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Thursday 13 December 2018

The making of a bespoke dog mosaic

One thing I love about my job is the variety of commissions I am asked to make.  Now, to be honest, in the past, I have steered away from doing mosaics of people and pets.  It is very hard to get a true likeness, which I have found disappointing, which leads to me worrying about disappointing my client.
But when I received an enquiry a few months ago to make a mosaic of a dog, Vinnie, who had sadly recently passed away, I just wanted to do it.  Vinnie spent a lot of time in the garden with his owners and they wanted an exterior mosaic to hang on the wall, so that he would somehow be with them still - pet owners will know what I mean ...
So my client sent me three or four photos of Vinnie and I chose one to base the mosaic on - see below.

As the mosaic was for outside, I used cement board as my backing and porcelain tiles.  I am lucky enough to have found a supplier with a wide selection of colours to choose from (www.mosaictrader.co.uk)
Now came the tricky bit ... I started with drawing a design of Vinnie and checked with my clients that I had captured the essence of Vinnie well enough.

I started with the dark brown defining tiles first, and then, as you can see above, started to build up the other shades of his fur, using the colour and shapes of the tiles to show his front legs, undercarriage etc.

I always leave the face until last, as it is the most difficult part to get right. It takes a lot of trial and error, but finally I was happy it was as good as it could be, as close to Vinnie as possible.

As Vinnie was quite long and thin in the mosaic, I decided to put a frame around it to finish it off, before doing the background.

I made the tile pieces quite big for the background, to have as much colour as possible and not detract from the detail of Vinnie.  Then finally the grouting, and here is the finished article!

It was a tricky commission, but I am very pleased with the result and thankfully so are my clients - here is what they said - 
'Just to let you know I received the package today and it arrived safely it is amazing thank you so much for doing the mosaic 
Our Vinnie is back home and we have something lovely to look at every day
Thank you'

Until next time, and thank you for reading,
Felicity x

Monday 27 August 2018

An astronomical doorstep mosaic commission

Hello blogger friends,

I just thought I would share with you a recent mosaic commission of mine.  As I often think with my work, there is never a dull moment, and this particular job certainly shows that!

Following a telephone enquiry, my client asked for a mosaic doorstep for her house in the UK reflecting its name - Observatory House. By making it on cement board, using porcelain tiles, exterior grout and sealing it, this was something I could make for her, ensuring it was as enduring as it could possibly be.  We offered two options - two pieces or a triptych design, including two alcoves - she went for latter - see below.

The installation was being done by her own builders - all we asked for were accurate measurements  for the doorstep and a flat surface for it to be laid on.
My client was also celebrating her Ruby wedding anniversary, so she asked us to look into the possibility of showing constellations in the approx place they would have been on their wedding day forty years ago.  An interesting challenge...  But the internet can be a wonderful thing, and we came up with the below constellation map for her. www.posterhaste.com (Excuse the creases - a lot of work, thought and rubbing out went into it!)

Once we had agreed that the constellations were as accurate as possible, we decided on the font for the text.  As you can see, my client wanted Observatory House in Latin and we chose Alegreya SC Regular. 

With the design agreed, I could then get on with the making, to be ready in time for my client's ruby wedding party - no pressure then!  Below is the design drawn on the cement board.  With the tiles having arrived, I was ready to go - let the snipping begin!

 Here are a series of progress pictures ....

And there you have it!
My client also requested a display she could put up in her house with details of the constellations, how I made it etc ....

I hope you enjoyed hearing about this, my latest commission - I am so lucky to have such varied work, and I also know a lot more about the constellations now!
If you have a mosaic project in mind, do get in touch and we can discuss the possibilities - felicityball@justmosaics.co.uk

Until the next time,
Felicity x

PS I have just received the photos of the doorstep in situ - I'm really pleased with it.


Wednesday 2 May 2018

How I made a large fish mosaic - part 3

Hello blogger friends,

Sorry for the gap between part 2 and part 3, but I was waiting for a photo of the marlin mosaic in situ to show you - I hope it is worth the wait!

After I had finished snipping all the tiles for the mosaic, I left it for a few days and gave it a good coat of looking.  If a tile keeps catching my eye, it is not right and it comes out, however tricky that might be!

When I was finally happy with it all, I grouted the mosaic a section at a time with pre-mixed grey grout, which not only brings out all the colours, but adds an atmosphere of its own.

Then when it was cleaned and there were no spaces in the grout, I painted the sides and the back with weather proof paint to seal it, and with a final polish it was ready for packing and the courier.

My clients were kind enough to send me some photos of it in situ in their new kitchen.
What do you think?

I look forward to hearing from you,
Until the next time,
Felicity x

Saturday 3 February 2018

How I made a large fish mosaic - part 2

Hello blogger friends,

I am making good progress with my latest large mosaic commission - it really is a pleasure to make.  I love choosing all the different coloured tiles from my large collection, and then cutting out the shapes, thinking of the atmosphere and movement I want to create.
First I finished cutting out and sticking the tiles for the marlin - I am really pleased with how he turned out.

In order to give the mosaic a 3D feel, I made the marlin separately and will then stick it onto the background board, when it comes to grouting the whole piece.

Moving on, I then chose the tiles for the sea, and prepared them by cutting them all into wave like shapes.

When I create a sea mosaic, I measure the area into three approximate sections and allocate three shades to each one. I blend each section into each other so they are not obvious. I start with darker smaller tiles at the top and finish with lighter larger tiles at the front, to give a distance perspective.

I also made some mirror tiles to give the effect of splashes of water. 

... and here is the sea finished, with the marlin laid in place, to give you an idea of what it is going to look like, and the effect I want to create.

I would love to hear from you about what you think of it so far - and would be really grateful if you could share my blog with your friends and followers.

Until the next time ...

Sunday 7 January 2018

How I made a large fish mosaic - part 1

Hello blogger friends,

Many thanks to so many of you for reading my first blog post of 2018, about my latest large commission .  If you didn't get a chance to see it, here it is - http://justmosaics.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/an-exciting-mosaic-new-year.html

So, this is my first week of working on the marlin.  My studio is all ready and I'm looking forward to starting.

I needed to have the wood cut to start with.  I have used 9ml exterior plywood for it - I could have used mdf but I prefer to use wood if I can.  The main board is 60cm x 90cm, which isn't far off the original marlin mosaic - see below.  My clients didn't want a border for their commission, leaving more space for the fish, sea and sky.

I drew the shape of the marlin on the plywood, as I will be making this separately first, and then will stick it onto the background board to really give the mosaic the 3D feel of the marlin leaping out from the sea.

Once the marlin had been cut out, I sanded the edges and added the details of the fish as guidelines for when I mosaic.  It is always exciting when I cut and stick the first tile!
I usually start a large mosaic by cutting and sticking shades of one/two colours first. With the marlin, I started with the fins and tail which are black and grey tiles.  As I cut and stick, I am thinking of the movement of the fish, and the light catching the fish as it jumps from the sea.  I use the spaces between the tiles as well to create this movement.

This is how it looks so far, as I gradually build up all the different movements, textures and colours in the fish.
Next week, I shall fill in the rest of the fish, with the eye and the mouth always being the most difficult parts!  Look out for my next post and see how it takes shape.

Many thanks for reading, and it would be great if you could share it with your friends and followers,
Felicity x