Category Archives: Stepping Stones

Immortalising Childrens’ Art

My 5 year old was playing with sidewalk chalk last weekend on a (very large) stepping stone at the bottom of the stairs of our deck. She drew one of her loveflies, which I adore. I’ve been planning a mosaic rug on this particular substrate and after seeing her gorgeous lovefly, decided to mosaic it instead. It was supposed to be something we did together, however her response to this was “Oh, it’s OK Mum you can do it” 😉

Can I say I love immortalising childrens’ art? What better way to do so than with mosaic!? 😀

Lovefly

Lovefly

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Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Finished pieces, Flickr, Floor, Garden Mosaics, Kids, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, My projects, Nature, Pavement, Stepping Stones, Uncategorized

My son’s mosaic #3 – Waterworld

So after a beaut weekend with my 3 charming children I thought I’d post my 6 year old’s latest mosaic effort. This one he made on mesh – definitely the way to work I think!!! – and I’m so proud of him. This is the child that I will have a conversation with every other day about the need to go to school (he doesn’t particularly enjoy it…) because it’s the only way into Art School 😉

Liam's drawing for his next mosaic
Original picture that he drew..

Having a whale of a time!

Waterworld

Final mosaic that he called Waterworld 🙂 He always comes up with groovy names for his pieces… Next up for him is a giraffe that I think we will put up on the house this time… in their secret hideout!

Already at work on his next mosaic...

I dig the sunnies on the sun, lol!!! Kids are the best…

On another note, I didn’t do any mosaic work over the weekend. I can hardly believe it! It was incredibly cold and incredibly miserable so yesterday we all decided to do nothing but have a movie-marathon. It snowed, albeit as much as “snow” can mean to us Canberrans… We did awake this morning to snow up on the mountains though… always a pretty sight. So I am proud of myself for sitting on my behind all day and doing nothing… I don’t “do” nothing. I’ll admit to being someone who can’t sit still, can’t go on vacation somewhere to lie around on a beach or wherever and, do nothing! I’m hopeless at it! 😉

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Filed under Animals, Art, Artists, Flickr, Garden Mosaics, Inspiration, Kids, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, Nature, Rant, Stepping Stones, Uncategorized, Whales

Artist Watch: Jane Denison

Up next for some amazing mosaics – this time a little closer to home – is Jane Denison, aka janemoz on Flickr. Jane lives in Byron Bay, NSW Australia. A lovely part of the world if I may say so myself… I “met” her through the Mosaic Addicts Group and when she joined Flickr I was pretty quick to peruse her lovely, lovely work. I love Flickr for that: instant gratification…

Jane started making mosaics five years ago. Something about the freedom in the art form attracted her. In the eyes of a beginner, it appeared as if there was no “wrong” way to approach mosaics. Her opinions have since changed – now when she sees a mosaic artwork she marvels at how much thought has gone into the placing of each tiny piece.

Movement and contrast are the two aspects Jane aims to incorporate within her work. Creating “movement” is somewhat contradictory when glass and ceramic tiles are unwieldy by nature. And yet, this is the challenge!

Jane claims to yet break out and take mosaics to a professional level. Most of her mosaics are produced from requests of friends, family and the community. Although these are gratefully appreciated, her aim is to work towards an exhibition. I would argue though that the fact that she is creating all these wonderful works of art and installing them is “professional” in and of itself 🙂

Presently, however, Jane’s main focus is on being a mum while also completing a degree in Arts History at Queensland University. It’s a wonderful balance for her to mosaic after studying all day – getting away from being theoretical about art, and into a practical understanding of it.

A love for learning has led Jane to doing several mosaic courses. The first course was with Scott Harrower – who is now President of the Mosaic Association of Australia & New Zealand (MAANZ). Her mosaic interests have also led her to travel to Italy and study under Martin Cheek. It was Cheek’s course that introduced her to Italian smalti and millefiori, both of which are used in her most recent mosaics.

In the future Jane would like to continue the trend of mixing travel and mosaics. Istanbul, with its wonderful Byzantine mosaics, is next on the list! And I think I won’t be too far behind!

Some of my favourite examples of her work are below, but you MUST check out her flickr site for more…

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gate originally uploaded by janemoz

This is the gate that made me notice her… How amazing is this?! After walking through an entrance like that every day I’d feel at home to be sure… but what a welcome for everyone else!? Her brother made the gate for her, cement sheet built into it for the substrate of the mosaic. Looks like talent runs in the family… The gate then sat on her dining table for 6 months while she laboured over it…

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Peacock originally uploaded by janemoz

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pool mosaic originally uploaded by janemoz

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blue bird (finished) originally uploaded by janemoz

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Lotus stepping stone originally uploaded by janemoz

Only one example of her many fantastic stepping stones. I believe she does them all reverse indirect.

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Mosaic for Bev’s swimming pool originally uploaded by janemoz

This is Jane’s current WIP. I understand it measures 1.5 x 1.5m and is a mural next to a pool. It’s looking amazing already… I love to see how different mosaic artists work, in particular how they begin with laying their ideas down. How detailed does it need to be? It seems from this example Jane has it all in her head 🙂 It’s just fascinating to me…

And lastly, the Artiste in question…

Jane Denison

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Filed under Animals, Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Australia, Birds, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Flowers, Garden Mosaics, Gate, Inspiration, Jane Denison, Lotus, Mosaic, Murals, Nature, Pools, Public Art, Round the World, Stepping Stones, Uncategorized

Liam’s new whale WIP

My son has always been rather artistic. I knew the moment he was born he was going to be creative. He’s been quite interested in making mosaics and after Jet Booster he is now making another stepping stone. This time he drew an underwater scene – a whale with a baby whale swimming above and a few other creatures. Sooo cute 🙂 I love his drawings… In fact I love kids’ drawings…

This time we’re doing it on mesh. Much easier than the reverse indirect!

Liam's drawing for his next mosaic

Having a whale of a time!

Liam's WIP

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Filed under Art, Artists, Flickr, Garden Mosaics, Kids, Kids' Projects, Mosaic, Nature, Stepping Stones, Uncategorized, Whales

Artist Watch: Susan Walden

To add to the Artist Watch Series, meet Susan Walden aka BamaSusanna on Flickr.

Susan lives in North Carolina, USA and has been making mosaics for around 15 years. I also met Susan through Flickr. It’s become a huge playing field for mosaicists aswell as other artists and of course photographers and it’s been alot of fun getting to know artists from around the World. I found Susan thanks to Donna over at her blog Make Mine Mosaics. Donna blogged Susan’s birdbath. I immediately responded to her work – it’s amazing!

Susan started in mosaics as a result of having so many scraps from making stained glass, a craft she taught herself from reading library books. Inspired from seeing mosaic stepping stones and learning the basics of mosaics from information found on the web, Susan decided to give mosaic a go. To begin with all she made were stepping stones and must have made a hundred of them! Working in a custom framing store, she sold quite a few through the shop. Susan made nothing but stepping stones until about a year ago when she discovered a wonderful stained glass and mosaics forum on the internet. The forum was full of friendly artists who were very encouraging and it was from there that she was introduced to other mosaic artists’ websites. She browsed a lot of different styles and counts Irina Charny and Laurel Skye amongst her favourite artists (don’t we all!!!?) as she loves their use of colour.

The art that Susan’s newfound web buddies were turning out inspired her to try out different bases for her mosaic. The first 3D piece she made was a chimney. Covering the whole thing with scrap glass and finding a ceramic platter that worked for the top transformed it into a fantastic (and recycled) birdbath! After the positive feedback received from that piece, she was encouraged to go on and try other things.

Susan made another birdbath, this time using a concrete base. She cut glass squares for about a week before even starting and had no particular design in mind. She just picked up a piece of glass and got started, choosing colours as she went. It tuned out to be her favourite piece, and definitely one of mine aswell!

From then on, she hasn’t been afraid to try anything creating mirrors and other art pieces (watering can included!), all with encouragement from her friends. She is now a proud member of SAMA.

More recently she stumbled across a quote from the Great Maya Angelou:
“Not everything you do
is going to be
a masterpiece,

but you get out there
and you try
and sometimes
it really happens.

The other times
you’re just
stretching
your soul.”

So true!

I love Susan’s use of colour, which she credits to having worked as a custom framer for so many years. It’s so rich and always just works. The fact that she works as she goes also blows me away considering her wonderful designs… Again, I’ll let her work speak for itself:

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Chimney Tile Bird Bath originally uploaded by BamaSusanna

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Bird Bath Post originally uploaded by BamaSusanna

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Mosaic Stepping Stone originally uploaded by BamaSusanna

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Mosaic Mirror originally uploaded by BamaSusanna

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scaredy originally uploaded by BamaSusanna

And finally a pic of the artiste in question:

Susan Walden

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Filed under Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Birdbath, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Furnishings, Garden Mosaics, Glass, Inspiration, Mirrors, Mosaic, Rant, Round the World, Stepping Stones, Susan Walden, Uncategorized, USA, Wall Hanging

Molly’s sunflower

We finished my daughter’s sunflower stepping stone today. Very cute! Though she’s adamantly told me we are giving this to Grandma… I wanted to keep it because I still don’t have any of her artwork in the garden. I think we’ll do another to fit with the boys’ round stepping stones by the Secret Hideout 🙂

Of course she wanted pink grout. I ought to make up some hot pink grout some day. I’m sure she’d love it! But the dark purple had to do. She wasn’t impressed, as most 3 year old little girls would not be when they don’t get their way. Life’s tough. 😉

Sunflower

We made this with ceramic tile that we had on hand, smashed with a tile hammer. The kids love to do mosaics like this. It’s exciting to break things as a youngster I think (as an adult too…) but also kids like instant gratification and working like this is exactly that.

I love the grout – a product by Custom Building Products. It was leftover of some I bought in the US last year. It is such a wonder to use. So easy to work with. We don’t have it here in Australia, of course. They also come in fantastic colours. The lads at the shop where I buy my supplies think I’m a nut when I start talking about all the things I’m looking for. Though they’re lovely and very helpful. I have thought of perhaps distributing it here, but it would be a whole other branch of business… Don’t know if I’m up for that yet, but we’ll see.

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Filed under Art, Artists, Australia, Canberra, Female, Flickr, Flowers, Garden Mosaics, Kids, Mosaic, Nature, Round the World, Stepping Stones, Sunflower, Uncategorized

More Mosaic Made by Kids!

These are all old now: my boys made them at the ages of 4 and 2, but they are still in the garden (by the entrance to the secret hideout) and still intact! Both the boys made the whole thing themselves. I helped Liam with drawing the icecream cone, but it was his concept and he chose all the colours and mostly lay the tile himself (he was only 2!!!). Rory made his entire stepping stone himself from start to finish! They used all broken ceramic tile that they laid directly onto the stepping stone. Made in 2005.

Kids never cease to amaze me – even when they’re seriously pushing the boundaries. In fact that’s when they really don’t cease to amaze me!!! 🙂 It’s time now for my daughter to start wielding her wand… She wants to do one that is pink and purple and that involves mermaids or ballerinas! It is absolutely inherent!!! I’ve never consciously thrown this kind of thing to my kids and yet the boys are boys and they’re into all the typical (stereotypical?) boy things. Molly is a girl in every way, has been since the day she was born. We are definitely different species…
3, 2, 1...Aaahh!

3, 2, 1…Aaaah!!! by Rory

The Greatest Icecream

The Greatest Icecream by Liam

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Filed under Art, Australia, Canberra, Flickr, Garden Mosaics, Ice cream, Kids, Mosaic, Rant, Rocket, Stepping Stones, Uncategorized