Archive for August, 2011


In the Studio

Progress with the gazing balls has stalled: With this week’s weather came the realization that I was getting nowhere really fast in building up the 6 inch gazing ball into a 12 inch sized one. The concept was a good one. But the weather has left the process of adding cement to build up the foam ball a very slow one. I have not gotten one completed and ready for the second part of the prep (adding the waterproof membrane). There are 10 to make before November. Yikes. At this rate, I won’t have them ready. That is not an option. Working on them the way I had been has now stalled and had me perplexed as to what to do instead.

After putting cement on the largest one a few days ago during the rain from the hurricane, I’ve noticed it is still slightly damp. Not good. Time to figure out something else … this method is taking too long.

I will experiment with this way of making them again or continue with the ones I’ve started at a later date to see if I can build the biggest one up to 12 inches as I believed I could. With the changes in weather, it’s possible it will dry but crack as it gets larger. That is something I will definitely continue with once this custom order is finished.

I’ve set all 5 aside that I’ve got started in different stages of prep work and am starting over from scratch.

back to the drawing board

This IS the way the creative process works for me. Experimenting, teaching myself what works and what doesn’t. I always keep trying and never call any of it a failure anymore. If I’ve learned something from it (and I always do) it is a success. The outcome may not be what I expected, but it’s not a failure. Deciding to try something different and teaching myself how to do it makes the whole thing exciting and enjoyable. I love what I do!! There’s a life lesson in there somewhere too, I’m sure.

Interesting side note: Many have offered up ideas on how to create spheres but most of those are for a flat sided bottom. These particular ones need to be circular all the way around which is why I picked the foam ball to work on.

I’m saving the suggestions in a file on my computer. Presenting them at a later date once I have tried them all out to see how well they worked and my opinions on each one is something I plan to do. It’s great to have so many folks offering up things. I thank you all and keep them coming!

For this order, I need to figure out what else I can use to get the results I need with such a limited budget. After talking it over with my family, we came across some good ideas. The words “make a mold” kept popping up but I don’t really have the resources to make one strong enough to use for 10 balls. But the idea stuck with me. Plan B was born.

Here I go again: I’m heading towards the storage unit … again … to get one of the bowling balls I’ve got stashed in storage for mosaic magic that caught my eye the last time I visited. When I was moving, I had asked the kids who were carrying these heavy boxes down two flights of steps to take out the balls that had been placed in a box and carry them separately. When the kids emptied the rental truck and packed up the unit, the balls were scattered here and there. I believe I have 4 still to cover in stained glass/dish shards. Woo-hoo and yippy skippy! But that is not the point.

The point is this: I saw one I can use as a template for making molds, I know exactly where it is and I’m going to go get it!

The Plan: Once I bring it home I will experiment with the plaster cast strips (fun!!) and create a mold using the bowling ball as a template. If it’s 12 inches I can pretty much get going on the next phase within the next 2 weeks which will keep me on schedule. A very good thing.

To make sure it won’t fold into itself once I add heavy things on top of it, I will experiment with how to make the inside as solid as I can. Spray insulation foam was mentioned this morning … that’s a great place to start! I love brainstorming with my family and friends. I can’t wait to try that to see what happens. I will, naturally, take pictures and share what I’m doing as I go.

Other mosaic stuff: I only worked on one mosaic this week and it took me about 10 minutes. It’s all my brain could handle so it worked out perfectly.

A glass plate like the others I put glass on a few weeks ago had hairline cracks in the center and when I placed a few pieces of stained glass on it, they were visible. I actually had two like that. One I decided to try to nip up and use the clear glass on something else but it is thick and very solid. It was difficult to nip and will eventually be used in something at some point. I never throw anything away if I can help it.

After studying the cracks on this plate for a few minutes, I picked up a piece of Corelle from a dinner plate my daughter broke and donated to my cause. I thought it would work well on this. I added it to the center and stopped. Whoa. I had thought about covering the whole thing, but I like it this way. 10 minutes, if that, and I was finished with it until the glue is dry so I can grout.

By the way, the Corelle nipped easily, much to my surprise. I had heard it was impossible to cut for use in mosaics. This plate is very thin; perhaps mugs and thicker dinnerware are more difficult? I might add a tint to some white grout to give it a little more “pop”. Maybe green or orange.

Not all weeks are creative: I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but it seems that saying: “make something every day” isn’t possible for me. I know I do better work when I’m more productive. But I am not productive every day. I follow the muse whenever possible. She doesn’t always want to work every day. And I’m okay with that.

Some weeks are very productive in the studio, very creative, feeling Zen and in the moment. It’s very cool, I think, to lose time and not be aware of anything except what is in front of me.

Some weeks it’s all about thinking on what to do when the next wave of creativity comes, taking notes (I don’t draw but usually doodle an idea or thought with lots of notes around it), networking, socializing, visiting artists websites because I love to see how creative my online friends have been or virtual shopping on Etsy to pick things for the Treasury’s and now for my daily find on Tumblr. And, every so often, coming up with a “Plan B” for custom orders. 🙂

Pondering: When I do a treasury on Etsy, I always send an email to the shops and let them know their item has been featured and how I share the treasury. I give the links to my blog and Facebook page so they can share the info with their own peeps on their own blogs and pages.

I’m having more difficulty coming up with a way to share the daily find on Tumblr with those involved. I want to let the person know that their item has been featured but I am finding it hard to know what is considered proper etiquette with this. Because I am not sure how to do it, on Saturday’s from this point on, instead of sending them an email letting them know an item was featured on Tumblr, I am going to post the photos and links of the weeks worth of items here. Each week is a themed one, and seeing them altogether in one place will be kind of neat anyway. Hopefully they will find out on their own that they’ve been blogged and an item featured.

As someone who used to do a lot of searching to find out if that was the case when I listed a new item or made something for sale, I think it is a nice way to let them know, through email, that I have featured an item. I always want to make sure the folks who do the work taking the hundreds of photos and dwindling them down to just a few, finding the right words to describe what they’ve got to sell and hope they’ve priced it accordingly get some kind of recognition. I’ve been there, I know how long and hard it is to do the marketing. I love it, but it is very time consuming and not something I can do at this moment in my life. But I can still show the love I have for color and design styles and help them make a sale (fingers crossed). I like to get feedback on items I find too. Some times the colors or styles are just awesome!

SHARE THE LOVE: If you should see a particular item that catches your eye, share it with your friends and virtual social gathering places. It’s how sales are often made or at the very least, how you find a cool shop you didn’t know existed. The person who took the hours setting everything up just right, will be grateful for it. It’s nice to share. And it’s even nicer to share the love.

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

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Autumn is in the air! Breathe in deeply and exhale … ahhhhhhhhh … smell the wood in the nearby fireplace? The spicy cookies in the oven? Did you find your favorite sweater for those cooler mornings? The rich colors of autumn and some of favorite earth tones to use in mosaic work are chosen for this morning’s Treasury.

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/Njc4MzQzOXw2Mzg4MTQyODk/the-colors-of-fall

I love all of the items I pick when I do Treasury’s and rarely have one favorite. I’d love to hear from you! Please click on the link and leave a comment here and/or on Etsy. Let me know if you have a favorite item or shop. Feedback is always welcome.

Enjoy your week!

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

Originally today’s post was to be a feature of one of the items I picked in Monday’s Treasury. As I was moving some things around yesterday to find room to hold the gazing balls in different stages of preparation I caught a glimpse of this piece I’m sharing with you today. Next week I’ll share the item I was going to share today unless something else in my small space catches my eye. 😉

Every so often I feel the pull towards doing something creative other than mosaics. As much as I enjoy creating them, there are times when I feel the need to try something new and different. That’s when I reach for the acrylics.

"A Dreamer's Fleeting Moments"

Not trained at all in anything I’ve done through the years, painting is just fun to do if I don’t allow myself to think about it too much. Like mosaics, I rarely decide what I’m going to do beforehand. I allow my mind to relax as much as I can (this has never been easy for me to do but has become less difficult as I’ve become more practiced in meditation) and let thoughts go … I feel like I could float when done correctly. Nice! Whatever connects does so in those moments between my hands, brain and the canvas. When I decide what to use as a canvas becomes apparent (I’ve never actually painted on canvas, truth be told) it doesn’t take long to cover it up nicely with some colored acrylics.

only the beginning

It helps to listen to music as I do this too. It can be soothing classical music or funky disco music. Hardcore metal or soft rock. And often, what would be considered New Age has been known to soothe the muse. Show tunes, country and even some kids songs creep into the mix. I like it all. And, in turn, the things created may even show a hint of what I listen to while working. During creating the 3 small pieces attached to the larger piece, I was listening to meditation music — flutes and thunderstorms I believe … the perfect combination to show a dreamer’s point of view.

"Sharing Secrets" shows glittery shadow faeries dancing through the air

This piece was completed about 6 months ago. I did the small pieces first and took a very long time deciding what to do with them. It’s not yet framed nor does it have a way to hang it without one. I like it this way and may not frame it. I like the way the paint dripped on the sides. A frame would hide that nice feature, I think. Maybe I can make a frame for it myself out of more of this cool stuff. But for now, it looks like this.

close up of detail and sides

“A Dreamer’s Fleeting Moments” is my attempt at combining altered art, mixed media and mosaics all in one. The base is a large piece of Styrofoam I got out of a box that came with an electronic something or other years ago. It may have been one of the pieces that sat in the back of a closet for years that I knew one day would be used for something awesome. Never toss anything away until you’re sure you can’t use it!!! 😉 It could end up a piece of art some day.

microbeads and seed beads were used around the tempered glass

Before painting on this, I covered it with plaster cast strips and thinset cement smoothing it as I went with wet hands to get a nice, even coating. At first I was just going to paint something on it. Once I did that, I loved the look of it just as it was but knew I would be adding more to it. I had no idea where it was headed.

"Misty Memories" depicts foggy weightlessness often associated with dreaming

The small 4×4 pieces were made as a group and I tried a few different things with them to see if they should be attached to a frame in some way. What evolved from these two things was this seed bead, tempered glass, acrylic water colored square artwork. Each square tells a story about the dreamer with the help of tiny faeries and magical glittery creatures. Glitter is fun to use and I do like to use it. Often.

glitter was sprinkled before adding the tempered glass and glued around the sides of each square to give them a finished appearance

This was the first attempt at something like this and was very enjoyable. As I pulled it out of a box recently and studied it, I thought maybe just leaving it out where I can see it would be a great thing to do. It helps remind myself that whimsy is alive and well deep inside of me when I am ready to allow it out. That’s a very nice thought.

"Moon Magic" has a bridge leading to a heart, water below it with decorative rocks and moss

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

In the Studio

What’s new in the studio this week? Prepping the gazing balls. Woo! All the supplies have been purchased, budget is spent and now it’s time to get down to the creative part. I mentioned a while back that the studio would be less active in one respect since I’ll have very little time to do more than the custom order. So much prep work is required for these it’s good that I have the time I need. I will be surrounded in white styrofoam balls covered in cement to build them up to the proper size as the months progress as there are 10 to be made. There is something really calming about the process of adding thinset to them. I am enjoying this so much. It is very Zen.

The donation pieces are finished and ready to get shipped out. Hopefully I’ll get them in an envelope within the next few days so they have them in time for the art auction.

I hope the set is enjoyed by someone for a very long time. They were so much fun to make and because they are 4×4 inches, they didn’t take long at all to do from start to finish.

Grouting happened this week too.

2-3/4 inch blue tea light candle holder grouted in plum

beer bottle is now bottle art with dish shards and plum grout (great way to upcycle)

3-1/2 inch square candle holder in autumn greens and yellows

6 inch clear glass candle holder plate is now a small sun catcher - PEACE

6 inch clear glass candle holder plate now a sun catcher in soothing colors in blue

sun catcher and candle holder in autumn tones compliment each other

This week is retro week on tumblr. Each day I find a retro item I like and add it to my “Eye for Design and Color” blog. I’ve just begun this blog and am still learning how to use all the features available on tumblr but I am hoping as I add more posts I’ll get better at it. Each week will have a theme. Should be fun!

Friday’s Featured Item will be chosen from one of the shops I picked for Monday’s Treasury.

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

Etsy Treasury: Retro Chic

I never tire in my search for retro items to feature in treasury’s. Beginning this week, on tumblr at

http://earthmothermosaics.tumblr.com/

I will use it as a dedicated space to share my eye for design and color. Hopefully many will follow me as I discover new items for the themed weeks ahead.

This week while creating the treasury for today the choices started with a search for retro. Then I began thinking of the colors I like associated with that style. What resulted was a treasury filled with colorful retro chic items. Fantastic!

One of these items will be chosen to go on tumblr this week in keeping with the retro theme.

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/Njc4MzQzOXw2MDgwNjE2NDA/retro-chic

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

Yesterday I wrote a post about my parents and knew I had a picture of them on my computer some where that would fit well within the post. I searched for quite a while but only found the picture late last night and wanted to add it here before I lose it again.

my Pop-Pop "happily" sitting in a butterfly chair, my Dad and Mom at Christmas time

This week’s featured item are a set of my fresh looking coasters. Cool tangerine orange and lime green coasters I’ve dubbed “Citrus Slices” on sale now at http://earthmothermosaicsstore.blogspot.com/.

Painted in acrylics, these coasters are then sprinkled liberally with gold glitter and covered in tempered glass. I love the look of these.

If you live locally near Skippack Village, one set is on display at Tara’s Country Cottage along with many great items by local artisans, including Tara.

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

Not too long ago I was virtual shopping on a few of my favorite sites. As I clicked from item to item I realized I am drawn to the styles that were popular when I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. No real surprise but always a nice time to reflect on happy times.

My parents were both artists. My Dad, now in his 80’s, is a talented woodworker. It was not uncommon for us to have tables and chairs in our home created by him from his workshop. My Mom, who passed away in the early 70’s was great with a needle and thread. Sewing machines, knitting needles and all the supplies that go with those items were always around. When they had parties, it was not unusual for them to invite many artists who lived in the Bucks County area during those years. What fun that was!

In honor of those fond memories, I’ve created an additional Treasury this week devoted to Mid-century Modern.

Enjoy!

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/Njc4MzQzOXw1OTQ5NDkzOTY/mid-century-modern

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

In the Studio

I’m having a challenging week but it is good to be challenged once in a while. Mostly my challenges are personal in nature this week; thank goodness it hasn’t stopped me from doing mosaic work. For me, making mosaics are as necessary when life is bumpy as they are when life is smooth sailing. I try to always give myself time to concentrate on my favorite creative past time no matter what is going on these days. I have learned it’s important to me.

The mosaic-related challenges have been enjoyable, in truth. They allow me to brainstorm and experiment. Two of my favorite things to do. It also takes my mind away from the personal stuff — always a nice diversion.

I started prep work on the gazing balls this week. I am “bulking up” the spheres. It was impossible to find 8-10 inch Styrofoam balls in my area and when I was able to find a few online, the expensive was beyond me. My budget is limited, so creative ways to use what I have been able to purchase for prepping is the way to go. 6 inch Styrofoam balls were plentiful! Plaster cast strips and thinset cement combined will do the trick of making them the size I need them to be. It is a long process of waiting, mostly, before adding another layer.

Once I start cutting the gold mirror, I will use a sealant on all the cuts to try to prevent the mirror from getting black spots over time. This sealant comes in an aerosol can and for large pieces of mirror is quite easy to use. Just spray all the edges you’ve cut with glass cutters. However my cuts will be small and made into about 1/2 to 1/4 inch pieces and spraying the edges would be too difficult to make sure they are protected with sealant. For that reason, I spray a small amount into a cup and use a craft paint brush to brush the edges. This too can be time-consuming but worth it if it protects my work. That is what prep work is all about!

cutting 1/8 inch squares for the 6 inch prototype took 2 days

When I made the prototypes using the 6 inch Syrofoam balls, they were only 6-1/2 inches in diameter once completed. I wasn’t as concerned with the size as I was with the cuts of mirror I used to show how different each sphere can look depending on the cut of the glass/mirror. These are a fairly nice size to decorate with within a home or garden and could have many decorative uses. As centerpieces for a wedding like these 12 inch gazing balls I’m working on now will be used for, or for a garden party or even a formal indoor dinner. The fact that they are handmade makes them interesting. The prototypes were a great success and I’m pleased with the results. I can physically bring them with me to show potential local clients what they look like or they can be placed on the table for my own decorative use when I do craft shows/fairs/festivals. If people are interested in seeing them in person, and I believe to really get the full impact of them they should be viewed in person whenever possible, I can transport them easily without struggling with their weight.

The ones I’m working on now will be heavy but the perfect combination of plaster strips and thinset cement will be used to get them to the size I need.

plaster cast and thinset will be added until they are the proper size

For these gazing balls, I have a waterproof membrane to paint onto the ball once it is ready for the mirror so protecting it from that point on will be easy. I want to make sure there is no moisture allowing fungus to grow within the membrane on the inner part … yuck … keeping them dry and solid is crucial to their success and mine. Patience is necessary during the building process … something I often struggle with.

using gloved hands I smooth the thinset with water to keep the shape of the sphere as it gets larger

Bowling balls work well and I’ve used them to turn them into garden art. I still have a few in storage to “play” with. The next job I do for gazing balls if it’s for more than one, I would love to use recycled bowling balls in good shape (no splits or damage) depending on the size the client needs and if I can find all the bowling balls I need before my deadline. The best way to find them is to place a free local ad on websites such as Freecycle. I have found quite a few when I did that a few years ago!

Spheres are so much fun to make and can be all sizes and colors. Small ones can make as much of an impact as large ones. Having them sit along side flowers in a summer garden can give your outdoor space a delightful light show when the sun shines (I almost always use some mirror in my spheres for this reason).

Here are a few I’ve made using spheres made of plastic, ceramic, old bowling balls and a Styrofoam ball.

Father's Day Gift for my Dad - Photo courtesy of Patricia Guthrie - recycled bowling ball

Father's Day Gift for my Dad - recycled bowling ball

"Spring Equinox" - Gift for a family member - recycled bowling ball

"Kinetic Energy" - custom order - recycled bowling ball

"Coasting On The Wings Of Tomorrow" - a tabletop mosaic sculpture - ceramic bisque sphere

plastic sphere is covered with broken Christmas ornaments and tempered glass, then grouted - measure about 3 inches in diameter - plastic sphere

prototype using triangle mirror cuts - Styrofoam craft ball

For those interested in ordering one or many mosaic gazing balls for a garden, as a centerpiece or table decoration from me, you can do so by sending me an email through earthmothermosaics@yahoo.com any time.

If you’re interested in creating your own for the first time, I suggest doing a lot of searching online for inspiration and “how-to” information. They are fun to make but can be daunting because they are spherical. Asking questions never hurts and I have found many are willing to share their experiences in the mosaic forums I belong to. Send me a note with any questions you may have if you are unsure about something before you start. Mosaicists are the most open and giving people on the planet. I’ve learned so much. The kindness and openness I have come across has helped build my philosophy on “learning as I go” and to go for it. The sky is the limit!! As a self-taught mosaic enthusiast I approach my work with fun and excitement. I’m always learning!

I made 2 more 4×4 inch donation mosaics to send on to Indiana. I had a few more ideas and made them this week. I’m waiting for the glue to dry, still (it’s been a very wet week here in PA) and once grouted I’ll add bails to the back and put string or rope through the bails for easy hanging.

this daisy will be placed on a 4x4 inch piece of MDF covered in iridescent white stained glass

this shiny dragonfly will be placed on a 4x4 inch piece of MDF covered in blue Van Gogh stained glass

Stay tuned for more pictures in the coming weeks and months to see the progress on these gold mirror gazing balls as I progress with all ten.

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

Full moon, meteor showers, thunderstorms and lots of rain. I love this time of year!

My creativity is in full swing as I’m working on mosaics every chance I get. Working on the custom order will have me prepping for about a month before I can actually glue mirror onto the gazing balls but there are so many mosaic ideas (mostly colors) floating around in my head and I will find time to get them all out. Also, this is the time of year when I start making suns, stars and moons in a lot of my mosaics. My favorites! Yay!

In honor of my favorite objects to create, I share here the creative talents of 16 artisans that have found the spirit I’ve been searching for.

Enjoy this fine collection of spirit dancing items in my Monday Treasury entitled: “My Spirit is Dancing”.

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/Njc4MzQzOXw1NzY4MzM4MDA/my-spirit-is-dancing

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

In keeping with what seems to be becoming a theme for me, I found a fantastic artist who creates butterflies, dragonflies and flowers using barbed wire and metal. All of those lovely things seem to be finding me without my having to look very hard. If you follow the blog or my Facebook page you know I’ve donated a butterfly recently, made one for my grandson with the pull tab wings, and just made a flower and dragonfly to donate within the next few weeks. I like this theme!

This week the featured item is coming from an Etsy shop. merritthyde, Merritt Hyde – Rustic Original Art & Gifts has some of the most unique handmade items I’ve seen in a long time. The use of recycled materials is what made these things become interesting for me but what made me stay and search her entire inventory are the colors!

Her profile says: “rusted barn tin, old wood and barbwire become works of art and beauty while still retaining a sense of history and character”. How cool is that?

Please welcome Merritt’s art to your world and take a slow look through her shop. The whimsy involved in creating her art is similar to the folk art that appeals to me. The colors are bright and trendy; although I’m not fond of following trends, I have to say some of the colors being used right now in home decor and handmade art is fresh and appealing. I seem to gravitate towards green … it’s an earth color after all. If that makes it trendy, then so be it!

The designs are simple. Each item is something we all could find a place for in our home or give anyone as a gift. I love her original style!

Merritt’s Etsy shop has become an instant favorite of mine. I will visit often!

It wasn’t easy to find a favorite piece to feature here today. Many things caught my eye and I could say the entire inventory in the shop is a favorite. However, one, mostly because of the color, caught my eye right away.

© Merritt Hyde Rustic Original Art & Gifts

Isn’t this awesome?! It has a wire attached so it can be hung on the wall or used as a magnet. Perfect!!

Please visit Merritt’s shop and let her know if you found her here through this blog.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/merritthyde

I’ll be busy in the studio because the humidity has lifted which means my mosaics are just about dry enough to grout this weekend. Woo-hoo!

Next week I start prep work on the gazing balls. That should take about a month to complete before I can start the fun of adding the gold mirror to them but I will be creating small mosaics in between to keep the muse happy! As usual, as I make them, I’ll be adding photos to the flickr photostream and sharing them as I do.

Have a great weekend!!

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

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