This week my Featured Item is entitled “Peace, Patience and Happiness”. This piece is one that will stay with me forever. It is, in truth, a failed mosaic. However, I am in love with it’s imperfections NOW and it is what makes me want to keep it. It actually makes me smile.

 I may have over indulged with photos here but to see the difficulties I describe below I felt it was necessary to show as many as I could.

Created in March 2010, I had a lot of nice sized scraps of stained glass and thought I’d use them in the random style I am fond of on a 10×10 inch frame. Covering the mirror in the center with clear glass that has ridges and grouting it, offered this piece a unique twist. I used charms with their words proclaiming “Peace, Patience and Happiness” and knew that would be the name of my mosaic. I had no clue all three would be needed in order to see it as a success and not a failure.

There is a small circular piece of enamel (blue with a yellow dot in the center) that was given to me by my Dad. He had them made in the late 50’s or early 60’s and kept them to use when he carved out some wooden fish to be used as cutting boards, adding an eye on each one. I remember seeing one when my parents gave parties as I was growing up. I also think one was used by my Grandmother every so often as well, if I remember correctly. I think I am a lot like my folks and like using and giving things I make whenever I can to people I love. That one little element on this frame alone was enough to make this special for me.

Like I said above, I love this mosaic now. But at the time I made it, I was quite upset with just about everything having to do with it. I’m grateful that I found a way to share it with others and see it’s beauty even if it did take a long time.

So much went wrong with it … it wasn’t an easy mosaic to make. First off I didn’t have any primer. Remembering I could use Weldbond and water to create my own primer, I figured I could give that a try. I had the ratio that was recommended on the product’s website,, (1 part Weldbond to 5 parts water) and thought it was a bit watery when I was using it. Not having ever used that combination, I wasn’t really sure if it was okay or not but it seemed to dry easily and gave the wood a nice coating. As a personal preference now, when I use this combo as primer, I make it a little thicker (2 parts to 3 parts) and paint the wood with an acrylic color that I would use on the back and sides of the mosaic first before I glue anything to it once the glue/water primer is dry. This seems to work for me. I often use and prefer Kilz, as my primer however, in a pinch, the glue/water mixture works just fine.

I waited for the glue to dry and started placing my tesserae with more of the same glue onto the wood. I loved the look of the finished mosaic and was happy with how it turned out. Through some of the stained glass pieces I could see the wood texture and thought that was such a great addition to it as I often see white from the primer and not the wood. It was a beauty!

Waiting a few days to grout, once it was completely dry, I was going to seal it, as I always do. I noticed it had a bend in the wood and when placed flat on the table, it almost curled in the center. The frame was warped from liquid seeping into the joints which were slightly spaced; it was bent quite a bit.

I was devastated and proclaimed it a failure on my Facebook wall but covered it in sealant and put it aside, disheartened. Shortly after I had announced my disappointment, a few wonderful people much more seasoned with making mosaics told me how to fix the warped wood by using a warm oven, something heavy and giving it time to straighten. I was so happy! I immediately placed it in the oven and loaded it up with all the heavy ceramic floor tiles I had on top of it to sit overnight. Once I took the tiles off I was amazed at what I saw! No more warped wood! However … the glue under the stained glass had heated up and melted a bit and added some strange looking bubbles and streaks under the glass once it cooled. I was bummed and very displeased.

Even the one funky piece of plastic jewelry stayed in place and didn’t melt or change at all however, I saw every flaw under the glass from the glue and dubbed it a failure and put it aside.

One day about 4 months later I saw it peeking out from under a few other mosaics I am not fond of (yes, I do have a few!) and decided to give it a second look. The flaws gave this one a special look about it. I found I was actually happy at the effect of how the glue looked under the glass. I had found “happiness” in it.

The warp is almost completely gone. If I had started out with a warped piece of wood and nothing glued on top of it, the technique I used would have worked, I’m sure.

I put it up on the wall and looked at it for a long time. If I had a little more “patience” with it and left it be under the tiles longer, perhaps it would have kept from becoming warped once again but I didn’t and the way it looked, far from perfect, was something I had to make “peace” with. The more I studied it, the more I began to see some really cool things about it. Things I’d never have achieved had I not had to treat the warped wood.

Many of these photos show how the glue “failed” under the glass however it never fell off and it is still very sturdy on the frame. The grout didn’t crack or dry out and nothing tess-wise melted or needed to be removed. And the warp, is just slightly noticeable. Actually, if I didn’t point them out, I’m not sure anyone would really notice any of the flaws, including the warp.

“Peace, Patience and Happiness” has become one of my favorite mosaics because I learned from it but also because I found the beauty in it. I know I will never likely part with it now that I see it in a different way. It hangs just above my computer and makes me smile every day.

Have a wonderful weekend!


©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics