Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

Though it isn't officially the Year of the Pig, Elmer is here to ring in the new year with a smile! I grouted this yesterday, with the cleaning help of hubby Pete, and today Elmer the pig sat for his official portrait. I'd like to wish everyone reading this a happy, healthy, creative, and productive 2010!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Terrazzo samples

Here are some of the terrazzo samples for the arena project. These three are my proposals for the water areas. They have some bits of mother of pearl and mirror to give it a reflective sparkly surface evocative of water. I've had to ask for some redos of some of the other colors because I wasn't happy with the aggregate mix I had selected. As you can imagine, it really affects the overall color. The redos look great, however!

I've been out of town in Florida visiting family, but I'm back and just an hour ago laid the final piece in the pig (see below). He's a happy guy, and I think I'll name him Elmer. Apologies to my Uncle Elmer, who at one time was, in fact, a pig farmer...

Hope you all had a merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mosaics again!

My little vacation from mosaics was wonderful! I love painting and linocuts, and so many other things. I need to make other art forms part of my regular routine. It helps me grow and stretch as an artist, and it made me even more excited to come back to mosaics!

I actually completed a large mosaic just before my "vacation" that I can't post because it is a gift. After the holidays I'll share it with you. But right now I'm working on a very large pig! This one is 48"h x 36"w. I really need to mount a mirror above my table because it is hard to stand back from this and see it well since it's so big. Taking pics helps - seeing the image on the camera screen or the computer screen helps the mistakes jump right out. In this pic, lots of the pieces are just laying there, not glued down. Usually I glue as I go, but with so many colors, I need to see how they are working together, and then change things around to get the right mix. So it's taking me longer than normal to put this one together. But I'm loving it! Feels good to be back!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Answer... Not for me

My last post was titled, "Selling on Ebay - Does it work?" My answer is "No, not for me!" I listed four pieces, none of which sold. Maybe not enough of a bargain, even though they were marked much lower than their original prices. There were only about 20 views a piece. Oh, well. I'm out 60 cents...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Selling on Ebay - Does it work?

I've listed four of my mosaics on Ebay. I put them on for very low prices in the hopes of clearing out some of my older work (above from L to R: Lily, Joy, Reaction, and Belle). This is a bit of an experiment. I'm not sure how successful Ebay is for selling artwork. Have any of you tried it? Did it work for you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Innocence found!

I heard an author talk about "losing your innocence" when you attain proficiency at something. You know how when you go to a new place you are amazed by every bird and tree, and you can't believe all these people aren't gazing adoringly at all the sights just like you are? They have lived there, gotten used to it, and "lost their innocence" about the place.

So I'm on a little vacation from mosaics, much as I love them, to try some new things! It's been an exciting couple of weeks with the new terrazzo job, making some linocuts, and now painting. I can feel my engines recharging, like a glass filling up with water. I'm loving this! I've regained my innocence!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Got the Job!

A little over a month ago I was selected as a finalist for a large public art project - a terrazzo floor design for a large event center. Last week I presented my proposal to the committee and I just found out that it has been selected! I'm so excited about it! Here is some background:

What is terrazzo? You have probably seen terrazzo many times and just not known the name. It's an epoxy floor with stone, granite, quartz, glass, or other aggregate like this:
By changing the color of the filler, and the color of the aggregate, you can create different looks and colors. The different colors are divided by aluminum strips.

The event center will host ballrooms, a conference center, and more, but the main attraction is a hockey arena. My floor design will wrap around the bowl of the arena. You can see the construction beginning over my shoulder on the left side of the photo. More info about the event center is at:

They were looking for a north woods feeling for this floor design. My design has three sections: earth, water, and sky. (I'm holding my design above.) You will see leaves of autumn in the earth section, like on a forest floor in fall. In the water area, you might spy a fish, a loon, or a beaver. The sky area shows Canadian Geese migrating south. It will incorporate brass inserts for the animals. More about that as it happens.

I will post updates of this project as it unfolds. I'm so excited!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marketing Yourself

This image is from a recent mosaic called "When One Door Closes, Another Opens". It's all about opportunities. I'm going to be talking about opportunities for marketing ourselves at our next Minnesota Mosaic Guild meeting. We are so lucky to have a great group of mosaicists that get together monthly to share ideas. Since my blog will be one of our sites to visit, I'm going to post the list of good websites and other ideas here. Some of these sites and books are suggested by Christine Brallier. If any of you has any other info to share, leave a comment. Thanks!

Marketing Yourself

Online: (share pics, learn from others, make friends, MMG group – highly recommended) (learn a lot here) (Minnesota only, all forms of art) (sell some things) (SAMA) (get yourself a website) (get yourself a blog) (meet other mosaicists, list your website) (good marketing advice) (sell your designs on mugs, shirts, etc…) (forum – ask questions, get answers!) (forum – ask questions, get answers!) (get published guaranteed) (forum) (cheap business cards, postcards, etc…)

•Google “Public art opportunities” or “call for artists” and find websites listing offerings
•Email signature (market yourself with every email you send)
•Crosslinking with friends and mosaic websites (you get found in google and on their sites)
(by the way, if you want to cross link with me, leave me your link in the comments area and I'll list your site here on my blog. You can link back to me at Thanks!)

Other ways to market yourself:
Galleries/shows (go to galleries and get on their mailing list)
Art Fairs
Private Commissions
Newsletters/brochures/business cards/placing ads/portfolios/notecards of your work
Mailing lists
Ask newspapers or magazines to write an article about you
Tax ID number, MN and Federal (you’ll need this for art fairs and some other opportunities)

Art Marketing 101
I’d Rather be in the Studio

Monday, September 28, 2009

Class Quilt

Here is the beautiful result from our class! I took the photo outside on a cloudy day, so the iridescence really shows up well. Several students worked on most of the squares. There were only a few squares that weren't used because they were less than half done. I finished up a few squares that were nearly complete. These were all students that didn't know how to cut glass, and look what they did! You can tell they are artistic people.

The quilt will be donated to the Edina Art Center in Edina, Minnesota, where the conference was held.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Last weekend I was a presenter at the National Tile Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Living up to the "National" part of its name, I had only two students from Minnesota out of 80. My class introduced these fabulous tile artists to the art of mosaics. Although it was a lot of work (and some nerves once I found out there would be 40 students in my classes!) it went so well, was lots of fun, and everyone got a chance to work on a community mosaic!
This was part of my New Year's resolution to:
1) give a lecture - done in April
2) teach a mosaic class - done!

Now do I get to relax?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update on "Bad Hair Day"

Since I documented the creation of this mosaic, I thought I'd offer some follow up now that she is done. Bad Hair Day has taken up residence in the front window of a gallery. Hopefully she will catch someone's eye. But with hair like that...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Harriet at the Fair

Harriet has been spending the last couple of weeks at the Minnesota State Fair in the Fine Arts Exhibition. She's far from lonely - over 10, 000 visitors go through that building every day of the fair! Over 2500 people entered, only 370 got in. I've gotten two ribbons in the past (2004 and 2006), but since they changed from flat ribbons to the giant ruffly kind in 2008 I haven't gotten an award. I gotta get me a ruffly ribbon! Maybe next year...

Janine Irisarri, a fellow Minnesota Mosaic Guild member, also got in. I also saw a mosaic vase, but I think that was it for mosaics. Janine got one of those ruffly ribbons! Congrats!

I said goodbye to Harriet when I was at the fair the other day. Someone has purchased her so she'll move into her new home after the fair.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fused Glass Birds

I'm making these "Gooney Birds" for a gallery nearby. The great thing is... they keep "flying" out of there! They are surprisingly popular. They are fun to make and they are all different. My favorite part may be the copper wire legs, and I've noticed that they seem to be getting longer and bigger as I make more.

A few more for Ilona (sorry for the poor photos)...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Christine Brallier and I made a pact that we were going to do at least five minutes of sketching every day. It's something I wish I did regularly since I enjoy it and it helps me become a better artist, but I rarely do it! But now I have made a pact with a friend AND I'm declaring it here to the world (or at least to the one or two people that might read this) that I will sketch for at least 5 minutes a day from here on out. So far two days successfully completed! I also want to do 60 situps a day, but that's another story...

Anyone want to join us (sketching or sit-ups!)?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Bad Hair Day" is finished!

She's finished! (Detail above, scroll down to see the whole piece.)

Today I grouted the mosaic. It took me a little longer than usual because there were uneven pieces throughout. I average about an hour to grout a piece, this took about 1 hr 15 min. Total time was about 15 hours. The piece is 42"h x 12"w.

After grouting, I etched my signature in the glass and took photos. I always take the photos through photoshop to square them up (so the edges aren't crooked), crop them, and get them set for my website, which means making a drop shadow behind it and making a 1" button.

Now... what to do next...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ready for Grout

I finished gluing tiles for Bad Hair Day today. I'm planning on grouting it tomorrow. I hadn't worked on it since mid last week. With the beautiful weather and the way our schedules work, I do most of my work M-W. I don't get much done, but it's been great being outside enjoying summer!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Have a Title: "Bad Hair Day"

"Bad Hair Day" seems like a good title. Look at all that stuff stuck in there! There is even a squirrel. If that's not a bad hair day, I don't know what is...

I'm not done with the hair (there is more above the pic). Next session.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Mosaic

I thought I'd document the making of a mosaic here from start to finish. I think it's hard to explain, since each one is processed so differently from the next, but at least this tells the story of this particular mosaic.

I don't have a title for this one yet. I was sketching in my sketchbook and I came up with a face I liked, starting with the eyes. The one on the left was one of those continuous line drawings that are fun to do and force you to draw differently than you normally draw. I liked something about the eyes, so I drew an eye without the continuous line, still liked the eye, and so drew a face.
So I grabbed a scrap of wedi board. This one was very vertical or very horizontal. I turned it vertically and drew the face near the bottom and lots of hair piled on top. I changed the face a bit and had to do some erasing, but I like how it looks now.
So far I've put in about half an hour. The next thing I did was put in the wedi washers near the top. This hanging system allows the mosaic to be hung on a nail. This took about 10 minutes.

I started gluing the glass down for the eyes. When I'm working on a face, I always start with the eyes. If you have great, expressive eyes, it hardly matters what else you do with the face! I always put a glint of light (white glass) in each eye to give it life. Then the pupil, iris, whites, and surround. Next I worked on the lips, then the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin.

I didn't plan on making the skin all colorful, it just happened. I was actually planning on doing it all in one color, but suddenly felt like doing this. I wasn't totally sure about the cheeks being the larger pieces, but it's kind of grotesque and clownish, which seems to work for this one. Very painted on. She's got a beauty spot, too, of course. I'm happy with it overall, because it's a bit more fun with all the color. I don't want this to be stuffy at all, rather I want it to have a sense of humor. I don't know what will happen with the hair yet, but it might be fun to have all sorts of crazy things in there.

Finally I did the collar, the blouse and the earrings. The mosaicking has taken me about 7 hours so far.
She ends up looking older and less glamourous than the drawing, which I'm really happy about!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What to Do With All Those Saved Fortunes?

I've been saving fortunes from cookies forever. Un-fortune-ately, many are stained from the cookie oils, but I still have a pretty good selection. A few years ago, I used some of these in a painting, but this is the first time I've used them in mosaics. I love how they inspire ideas! This is one for the show at 360 I mentioned below.
I'm also using millefiori for the first time with my most recent mosaics. They add a little flair and they are a bit whimsical, which fits for this theme. I put some in the kiln and melted them to see how that would look. I used the melted ones below in another fortune piece.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Angel Ornaments

I'm working on some ornaments for the Gallery 360 show. For these I collaged lots of Victorian images in Photoshop. I started with some girls, added wings to each, and decorated the surrounding area with other images of birds, flowers, text, etc... Then I mosaiced each one with clear glass in a pendant tray.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gallery 360 show next Nov/Dec

I am working on a show for Gallery 360 that will be in Nov/Dec. It's a five foot show, so very small. The theme is Victorian Angels. I'm working on large pieces, like the one above (Magical Life) down to small ornaments.

People are always asking how I do the faces, so here it is: I photocopy clip art, paint it, and glue clear glass over the top. I did the bird a little differently - I screen printed the bird onto clear glass, then glued that over crumpled tinfoil. The wings are printed scrapbooking paper covered by clear tempered glass. The rest is all stained glass, surrounded by a border of gold mirrored glass.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Roseville Bandshell Medallion Completed

The Roseville Bandshell Medallion is complete and there was an unveiling on Sunday night. You can see the older post for details, but basically it was originally supposed to be a mosaic. I urged them to go this way instead (pigmented cement with bits of recycled glass) and everyone was happy with the result. I did the design and Concrete Arts did the fabrication. It should last for years to come! They painted a copy of the design on the back wall of the bandshell, too, which looked really nice. The misspelling was corrected and the repair is barely visible.

The dedication was really nice, with local dancers, orchestra, bands, speakers, etc... but it was really cold and a little drizzly at times. (note my frizzy hair!) But people were bundled up and having a fun time. In this picture it looks a little like no one wants to look at the medallion, so I'll just tell you that this was after the great unveiling (it was covered up and ceremoniously unveiled). Everyone clapped and oohed and ahhed and came up to look closely. It was cute because everyone toed around it but no one stepped on it except Frank Rog, the honoree, who stood in the middle of it for a photo. Very fitting!

The old medallion:

A close up of the glass chips:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Roseville Bandshell Medallion

The medallion has been installed! I did the design and Concrete Arts did the fabrication. It was originally going to be a mosaic, but after speaking to several experts, we decided to go with a pigmented concrete piece that has bits of recycled glass in it. It looks really nice, especially the image where the colored areas are separated by silver metal strips. The letters look a little rougher without the metal borders. The medallion is all dusty in the photo, and there were even tire tracks on it. I am so happy that this will be long lasting and durable and stand up to cold winters and tire tracks (unlike a mosaic)!

Unfortunately, the word Amphitheatre was spelled with an -er instead of an -re like the city wanted, so Concrete Arts is going to have to redo those two letters. My design was correct, however (whew!). There will be a dedication at 5:00 on Sunday, June 7. I'll be there enjoying the concert and if you live in the area, I'd love to see you!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I changed the title to Aurora. It sounded a little more magical than Northern Lights and I thought it fit the piece better. It was really fun making this one. As I mentioned before, this is new for me because I usually create representational art. It was liberating to have the freedom to do what I wanted and not worry if something looked real or not, although I had to fight that feeling back a few times!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trying Something New

Here's the piece I'm working on right now. It's a little different for me in that it is not representational. I was inspired by the northern lights and I may call it that. Looking at the photo above, you will see some pencil lines, but you can ignore them. I had another drawing on here that I didn't really feel excited about so I did this design right over the top. I'm having fun blending the colors here.

PS When I took this photo, I didn't realize that there was a wadded up Kleenex there. People are always asking me if I cut myself often. Not usually, but I had a real gusher this time when I was trying to grab something that was setting on a sharp glass point!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little Magnet Glass People

These are some pieces that are going to be magnets. I've been playing around with my leftover scraps of screen printed glass. All of these faces are from a 1940s yearbook. I'm preparing for a show next week. I'll have many mosaics available, but this is something that people can pick up for cheap!

I'm bringing about 10 old mosaics and about 10 new mosaics. I'm going to mark down the older mosaics. I'll also have my books and notecards and postcards as well. In fact, I just got a nice spinning card rack off Craigslist!

Bluff Country Studio Art Tour
April 24, 25, and 26
My location: Lanesboro Community Center with four other artists

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SAMA 2009 Conference

I've just returned home from the 2009 Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) conference. It was my third conference and was so much fun! I met lots of my online friends in person, I stayed up waaaaaayyy too late every single night talking with my roommates, and my brain is buzzing with all the new ideas that keep crowding in. That is why I go to the conference. It's always a great inspiration to me. I was also a vendor this year (picture above is Crystal Thomas's that I stole from her flickr site - full of great images from the conference!) selling my books and notecards and postcards. Great way to meet people!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Keeping Busy

In the last week or two, I've been working on small pieces for future shows and to place in galleries. This one is "Winter Wonderland", and I've also done an autumn and summer, as well as some birch trees. Today I'll be grouting four pieces that are ready to go. I've also been applying to a few public art projects. It takes a few hours to apply to each one, but it is so satisfying to send out that big packet in the mail!

For the bandshell project, I am making the design and a cement company is going to fabricate it in the new bandshell floor. It will be pigmented concrete with silver dividers. There will be recycled colored and mirrored glass in the concrete. It should look amazing! We are nearing the end of the design phase. As soon as spring arrives, it will go in. I'll post photos at that time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bathing Beauty

This bathing beauty is 11.25"h x 6.25"w. The face and my signature were hand painted then fired in the kiln. I have lots of other faces for future projects!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A new project

I've been hired to work on a public art project. Originally, it was to be a mosaic on the floor of a bandshell. After talking with several experts, it is clear that this is not a good idea here in Minnesota. The water can get in and the freezing and thawing can (and does) cause the mosaic to break apart. Vertical outdoor surfaces are less problematic, but still have issues of their own. So I'm looking into a variety of options for the bandshell to present at my meeting. I'm going to be working on some designs as well. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Last week

I did two mosaics last week. One was a commission of someone's grandmother, the other was just a fun piece I wanted to do. I might bring it to the mini-salon at SAMA, not sure yet...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Article in the newspaper

This article was in the local paper a few days ago. To read the article, click HERE.