo
tree smalti mosaic looking up ireland trees forest blarney castle finished orsoni.
My first tree mosaic

As you can see from my first tree mosaic, there were some major scale issues and I lost so much of the detail by trying to complete the entire scene.  Pretty discouraging.  The finished size of the first mosaic is 17-1/2 inches by 13 inches, while the single tree mosaic is the same height at about 13 inches square.  I'm always disappointed when something doesn't come out the way I envisioned, but I needed to start somewhere.

tree mosaic smalti forest progress orsoni glass blarney castle ireland italian italy
My progress on the single tree mosaic

Work on both mosaics was slow going.  My time was very broken up and spread out which made it really hard to find a groove.  I found myself getting too close and worrying about tiny details and forgetting to step back and see the big picture.  Probably a metaphor for my life.