Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mosaics and more

As you will have worked out by now, mosaics is a subject close to my heart. Which is probably why I keep coming back to it. Birds certainly are a recurrent theme too. Following on from the mosaic duck I have been working on a series of small birds which I have nicknamed "Quirky Birds" - I guess partly inspired by Martin and his "Cheeky Birds". Quirky birds are all unique little guys made using a combination of smalti, millifiore and glass beads. They have been flying out of the studio in droves. This of course is fine by me, as the more they are adopted by others, the more I have capacity to create extras of these little fellows. I have to say it has been exciting to see the reaction of people to these happy little fellows.

As far as bigger birds go I am now mid way through preparation of my sample piece to contribute to the Mosaic Association of Australia and NZ conference workshop. Working with the Brisbane members group (Barbara, David, Heddy, Wendy and Kym) we have been madly cutting and preparing materials for the bird creation workshop. To give our arms a rest we have now moved on to creating inspired samples for use as inspiration on the day for workshop participants. All very exciting really.

I am working on a little kingfisher styled bird in shades of brown and jade. Funny thing is that the two saucers I had adopted from Barbara's stash to utilise, the ones that inspired the colour palette, now turn out to be "collectable". I am in two minds whether to use them or not. There is a common theme happening here. That is what happens when mosaics and librarians mix. I had offered to research a china backstamp for Barbara and thought I might as well look at this makers mark also. Turns out it is a "hard to find" backstamp. Status now is that the saucers are nestled in bubble wrap, with some data on the Bavarian porcelain company and are put aside to take back to Barbara. In the interim the bird is sporting some Johnson Brothers vintage china, Italian glass tile and French ceramic tile, so I am sure he will still be a handsome lad - with or without the saucers. The challenge for me is that I am going to use a thin set/grout mix to adhere the tesserae so for me that will mean working fast and fluid rather than my usual tortoise plod (ie neat!) pace. Should be interesting. At the end of the day it will be exciting to see all of the birds winging their way to a local charity. (A little birdy told me it might be Ronald McDonald House.)

I missed the second working bee - attacked by a version of the bug going around Brisbane. Missed not only another fun session, but pizza for lunch! So I am now looking at catching up with everyone for the hanging of the 30:30 Vision exhibition at Brisbane Square Library. I am realising very quickly what an inspiring bunch of mosaic inspired people we have here in Brisbane. Barbara sent through photos of how the birds are progressing - inspiring and colourful - I am just waiting for these guys to start "tweeting". Tweet tweet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ostrich fever

Funny how change is omnipresent. Seems to me that you just survive one wave and come up spluttering and another is on its way. So, you can choose to do the old ostrich with its head in the sand thing or you can try to embrace it and make it work for you. Enough of that though, don't have an ostrich to share so thought I might share my latest piece of mosaic work. Still one of the feathered guys, but happily, not an ostrich. Hope you like him. Funny story behind it - actually it started out quite tragic but happily for all turned out well. A lady I know from the local off leash rocked up one morning demanding to know if I could "fix her duck?" "What duck?" I asked. Turns out she had a lovel y terracotta duck in the garden, which had been knocked over and broken. Needing to see it first I asked if she could bring it to me to look at. Sure enough a few days later a box passed hands - not containing the advertised dozen bottles of wine, but filled with various pieces (9 in all) of duck. So - much thought, much adhesive and much time later, this is the result. I used a combination of Wedgewood and Johnson Brothers china for the wing and tail detail, then used Italian glass tile in a range of white and off white for the remainder of the head and body. A splash of orange finishes this guy off. His little metal feet are original. Hope you enjoy him. He is now happily back at his original home, but well out of the reach of dogs!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Got to love libraries

I forget sometimes the thrill of the chase ie the challenge of supplying information for a client to answer their request. So I am happy to say that I had a happy reminder of why I love the research challenge this afternoon.

A colleague requested a copy of the tale of Rama and Sita, suitable for sharing with a young audience. Our copy was missing. So, on to Plan B. Various other items were requested from our collection, which each helped to build the tale, but not at a level easily absorbed by littlies.
This tale really is one of the key Indian folk tales. So, a search of the National Library's online catalogue provided a few clues ie full name of the tale is the Ramayana and the search continued. I have now tracked down a copy of a version for children held in the BCC collection - and a colleague who lives across town will collect a copy tomorrow and bring it in with him on Friday. All in time to educate us into the full beauty of the tale and by the Sunday deadline, as entertainment for a very important persons birthday party! You just have to love team work.