Another Student Taking Mosaic in Her Own Direction

I never really know where my mosaic classes might take a student. Some only try the medium out on a one time basis, mosaics being one more thing in a series of hobby classes they “taste test”. Some take off with doing more of the Pique Assiette type of mosaics I teach, like Murray Goode, who was featured recently. And some use the class as a jumping off point to other forms of mosaic. Such was the case with a student I had a few years ago, Anne Hauser.

I always try to encourage every student to work on projects of their own design. My classes feature a shopping class where we look for dishes to break and use since that is my focus in mosaics. But the method of mosaic lends itself to other types of tesserae, like glass. It’s always interesting to hear from my former students and see where they have taken the original classes.

Anne did stay with dishes at first, as shown in this very creative composition she made of a broken teapot. The teapot had been a favourite of a friend and Anne recreated it in a mosaic for her after it had broken. I liked not only the sentiment but the composition was unique too. The pot was the only mosaic on the surface, not surrounded by mosaic in the background. Quite novel.


Anne says she hardly ever works with dishes anymore and has switched to using glass now. She created a music themed piece for her husband as a gift where there is a bit of transition to glass. The sax is from a plate and she added gold sprinkles to the grout as it set. The rest of the piece is from glass. Anne-Hauser-note-mosaic

She’s gone on from there to create collages of a sort with mosaic surrounding photos under glass and a mirror frame with glass and rhinestones! As she said recently in an email   “….I seem to have gravitated to glass and tiles along with odds and ends that I find. I’m working on one now that incorporates a pewter sailboat, beach sand and pebbles, some tree leaves I made from putty, and glass.  Not sure how it’s all going to turn out, but interesting”

I really like that she is having fun and sounds quite fearless, really, with not being sure how the piece will look in the end, but being ok with that.  That’s real creativity.


A Little Mosaic Bunny Box


Or how this box became

Before the BunniesThis!

The Bunny Box

Sometimes, when you teach mosaics, you get an idea from a student. And one of my students this spring, decided to do a mosaic box. A Tea Box complete with little teapot ornaments on top. It’s going to look great. Now, I’ve made shrines, pots, trays and wall pieces but, for some odd reason, I’ve never done a box in mosaic and now seemed a good time to try. For two reasons, one, to try it out and see what problems it would present and two, suddenly I had shelves full of ornaments that could be quite useful in a new way. A little collection of bunnies came into my view which also sparked a memory of some really cool “carrot” tiles I’d been saving for some reason. An ah hah moment if ever.

So off to the thrift store for a suitable box. Yes the pic above is blurry, it’s not your eyes. Sorry about that. And then a little playing about with bunnies and placement.

Bunny Placement

Starting with corners to use the “carrot” tiles. Mapping out the placement of bunnies. And that big patch on the front is for a loverly bunch of ceramic carrots I just happened to have lying around. I just love it when everything comes together.

Mapping out the Box

After many hours of applying bits and pieces of various dishes and tiles, it was time to grout. I left the spaces open to glue on the bunnies and carrots later.  


A little close up view of the dishes used. This is a Pique Assiette type of mosaic which in rough translation means “stolen dishes”.  I had one tiny little dish that had a map of Wales on it and the colors and texture just seemed to work well with the other dishes.

Bunny Box closeup

Had to do a bit of adjusting with the bunnies and after gluing them in place, I mixed up a tiny bit of grout and finished the top.

Gluing down ornaments

Oh, I also painted the inside a nice “carroty” orange. Just for a little surprise. The bunnies seem a little surprised at being tipped.

Mosaic Bunny Box Open

So here they are, all waiting for more carrots.

Looking Left


Mosaic Bunny Box




Always Fun When Students Get Hooked on Mosaics


I’ve given classes to a lot of students over the years and I’ve always enjoyed having a chance to help people create their first Pique Assiette mosaics. Some people come to the first class with a project that they’ve been hoping to do for years and bring dishes they’ve saved just for that purpose. Others just want to try it out and we find dishes and perhaps a table to mosaic at the “Shopping Class”. And I always know that making mosaics won’t always click for everyone the same way it did for me.

Murray Goode's Dragonfly Tray

Murray Goode’s Dragonfly Tray

It’s always a bonus when some of my students keep in touch and send me emails with mosaic projects that they’ve done since those first classes. It’s so much fun to know that I’ve played a little part in getting someone else “hooked” on making mosaics.

Murray Goode's Mosaic coffee table

Murray Goode’s Mosaic coffee table

Murray Goode is one of those people who just clicked with mosaics. I sensed that he was delighted with the medium right away and I enjoyed getting a few emails later with more of his projects. Murray was still working as a school teacher when I first met him, but now he’s retired and finally has really got the time to indulge in this art form.

Murray Goode's Blue Willow Table

Murray Goode’s Blue Willow Table

We were in touch just recently and I discovered that not only is he still making mosaics, but is exhibiting and has his own website too! He has a few pieces being shown at Cabin 12 Restaurant here in Victoria. I’ve picked just a few pieces today to post, but encourage anyone to go to his website to see the work of someone who is really enjoying himself making mosaics. I know I’ll be following his website from now on, just to see what new mosaics he’s created.



Woo hoo, a new theme look and a new Gallery

I’ve been busy lately.  Well, to be quite honest, Will and I have been busy with the blog lately.  I really need him to keep me from losing patience with software and help with learning how to do things.   We wanted a few changes in the blog.  For one, the look of it.  So we chose a new theme.  We find it a bit cleaner looking than the old theme.

And then I discovered a new (to me, anyway) gallery plug in for WordPress called Catablog. Of course, being me, I had to have it.  I thought that having a gallery of my mosaic posts would make it so much easier to visually navigate the blog if you were looking for mosaics alone. I wanted anyone to be able to search through the pics of mosaics and just click the title to go to the post about it. So after much fussing and fuming on my part, and dogged determination from both of us, we managed to create the aforementioned gallery. You can find it here.  

Or, just click on Mosaic Posts Gallery on the Menu bar above.  Enjoy!


A Recycled Post about Recycling for Earth Day

Today is Earth Day or for many Earth Week.  I like to think that every day is really Earth Day.  In honor of the day, I’ve decided to do a bit of recycling.  The following is a post I wrote way back in 2010, but I think it still works.

Actually, Recycling, could be the main theme of our lives.  Now it’s called thrifting too.  We’re a couple of old Hippie artists, who were there for the start of the recycling movement. For us it’s just a way of life. We buy everything used and we also get a lot of “good stuff” as I like to call it, absolutely free. Best price there is. And as I mentioned in other posts, it’s a pretty abundant lifestyle too.

Of course we compost. Every scrap of banana peel, tea bag, coffee ground and egg shell is collected in these recycled coffee bins that I brought home from a job. The tiles on the backsplash behind them are all recycled. In fact every tile was actually free and found at garage sales or from sample boards thrown out by tile stores.

The composter the food scraps go into, was also free.  Someone in the neighborhood was tossing it. Our rainbarrel is a recycled drum formerly used for soap.


In the green house, I recycle too. Every pot from years past is saved to be reused, trays are sometimes taped up to plug leaks but are still put to work. These Black eyed Susan vines are sprouting in cookie packaging.


The seeds for the Purple Cone flower, which I am rather impatiently waiting to see sprout, are planted and living under the protection of packaging, which in its previous life housed a cake bought for my birthday a short while ago.


In it’s next use it may become storage for broken dish shards in my studio, like the many, many salad green containers already put to a second use.


Out in the garden we have, now wait a second, I have to mentally count, at least 4 wheelbarrows. Only 3 are shown here.  All free or almost free. All recycled. I have an abundance of wheelbarrows you could say. I think they are kind of beautiful, in a sort of colorful, shabby, knocked about and used, way.


Now that I’ve reached the garden with my recycling theme, I’d like to show you a few pieces of our garden art. Now maybe art for the garden is an odd sort of theme for Earth Day but a lot of our art is made from recyled materials. The mosaic in the herb garden is a recycled chimney covered in old dishes and tiles.

The stepping stones are all made using recycled dishes and tiles, a type of mosaic art called Pique Assiette. In fact, all of my mosaic artwork is made from recycled dishes, tiles and ornaments.  If you would like to see how to make them check my post Creating a Mosaic Stepping Stone Helen’s Way.




And old sink found in, I must admit, unashamedly, a dumpster dive, is home to our succulents.


The chime that Bill fashioned out of an old anniversary cup found at a garage sale and hung with flattened silver cutlery is another recycled artwork. There’s much more art to see on one of my previous posts about garden art called Bill’s Driftwood Chair and Other Garden Art Whimsies.


There are so many things that we can recycle and reuse for our gardens from artwork to garden furniture to garden tools and implements. There really is no need to go out and buy new most of the time. I always like to say the world is an abundant place as long as you don’t mind second hand. Not buying new saves resources and cuts pollution. Buying used saves more stuff from ending up in landfills too.  And the best thing is getting out and about on the weekends looking for deals at garage sales ( we always plot the most efficient course to save gas), enjoying the  sun at a beach on the way from one sale and the next.   Life is good.  So that’s my little, I hope, upbeat, message in honor of Earth Day.  Even the post is recycled.


Playing with Scanner Photography on a Sunday Afternoon

I’ve been having a lot of fun with Pinterest, saving all sorts of lovely images that inspire me.  In fact, I may be having too much fun.  Please do feel free to have a look at my Pins if you’re into Pinterst.  Anyway, I keep bumping into works done by artists I’ve never heard of before and being introduced to new ideas to explore. Now I’ve heard of scanner photography before but, I just recently found out that one of the first to play with it was Harold Feinstein. Worth looking up and enjoying.

Anyway, we should have been outside pruning the Kiwi, but I got distracted showing Will the scanner photos I’d pinned. Which of course led me to trying it out and I soon had the dried Hydrangea blooms on the scanner. Will found a handy black box to cover them in and off we went.



Then we scanned the dried Amaryllis blooms …..



Which led to layering them all in Photoshop….


Which led to wanting to add even more… a lovely silk patchwork scarf perhaps?




And now, a first try at layering all three images…




Then a second try where some of my interest in patchwork and quilting started to come into play…




And last, with some subtle changes, creating a whole new patchwork with all the images. We could have gone on but we kind of like it as it is now.




An Abstract Tray


There’s something about trays. They’re easy to find in thrift shops, the ones I like the best are the light weight wooden ones with handles. They’re just the thing for a quick study in mosaic, offering a chance to try out colors or patterns or a new idea. And when finished, they’re so useful. A great way to take hot casserole dishes to parties or haul out your teapot and cups to the patio.

Of course while in thrift shops I’m always trolling for interesting dishes, too.  Once I started making Pique Assiette mosaics I never looked at dishes the same way again. I tend to wonder how they will look broken up. I look for a variety of colors, texture and pattern. Sometimes I get really lucky and find a stack of dishes that has it all. And if I’ve got the money, I snap them all up, because when you’re shopping thrifts and garage sales you can’t always come back for more later.

These plates with their lovely colors and textures were one of those lucky finds. I knew I’d always like the patterns and colors and would be able to use them for more than one project. And I knew they’d have wonderful “broken” possibilities.

disheswmI could have done the whole tray in just the dishes but I chose to add more blocks of solid color using ordinary tiles in a lovely dark blue and a black. I like abstraction in mosaic, just fitting in pieces where they fit, creating a bit of a balance of colors. It’s a fun, intuitive way to work, with a surprise composition at the end.



Amaryllis Blooms – So Beautiful From Start to Faded Finish

Every Christmas I’ve always indulged in growing an amaryllis bulb. Sometimes I’ve been lucky with old bulbs sending up new flowers but this year,  all I saw coming up was leaves and more leaves. So, when I spied a lovely plant already in bud in the grocery store, on sale, I swept it up with the groceries and carefully hauled it home.


And it was so lovely! And quite prolific! All in all, eight blooms in a most luscious, gorgeous scarlet.


But the show was not over, for a couple of artists, when the blooms began to fade.


The lines and furls of it’s spent blossoms were quite gorgeous too.

And when they fell off I carefully transferred those beautiful spent blooms to the window sill to keep company with a very old Hydrangea bloom, a collection of Buddha ornaments and some blue and white pottery. Very nice company indeed.







Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year!

Anyone who knows me also knows that I’m not a big fan of snow.  But there it was, snow on our Windmill Palm this week.  Thankfully, it’s one of the tougher palm trees and can usually make it through our winters if they don’t get too severe.  I blame it all on those folks who want and wish for a White Christmas.  As you can see the birdbath we finished in the summer is well frozen over.  We love a green rainy Christmas ourselves.  A walk on the beach is what we look forward to on Christmas Day.

Right now I’m busy getting ready for the big day and baking a lot.  If you are interested in some ideas for avoiding the Mall this year and finding greener, less expensive presents, I have posted a few of my ideas on that subject here .

Will and I would like to share our little wish for the holidays to anyone reading my little blog.  I’m looking forward to the New year and lots of new posts.  And I’d also like to add many, many thanks to all those who have left comments and pinned from this blog last year.




Will finds Art on Road (and there’s a book too)

Today’s post is just a bit different. Usually I post about a project that I’ve done or something Will and I have done together. Today I’m posting about Will’s first book. Yes, book.


I tend to dither and wander when I start something. But Will, very often, gets an idea and just goes with it. I’m rather in awe of that sometimes. This book is an example of that direct approach.

But first a little background. We have both always been aware of what we like to call, natural abstracts. These are natural abstract compositions found where ever, maybe on a rock found on the beach, or in an arrangement of leaves on a wet pavement, and very often marks made on road ways.

And this last idea was one that Will found irresistible. And so digital camera in hand, he started to collect all those compositions that he would see while driving or while walking.

Then he would come home, download the images, and very often he’d captured exactly what he wanted without even having to crop much. He has an eye for minimal abstract composition. We’ve been working in a software lately called inDesign, learning it for a book I’m working on about mosaic and other books for a friend. When Will had all these wonderful photos ready it just seemed natural to put them in a book. And one day there will also be a gallery show of the photos.

These are found art, not made to be drawings at all, just often a gestural line created by a road worker sealing a crack with tar. Or it could be the placement of marks on the road for those working on sewers or who knows what. But, with a creative eye looking for them, new compositions and arrangements appear.

The back cover gives an idea of the contents….

“Where others saw only lines of tar made by road way repair, or yellow street lines or numbers scrawled on the pavement to mark some sewer line and their eyes slid past them, forgotten, Will Bushell saw them for years with an artist’s eye. This book is his version of the the art found on streets and parking lots. Tar lines become gestures, yellow lines and sewer covers part of the composition. Even the grain of the pavement becomes a textural component of the art he finds there. Dodging oncoming traffic and often having to wait for the moment when traffic allows, he captures his shots and shares them in this book.”



I’ve picked out a few to show here. Just a little taster of what’s in the book. Feel free to check out the whole book on the Blurb website, it’s listed under Fine Art Photography. We hope you enjoy it and maybe it will be an introduction to you finding Found Art Abstracts. Enjoy!

Yellow A

Yellow A


The Red Quadrant Wins

The Red Quadrant Wins


Lateral Adjustment

Lateral Adjustment


Equals 1

Equals 1


Blue Left

Blue Left





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