#7 in the Pique Assiette Mosaic Inspiration Series – A Little Bird and an Abundance of Fruit

With this Pique Assiette mosaic shrine, the fruity patterns on the dishes created the main theme. As sometimes happens there was one dish that started the ball rolling. In this case it was the little plate with cherries.

Bird and Fruits mosaic, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Without a clear idea in mind, I started to set aside dishes I found with fruit patterns on them. I didn’t know where it was going, had no clue really, just a feeling that someday I’d do something with a fruit theme. Besides, all these fruity dishes were really quite beautiful. For months no real idea came to me as to what I’d do with them.

Then one day, probably while out shopping for dishes to break, with some of my students, I happened upon this wonderful little bird. I don’t know who designed this bird, who lovingly sculpted the original, but thank you, mystery artist. Ok, looking at it, it’s probably a collectible ornament, maybe even worth money, but to me it was the missing piece. It was the piece that twigged an idea. Fruit and birds, birds and fruit. We have grapes and kiwi in our garden as well as a small apple tree. Birds love these fruits. They like to take a tiny bite and move on to the next fruit.

Bird and Fruits mosaic, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

I saw the bird on a shelf and immediately knew the bird should be reflected in a mirror. Then I needed fruit. Where to get some? Well, thrift stores are full of fake fruit, nice squishy fake grapes and cherries, pear salt and pepper shakers, apple and orange ornaments. It didn’t take long at all to collect what I needed.

I often tell my students that making art is all about making one decision after another, often using intuition. In this case, once I had the final ingredients, all the decisions seemed to make themselves. For one, I made everything rounded, the shelf, the shape of the support, it all seemed to call for roundness, fullness, dare I say rounded fruitiness.

I could have done the mosaic pieces as a random overall pattern but chose instead to group the patterns in flowing areas to set off the cherry plate. The piece was almost too easy to do. I let intuition guide my decisions and with the find of the bird ornament, the piece just “flew” together. OK, OK, I’ll stop now.

detail, Bird and Fruits mosaic, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Then last, but not least, I wanted it feel abundant, like the way that trees and vines full of fruit make us feel. Under the shelf, I glued veritable bunches of those nice squishy, kitschy grapes and a few cherries, so it was practically dripping abundance. I’ve given the pretty bird a setting, a home. I like it, it makes me smile. That’s all I really need.

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6 comments

  1. Hi Fern, Glad to hear that you like my mosaic! I like asymmetry too, obviously. I find it gives a sense of movement of sorts while symmetry tends to feel static.

  2. To me this piece is a celebration of summer: warm, sunny, full of colour and the abundance of the season – and it looks good enough to eat! Love it!

  3. Hi Mary Lou. You’re right, it is a celebration of summer’s abundance. You’ve put it so well and have added another dimension for me with your words! Thank you!

  4. I love the off center cherry plate and also that exact shade of teal blue is one of my favorite for the garden….I have been trying to capture it (though a bit more of a milky version) to repaint my vintage garden chairs.

  5. Hi Rochelle, Yes I can see that color in more of a milky shade for antique chairs. Perfect! I love this teal color too, especially next to oranges and rusts and even purple. Just seems to make those colors spark.

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