Singing of Spring :: a mosaic

with sky

Oh my sweet flowergirl is finished!  Such a lovely feeling :-)

Julian and I were supposed to be travelling to the farm this weekend past – alas, there was a deluge of rain and extensive flooding across our Gippsland route and we couldn’t go.

However, with 5 days off work and my mum by my side, that just meant plenty of hours to work on our mosaics at Merryl’s workshop.
love the tiliness of it

An extra long session on Friday saw most of the flowers in her hair finished.  Then Monday and Tuesday I spent painstaking (tedious!) hours cutting tiny slivers and shards of brown glass to fill in the background of her hair.

Oh my.  I didn’t think it would ever end!

brown tiles and favourite too

I once read that when Kaffe Fassett designed his needlepoints, he would sit cross legged on the floor, surrounded by baskets of beautiful embroidery yarn, and work away at creating his intricate images.

Then, once the essentials were in place – and he was surrounded by a chaos of colourful, unidentified yarn – he would pass the work on to his assistants to finish – and sort out the yarn.

As I cut and carefully fitted my strands of hair – with delicate pliers – in amongst the flowers and fruit, I could sooooooo understand the beauty of this approach :-)

all the brown is in

Yesterday it was finally time to grout!  Grout is like a wonderfully stiff icing – makes the loveliest noise as I mix it up.  Merryl added just the right amount of red and yellow to give my flowergirl the perfect tint of rosiness – and just like icing we had to be soooo careful not to add too much.
mixing the grout

First you slather it on nice and thick – taking care to push it firmly into all the wee spaces, but also keeping the spatula nice and flat so as not to gouge out tiles by mistake.

I managed to knock out a few – all from the hydrangea – it was made using a thicker tile with an uneven bottom which when you use it whole or halved, sits really well, but cut into small squares, became a lot harder to secure.  More glue and careful grouting solved that.


smothered with grout

Once the piece is thickly and evenly covered, you use a scraper to remove the bulk of the excess – again, taking care not to drag it sharply across the tiles and knocking them.

grout scraped back

Finally, you use oodles of scrunched up paper towel to rub it back so that the tiles are once again revealed and gleaming, and all the grout is smooth and neat.  This is definitely the most time consuming part of the grouting process – but also such a thrill as the piece comes back to life.

This is only my second piece, but it is such a delight when I rub and rub and rub and think, huh!  There’s no tile in that spot, just grout.  Fancy not putting a tile there.  And then I rub that tiny bit more and POP!  There’s the tile.

rubbing off the grout

Oh – then there’s the painting of the edge – a very imperfect science.  Again, Merryl mixed me up a lovely rosy shade to complement the grout.

painting the edge

And then ….. the grand reveal :-)

looking across

Now, initially Merryl and I thought we’d apply the rosy background grout as a base and then we would make up smaller batches of various colour to overgrout special bits – some of the more solid flowers, the brown hair, the rosy cheeks, the dark sparkly background – which would have given the piece a much more solid, more painted look.

I don’t know much about the history of mosaic techniques, but I think this technique might be a more modern thing.  I don’t know if the ancient mosaics used multiple coloured grouts in the one piece – just from my very incomplete perusal of them, it seems more traditional to grout in just one colour.  And I do like things to be more traditional.

Well, once we stepped back and looked at that rosy pale grout, all thoughts of overlaying lots of different colours vanished.

My flowergirl just looked so ethereal and spring like.  She’d taken on a whole new delicacy that we didn’t want to disturb.
from the side

Oh I am so very very very happy with this piece!

You can see in the photos above and below that there are two holes – I was initially going to use her as a table top – but then I found a great pedestal table in hard rubbish so decided the lovely flowergirl would be a delight hanging on the porch wall at Wombat Hill Farm – looking out across our garden and up the valley to Tilba.

So – we had to remove a few tiles so Merryl could screw supporting struts across the back for hanging :-)  Will be easy peasy and lickety split to fix that up on Friday.
close up of face

And then she will be perfectly lovely and ready to hang …

I must confess to being COMPLETELY SMITTEN with mosaics :-)

11 thoughts on “Singing of Spring :: a mosaic

  1. What a fabulous mosaic and artwork. Well done. I’m enjoying reading of your move to Tilba, we love Narooma and that area. Good luck with the move.

  2. Just so beautiful. The play of colors and design draw me in and I could gaze at it for a long time and spot something new. Thanks for posting about the process. Lovely!

  3. Gosh you are so clever. She is georgous.
    We ended up with 14″ of rain over 2 days. No damage here but some of the caravan parks on the lake were inundated. Further up the highway lots of flooding.
    We had a bit of a giggle saying that our little farm would have gone up in value as we had wonderful water views for a few days. The paddocks are all drying out now although we have had more rain tonight. It all makes for a wonderful spring which will be so nice when you make your move. Lots of lovely green hills and valleys.
    Blessings Gail.

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! You make it look so easy, too! Not fast, but easy. Is it really that straight forward?

  5. Ooh it turned out so beautiful! Well done, and I can imagine how lovely it will look on the wall. You’ll get a thrill every time you walk by.

Comments are closed.