Sunday, 4 February 2018

A Secret Mosaic Revealed

Three years ago, my elderly Mum came to live near me.  She moved 200 miles away from the town she'd lived in since the 1950's.  The sheltered house quickly became her cozy home as she surrounded herself with her own comfortable furniture, familiar pictures and treasured objects.

We couldn't have known then just how much joy her new garden would also bring.

I use the word 'garden' advisedly.  In reality this is two flower beds, one either side of the front door and when Mum arrived it was largely a rose garden with a few shrubs.  She has transformed this tiny plot by packing in lots of new plants, much to the delight of her neighbours and those who pass by and stop to chat.

Last October I attended a weekend mosaic workshop at Blue Sky Mosaics near Kintore in Aberdeenshire.  I shared the project I made in a previous blog post about my mosaic gin-and-tonic-table-top.  What I didn't mention at the time was that I made the table-top on day two and I kept the project I made on day one a secret!  

It was a birthday surprise for Mum - for her beloved garden.

I made her a mosaic stepping stone.

As usual, the process began with a pencil sketch and inspiration from the wondrous array of materials available in Ann's studio at Blue Sky and a browse through her library of mosaic art books.

The process I followed differs from previous mosaics I've made where the pieces were glued onto a pre-cut base then grouted.  Using the reverse method for the stepping stone involved sticking the pieces onto a clear adhesive film.

You can see the design taking shape.

I'm laying the pieces face down on the film which is on top of a clear glass plate as this allows me to pick it up and see how it will actually look.  Carefully does it....

The finished design, still on its film base, is slipped into an oiled silicone cake mould and cement is gently smoothed over, taking care not to dislodge any pieces.

Once the cement is dry, the stepping stone is extracted from the mould like an upside-down cake.  Some cleaning up reveals all the details of the design.

Then the piece had to wait in our garden shed until Mum's birthday which was in December!  

I'm glad to say she was delighted with this new addition to her garden.

 I can't wait to see it bedded in properly once the frost is past.


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