Time again to big up a talented individual who I think deserves a blog post, spreading the word about the lovely things they make. If you missed previous posts on this theme, I started with a pledge to try and buy handmade for Christmas, and decided to continue supporting independent business with a series of posts about a few of my favourite on-line sellers.
Just to remind you:
I have received no free products or payment of any kind.
They have not even asked me to write a post about them.
This is entirely of my own volition – a fist bump to all the Davids out there, and a V sign to the Golliaths.
So – drum roll please for Juesaics
Julie makes beautiful stained/fused glass and mosaic art. She has pieces already made and for sale, but will also make commissioned pieces if you have something in particular…
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So I was asked to create a mosaic by my friend, Wes, and he wanted me to include all the Olympic 50 pence coins and one souvenir coin. I was excited about this project but also nervous. Wes had been collecting the Olympic 50p coins for 2 years, so this made me feel a little scared about including them in a mosaic. I have never added any coins in a piece of art before and my main concern was, ‘what if I covered the coins in grout and it didn’t come off the surface’? Two years of collecting and the expense made me cautious about how I was going to progress with this task. I did think about creating a stain glass piece but wasn’t sure of the effects of the solder on the coins. So I stuck with creating a mosaic.
I set to work thinking about the design. It didn’t take me long to work out what I wanted to do as it was the coins that gave me the idea. I decided to create a beach scene and place the coins where they were best suited. So swimming and sailing in the water, running on the ground area and bowling on the grass. I did have to stretch this idea so the coins were spread out more evenly across the mosaic. So, for example, archery was in the sky and boxing on the grass but the overall concept was there.
I liked the idea of curvy lines to separate the different areas. I recycled an old wooden shelf for the base of the mosaic and once the outline of the beach and sea had been drawn, I placed all 30 coins and drew round them. I put masking tape over the surface of each coin and numbered them so I knew where they went. The masking tape was to prevent grout going on the coin’s surface. Once my plan and design was complete I then start to mosaic.
I used a combination of mosaic tiles and recycle glass. Shells were also included in the beach area (collected from Southport beach) but I added them afterwards and secured them in wet grout. In the middle of the sun I placed the souvenir Olympic coin and surrounded it with gold reflective tiles. Glass blue pebbles and aqua bubble effect tiles were included in the wave and tiny glass tile flowers in the grass area.
The grouting part was difficult as I used different coloured grout for each section. I mixed grout colours of green, yellow and blue to correspond to the different areas.
It took me a few weeks to finish and I started to feel excited about showing it to my friend. This was a commission piece but also a gift from Wes to another person. I knew Wes would love anything I made for him but I didn’t know the response of his friend, Natalie. Once complete I didn’t want to give it up so I had a good feeling Wes would like it. He was over the moon with it and said he wanted to keep it too. I was there when the gift was presented to Natalie and she liked it.
Making a unique piece of artwork is very satisficing and rewarding. I enjoyed the challenge and incorporating other materials into a mosaic like coins and shells. It taught me a lot about creating mosaics and has given me future ideas.
The first mosaic I ever made was this white flower on a blue background.
I made it on a one day course at this woman’s house, in a large shed purposely built for her mosaic craft classes. From that day I knew I wanted to continue with this craft. I gave the flower mosaic to my mother as a present and it still hangs on her wall today.
After that I got into making lots of different mosaics. One of my first was a dragonfly designed on a foot stool for my husband and this was followed by more dragonflies, then a dove of peace, a running hare and a blossom tree set against a sky blue background.
After a while I sat back to reflect on what I had created so far and discovered I had not made a single mosaic for myself. I was so busy and excited about sharing my new passion to the world; I had not created any piece for my own aesthetic pleasure. I loved seeing my family and friends faces light up when they saw their present, as was something completely unique and just for them.
So I sat down and thought about what I would like to do and that’s when I decided to make a green man mosaic. I gathered the glass coloured tiles I wanted – by this time I had collected many different colours and textured glass tiles. I wanted forest greens and leaves for my green man and a purple background. I wanted tiles that had gold flecks across the surface, glass with green glitter and colours that reflect the light. I designed a drawing based on many different pictures I had found and my green man was born.
Originally, he was created on a piece of plywood measuring 20x20cm and I was happy with the finished result. Then, a local art competition was asking for people to submit artwork and I decided to entry my green man mosaic in it. I wanted my mosaic to be bigger so it stood out, so I mounted it on a bigger piece of wood and added mosaic tiles around the edges. I was going to leave part of the boarder plain wood but it did not look right. So the night before the art competition I stayed up and decided I was going to fill the boarder. In the end I produced a pistachio coloured grout, which I added with great care. It was messy but fun
This is my finally piece.
He didn’t win the competition but I got to create a unique mosaic for myself. Since then I have made other mosaics for my home and for others. My green man does come to craft shows with me as a centrepiece and for the right price I would sell him. You see, in the end even though it is good to create artwork for yourself, it is even better to share it with the world.