Sunday, September 18, 2016

Circle of Stone: Pebble Mosaic Workshop 9-18-16

We had another enjoyable intro mosaic workshop today at Lyn Belisle's Studio. It was the first time that the participants had "played" with pebbles to create a small mosaic. Here are some of the results. A big thank you to Lyn and all of the participants.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Circle of Stone Pebble Mosaics Intro

Introducing people to the world of mosaics is fun! Recently I had the privilege to teach my "Circle of Stone - Pebble Mosaics" workshop at Lyn Belisle's Studio here in San Antonio. Lyn is such an wonderful hostess and her studio reflects her intention of it being a place of creative belonging. We  began the workshop with a brief overview of the history of pebble mosaics, looked at some ancient and contemporary pebble mosaic art, and previewed what we were going to do during our time together.

We had three hours to learn some general information including the importance of a "scratch coat"on a plywood substrate, various shapes of pebbles and how they could be used in a design, local sources of pebbles, thinset and how to apply it with a spatula to form a "setting bed." We discussed design and how important it is to use contrast of size or shape or lightness/darkness/color so that the mosaic design can be "read" easily.

Then it was time to pick a design or sketch their own and select the type of pebbles from the various bins that they wanted to use. But before getting started, each person needed to do their scratch coat and create a smooth setting bed at the correct height. Finally, it was time to place pebbles one at a time. We discussed the need to work "clean" and how to keep the thinset fresh.

After everyone had completed their mosaic it was time to share the results. Everyone talked about their creation, what they liked about it, what they learn or what they would do differently. We talked about how thinset can be tinted different colors and discussed what color(s) we might want to use in the future. I can say that fun was had by all. Thanks to the whole group who made this time possible.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Toyoharu Kii's Monochromatic Workshop at The Chicago Mosaic School

During the first week of June 2015, I had the privilege to participate in Toyoharu Kii's five day Monochromatic Workshop at The Chicago Mosaic School. The focus of the workshop was learning ways to express movement, texture, and content in ways that are only possible with the medium of mosaic. The material used was white marble so color or different types of material could not be used to accomplish the task. During the workshop we also learned Kii's tried and tested technique that gives his work its signature characteristics. Thank you Toyoharu for sharing your knowledge and skills with us. It was a great learning experience.

For further information about Toyoharu Kii's workshop and other visiting guest instructors at The Chicago Mosaic School click the above link.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Chicago Mosaic School 10th Anniversary Film

I was fortunate to have one of my mosaics, "Counterpoint," included in this film. The video was filmed with the latest 4D technology and the detail, texture, and color is amazing. Click on the following link and enjoy.

Link: A Thank You from The Chicago Mosaic School

Tesserae Tessera, The Art of Mosaic

I had the pleasure to being invited to do an introductory mosaic workshop at Lyn Belisle's Studio of Creative Belonging in San Antonio, Texas recently. Inspiration came from Antoni Gaudi's (1852-1926) innovative use of glazed tile in Barcelona's Parc Guell. Participants selected one of six simple line designs derived from Gaudi's work, learned about commonly used terms in the world of mosaics, cutting with nippers, prepping substrate, and finally adhering the tesserae (i.e. pieces of material making up the mosaic) with thinset. Lots of fundamental skills were learned while having fun. Thanks to Lyn and all the participants that made the workshop a true success. Check out the link below.


Wedi Board as a Substrate - Lightweight, User Friendly, and Strong

At the Celestial Gaudi Worshop last week, some participants had questions about other substrates to use other than plywood for indoors. Here is the link to a great blog post from IC Mosaics on one of my favorite substrates:

Great information from IC Mosaics on Wedi board as a mosaic substrate

My Glass on Glass Mosaic Mandala Process

I recently was asked by the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) to write about the process I use when I create my mosaic mandalas for Groutline, SAMA's electronic newsletter. I thought I would share here on Tumbling Tesserae.

1)   First cut out a circle of 1/8" plate or window glass. Take a piece of 1/4"zinc came and bend it using a zinc came bender (found at stained glass shops). Fit the zinc came around the glass circle and cut the came so it fits snugly to the glass. Solder the two ends together to form a secure joint. Once that is complete, you will have a "glass canvas" on which to work.

2)   Next cut your tesserae from selected stained glass. I like to use ring mottled glass because I love the jewel colors and combinations along with the surrounding translucent shading of glass around it

3)   I cut almost all my pieces ahead of time. Clean the tesserae. Put them in a recycled margarine container with lid., add a drop or two of liquid soap and some water, and shake vigorously. Rinse until there are no more suds. Drain and let dry.

4)   Put your design underneath the prepared glass substrate and tape it to the zinc edge. The pattern  is directly below where you will glue your tesserae. Clean the top side of the glass before you start gluing. I clean my glass with rubbing alcohol. My current adhesive of choice is MacGlue. It dries clear in about 20-25 minutes and creates a strong durable bond. 

5)   Then start gluing tesserae along major design lines following the pattern. Fill in remaining areas one color at a time. As you can see. I tend to work from corners when completing a section. Once the corners have been filled in, the remaining spaces become more defined and it is easier to find a close match. I usually lay out a placement of the tesserae like I want it first. Then I take them off, spread the glue and replace the tesserae to their correct position.

6)   If you look closer at the glued tesserae, you will see that the interstices are fairly tight, but like the shape of each tessera , they are far from perfect. Consistency is more important than precision in my approach.

7)   Once you have finished gluing the pieces and the glue has dried, it is time to grout.  Mix the grout and apply to the mosaic surface. I use sandless grout and add an acrylic mortar additive, but you can use sanded grout if that is your preference.

8)   Wipe off the grout after it has started to set (usually about 20 minutes) using a circular motion. I like ot use crumpled up newspaper that serves as a paper rags. Use them and throw them away. The mosaic design should now reappear.

9)   Finish polishing the mosaic by putting some dry grout on the top of the mosaic. Using a paper rag and later a well worn soft toothbrush, rub off any remaining grout residue from the surface of the tesserae. (I save the gritty grout mixture after I am finished for the next time.) You can also use a dental pick to do the final clean up as needed.

10)   Solder rings or hangers to the zinc frame so that the mosaic can be hung in the window. After a day, you may want to do a quick scrub with a brush using half vinegar/half water solution to really have the mosaic sparkle. Attach a chain and enjoy your creation.

David Chidgey
303 Oakleaf Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78209