Monday, August 13, 2007

Lazy Summers

Sorry for keeping you all in such suspense over PM's Parodied Puss on a Perfect Plate about to get Pinched. You'll just have to stay on your toes a little longer.

Summer caught up with me big time so I haven't had a chance to break the plate nor make any more mosaics. But since I've been traveling so much this summer I came across others who make mosaics also. In fact, it could be arguable that they are perhaps better and more diligent than myself in this art and maybe have enough left over broken glass to make themselves a parking lot out of it.

Welcome to Angel Foods in Truro, MA. (Or Provincetown, depending on who you ask.)

This place sells all sort of gourmet snack and treats and it's just a cool place. I went here to get snacks to take back to my hotel when I looked down at the parking lot and noticed glass everywhere. The glass came from plates, tiles, cookie jars and even toilets.

The man next door is an artist and I'm embarrassed to admit now that I can't remember his name. When I do, I'll mention it here but I met him. He came out into the parking lot to take a picture of mom and I picking up these pieces of glass. He was very kind and talked to us about he got started in mosaics. He allowed us to take some of the glass with us because he likes to see his glass scraps get used in other people's projects.

Here are the pieces I gathered:

I doubt that any of these pieces came from a toilet. I tried to get the ones that looked the most like Blue Willow and I have never in my life seen a Blue Willow toilet. Then again I guess there's a first time for everythng.

I did lots of shopping in PTown and I'll take pictures of some of the things I got later. Since I keep the mosaic pieces I collected with some glass beads I bought, here's a darkened picture of the glass beads:

Someday these will be a part of something. I can't wait. I'll blog about it when I do. And soon I'll blog about the wonders of Sculpey Clay! :o)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Plate Challenge 2007!: Part One of Part Two

Remember the last plate challenge? I had those pretty flowers in the center of the plate and I wanted to break only the rim and keep the flowers intact. On the first cut, I broke right through the flowers. I cussed and cried and didn't think I'd try that again too soon.

Well here I am giving it another shot. I bought a load of plates from a dollar store having a going out of business sale. All they had left were purple plates so I guess I will need to have a purple plate project some day in the future.

To remind you all what the plate challenge is, the object is to take a plate with an image in the center and use the wheel cutter to break the glass around the image with out destroying the image itself. When I did this in class we drew hearts and flowers and all of my attempts failed miserably. I decided that this time I just needed something in the center I would never want to break. Something that means a lot and I'd never want to harm in a million years. I chose to use the image of a trusted friend:

I chose Pharaoh Mobius. Who'd want to break that face, huh? It's so cute and poiny.

I took a wheel cutter to the rim of the plate and cut. The first cut broke off little bits off the rim but none brutally cracked PM's lovely mug.

So far so good. PM's puss is presently perfect. The rim seems to want to break apart nicely and not straight through his mouth like I might have expected.

Many cuts later and PM remains okay. I'm really glad how well the rim wants to bust up without cracking into the center where PM smiles cheerfully. This is great!

But I am so totally not done. While the rim has been removed, there's another obstacle:

Underneath the plate there is this rim. This could cause me some issues. Actually, it could cause PM some problems.

Tune in next time for the adventures of "PM's Periled Puss!"

Thursday, April 5, 2007

My Last Project

Here is my final completed project:

This is an ornament I made just before Christmas. As you can see, it's made just like the last stained glass piece. I covered each piece in foil and soldered them all together. The only clear difference is the type of foil I used. The insides of the ornament got the straight foil while I used a nice scalloped foil on the outside. I was the only one in class who used this because I was the bravest! I knew my heart would look awesome with it so I had no other choice but to gird my loins and try it. I think it looks gorgeous!

Here is my peice again stuck to a suction nipple, catching come sun.

If I could do some things differently, I would have soldered the inner parts thicker so you wouldn't see the seams. Also, this heart was all cut from the same piece of glass but the upper right side was a bluer peice. It looks weird to me. Also, all the grains in the glass could have matched better. It would have given the heart a more ethereal quality.

Aside from that, I really like this ornament. It can be used year around, not just for Christmas.

And now, because one Tork demanded it, here is another cat picture:

Emma Vs Godzilla!

BTW, I'm going to get back to the organization now like I said I would before. I got lazy and never really started but since I'm out of projects and the basement flooded again, now is as good a time as any. Unil next time, "MLAAAAAAAAAAGH!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stained Glass Blob Blues

I went back to class with the same teacher to learn how to make a stained glass window. It's really not a huge leap from grout to soldering but it is more difficult. BTW, there is some discussion about if the word is soddering or soldering. I am guilty of saying soddering but I just have to remember this Urban Dictionary entry and I'll never forget. Ow!

Here is my first stained glass piece done in the Tiffany style:

I took off the frame to show you the edges so I can try my very best to explain this process. Unfortunately I don't have the equipment to show you what I had to do to make this but I can google an example.

To begin with I had to cut all these separate pieces and try to get them to match. The lower petals of the flower and the white pieces filling it in were a bitch to cut. They had to fit like a puzzle. A perfect puzzle. At least to my standards. When I was done using the glass grinder, I was almost in tears because my pieces looked like I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The teacher promised me the soldering would be kind but I know I could have done better. Someday I may be able to make stained glass church windows but not without many good cries inside the church itself.

Each piece of glass has been taped with a kind of copper foil amd then a flux was painted on. The blue tape here is just used to hold each piece together as the person soldering uses the hot soldering iron mixes the foil with the roll of wire. This part of the process is easy but mistakes can still happen. If you heat the glass to much it explodes. If you fret over the soldering to much it looks burnt. Hence the title of this post. I left giant blobs between my pieces of glass. I wish the blobs hadn't been so blobby but, again, like I said in my very first post in this blog, I suppose it's all in the eye of the beholder. It may look okay to some and could be a design choice but I would have chosen to thin out the blobs.

Here's where I cheated on this project and I'll admit to it. Once I was done soldering, it was all silver and shiny. I painted the patina on so it looked older. This design choice made it all come together nicely:

Here is my finished piece again catching some sun:

Blobby or not, I like it. Like someone said in class, it looks like an old fashioned quilt square. I love the colors I used. I can't wait until I get to try making another stained glass piece. I have one more to show you in a future blog and I hope there will be more to come.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Still Unfinished

I'm still working in chronological order through all the mosaics I've made (sort of) and I want to show you one that I started and will someday finish. I started it right after the pickle jar and I was making it the same way. I used a picture like the one below:
I printed it out and taped it to the inside of a votive candle holder and started to mosaic over the picture, onto the glass.

As you can see, I taped the image onto the inside of a curve so that's why the inside of the candle holder is stuffed with tissues and a toilet paper roll. I wanted to push the image into the curve.

I'm not quite done with the petals of the poppy but even when I do that, I'm not sure what else to fill in the spaces with. Maybe more poppies or maybe leaves. I don't really know what I want to do and that's why this project stalled. I do know one thing. I want the grout to be black. I bought some black grout from Michael's and I've never used anything like it. It seems like a sanded grout so it shouldn't give me trouble when I get to that poin. Fingers crossed.

Now let's skip the rest of the mosaic talk. I have told you all that I have a cat named Emma but I also have a cat named Artie. He doesn't usually get in the way when I make mosaics so that's why he's not mentioned but I'll bring him into this. Here he is trying to sleep:

Isn't he cute? He's my little, stinky boy and I love him. He's an old, stubborn boy too. He likes to fight with Emma and this chair he's in is a prime poin of confrontation. Looks like Artie's won.... for now!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Complete, yet Unfinished

My project is all done, sort of. Voila:

I used a glass cleaner and I shined it up nice and then I used a tile sealer over it all. I didn't feel the need to take pictures of that process because it's rather simple and boring. You don't need to see me put sealer on a sponge and dab it over the grout. All the sealer does is adhere the sand in the groat together so it won't come off and water won't ruin the surface. It's all sealed up good and that's hard to show so you'll just have to trust me. And I am trustworthy!

If you haven't noticed already, at the corner of the keepsake box I dripped some primer paint. Someday I will get around to sanding that spot off and maybe repainting it. I'm not in a hurry to paint the rest of the box. All this project was really about was to practice cutting the plate and gluing it to the surface of the keepsake box. I think it went well because I learned tons about using a wheel cutter and what I would do differently. Go me!

My next project that will be fun and I will totally document it for the blog. I will be reorganizing my glass collection. I've been steadily collecting mugs, plates, stained glass and other stuff and I was keeping it in my basement. Over the summer the basement flooded so I have to organize the slightly muddy stuff and the stuff that was piled on top of other stuff. I just know that during this process I'll be rediscovering awesome stuff that I forgot I bought. I'll get cool ideas and we'll all rejoice.

In the meantime I will still be showing off other completed projects but I do have one uncompleted project I can show you now that I found a few days ago stuck between some magazines.

I put it in the window to try and show off the light going through it but there it's much light outside right now. I'm too lazy to take the picture again so I'll explain what you're seeing. This was technically my first mosaic. In class, my teacher was trying to show us how easy it was to cut glass with a scorer and a wheel cutter. The lesson wasn't just about learning to use the tools but it was also about not being afraid of being cut by the glass. She told us that if you have a fear of being cut by glass then you should leave class now because you will get cut. A lot. And I did. I was first student to draw blood while making this pear and I proudly showed it off. Not to be outdone, the lady who cut herself after me actually held up her finger and grunted like Tim Allen on Home Improvement. Several times. We all moved away from her.

As you might be able to see, I drew an outline of a pear on the glass and then cut pieces to fill it in. I used a lighter green for the leaves, a darker green for the pear itself and then I used a peachy colored glass to give the pear an accent. It looks like the window reflection you'd see on an apple. I don't really care if most pears don't do that. I like it. It has character like me!

Someday I'd like to find a picture frame to glue it into and fill in the space around the pear and use it as a suncatcher. If I ever do that, I'll be happy to blog it all. :o)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Grouting 101

Let's GROUT!

Yes, wurwolf, those are my hands. I am covering them to protect them from the lye in the grout... even though it looks like I'm getting ready to give a prostate exam. These gloves are a nursing home special so I feel very safe for anything that comes my way!

Here is the batch of grout that I whipped up. This is a sanded grout which means it does contain sand. You'll see why that is nice later.

Now, every batch of grout that I mix up is a learning experience for me. The consistancy of the grout to supposed to match that of mashed potatoes but since I've never had sandy mashed potatoes, I have to use my best judgment. It looks like I got close with this batch. YUMMY!

To start grouting, you simply glop it onto the mosaic and push it into every space between the tiles. This is where the gloves are nice. This is a messy job but fun. It's the poin where you start to see the whole project come together. The places that you one saw as problem areas while cutting and gluing, you see the grout fill them in. Everything comes together. Then the gloves come off!

Once the grout is between every tile, I like to use this shish-kabobby stick thing to clean off the surfaces. I pick away at the places with the clumpy grout or uncover the tiny pieces that the grout has hidden away. This part of the process can be compared to being an archeologist digging for relics or a dental assistant scraping plaque off teeth. This is where the sanded grout is nice because it comes off easily. It dries and when you scrape into it, it becomes a nice sand that cleans off easy. I like to do this part of the project in two days. Day one with the soft, wet grout and day two when it's hardened and nearly set.

I'm going to work on day two today and blog the final part of the project when it's all nice and clean and ready to be sealed.

//latex gloves for wurwolf!