Starting up Mosaic classes again in May!

I’ll be giving mosaic classes again starting May.  So, if you’ve been waiting to learn how to make mosaics with broken dishes, now would be a great time.  I teach my classes in my home studio here in Victoria.  It’s just a little studio, so classes are very small, just enough room for one or two people, so lots of individual attention to help you create your own unique project.

Take the classes by yourself or bring a friend to share the fun.   Please take a few minutes to check out  all the details on the class costs and hours and also see what other students have created,  on our Mosaic Classes page.

You can contact me by email by clicking on the mosaic heart in the top right corner of this page or click here.

Student Irina's Finished Mosaic, summerhouseart.com
Student Irina’s Finished Mosaic, summerhouseart.com

 

 

Student Rahni’s table/wall hanging, Summerhouse Art mosaic classes
Student Jane, cleaning grout on her mosaic, summerhouseart.com
Student Jane, cleaning grout on her mosaic, summerhouseart.com

 

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Glass Windows to Paper Lampshades

Close up, Momentum, stained glass composition by summerhouseart.com

It’s funny how things progress one to another. First you bring home some old windows from a garage sale. Who knew what we might use them for? Cold frames for starter plants perhaps? Next, have a birthday and get discarded shards of stained glass as a present. And everything just sort of sat about for a while. Then one day, inspired by some stained glass designs made on old windows, I decided to create a few compositions of my own. Except, instead of the usual method, I chose to glue the glass shards to both sides of the window. I quite liked the results, a couple of windows with flowing abstracts.

Momentum, stained glass compositon by summerhouseart.com

Of course they were rather breakable, what with being made of glass. Not something you’d want to ship out anywhere. But we did enjoy them, set up as they were, in our greenhouse.

Airborn, stained glass composition, summerhouseart.com

Then, this year I started to see other possibilities for these fragile compositions of glass on glass. Prints!

So the windows transformed into designs on paper. And we had created a few prints and other products earlier in our shop on Society 6.

Composition-in-blue-and-orange131768-framed-prints Society6 by Summerhouse Art
click on image if you would like to see this in our shop on Society 6

Then I remembered that Zazzle, another Print on Demand business, happened to have lampshades you could print designs on …..and well, it’s not hard to progress from the idea of light coming through stained glass, to thinking of a lampshade, with stained glass printed on it.

Stained glass tripod lamp on zazzle by Summerhouse Art
click on the image to connect to this on Zazzle

The pendant shade is actually a merging of the first window and a few choice bits of the second one.

Stained glass pendant lamp on Zazzle by Summerhoue Art
click on the image to connect to this on Zazzle

Oh the wonders of cut and paste, etc, in Photoshop. But it does look kind of cool doesn’t it? Imagine light shining through these shades. We rather like them. I wonder if anyone else,shopping for a new lamp, will enjoy them too.

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

 

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A Couple of Mosaic Studies Transformed

Triangle Treat-mosaic-prints by Summerhouseart on Society 6
To see this product on Society 6 just click the image

My last post was about a couple of rather colorful mosaic studies made with broken dishes, one in small squares and the other in triangular shapes. These days we look at everything we do and wonder where else we can take that design. With all the print on demand opportunities you have a huge number of products you can put that artwork on.

We’ve both become interested in fabric and surface design and have been teaching ourselves how to take an idea and make it an all over pattern. So the mosaics presented an opportunity for experimentation. It was one thing to just take the original and make a print of it. Which I think worked out rather nicely…

Square On mosaic-prints by Summerhouseart on Society 6
Click the image to go to Society 6

But to create more with it, especially to create an all over pattern required days and days of trying things out, experimenting, and repeated trips to youtube tutorials as we refreshed our memories on the steps to take. Then back to Photoshop and Illustrator.

The triangles were actually quite successful as an all over design. We took out the grout digitally, of course, and basically blew the triangles further apart, did a bit of rearranging and created a quite seamless surface pattern with it. It looked quite wonderful on some of the Society 6 products like leggings

Triangle Treat-mosaic-leggings by Summerhouse Art
see this on Society 6 by clicking the image

or a phone case…

Triangle Treat-mosaic-cases by Summerhouseart on Society 6
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

and even entire comforters.

Triangle Treat-mosaic-comforters by Summerhouse Art
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

In fact, in the future we may even venture into fabric design with it.

The squares were a bit more difficult and in the end we decided to go with just more or less tiling the pattern, which is basically taking the square and repeating it over and over as it was. This too, looks quite good on a variety of products. Society 6 also allows you to scale the pattern so that you can have it larger on some things, like a tee

Square On-mosaic-all-over-print-shirts
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

or travel mug,

Square On-mosaic-metal-travel-mugs by Summerhouseart.com
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

or even smaller as an all over design on a duvet,

Triangle Treat-mosaic-leggings by Summerhouse Art
click the image to see this on our shop on Society 6

or a rug or shower curtain. But we’re not done yet and are coming up with even more products on other sites. We’ll have those up soon. It’s proving to be fun and challenging all at the same time. What more can you ask?

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

 

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Two Mosaic Studies Created With Broken Dishes

 Studies are like sketches or perhaps experiments. I quite like the idea of doing studies, just to see where an idea will lead, curious to see what it will look like when done.

Just working on small 6 inch by 6 inch pieces of wood as a base for the mosaic studies, I went through my many many containers of dish bits and put together a small set of colors and textures that appealed to me. The first piece was made using bits of dishes that I’d cut into only rectangular or squarish bits. The pieces aren’t exact or tidy rectangles or squares like you’d get with normal mosaics, but the uneven, variances that you get when cutting up dishes which I think adds to the surface interest.

I arranged them in an intuitive order, balancing the colors and textures as I went.

Mosaic in Broken Dishes, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Then, looking at my work table, I realized I had quite a few triangular pieces scattered about and decided that, as my next study, I would use only triangular bits of the same dishes. An entirely different composition but still fun to look at.

Mosaic in Broken Dishes, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Looking at them now, I’m quite enjoying them and seeing many possibilities as well. We’ve become interested in surface design in the last few years and Will and I have been having a bit of fun teaching ourselves how to make repeat patterns. And we’ve also been applying our work to all sorts of other products from prints to pillows on our various online Print on Demand shops like Society 6 and Red Bubble. Looking at these studies, I can see some fabric design ideas, prints and other possibilities. It’s a whole new avenue to explore. Watch this space to see what we make with these…..much more to come.

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

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Mosaic Bird Bath Delight

We’re sort of lazy gardeners. We follow the no dig, layered methods and don’t go in for applications of herbicides, pesticides or unnatural fertilizers. We don’t do a big fall clean up either. We just let the garden be at the end of the season, leave the leaves, leave the seeds, don’t take down plant growth. We just walk away and leave it all for the birds and squirrels.

And the birds reward us by coming by and eating all the seeds left on flowers and plants, the berries on our shrubs, the seeds in the trees and rooting around for insects in the layers of leaves and whatnot. We keep a set of binoculars at our kitchen window right next to a couple of bird books to identify who flies in for lunch.

The best thing, of course, is watching our bird baths. The two baths are placed just so we can get a good view.

Two Mosaic Bird baths, summerhouseart.com

We’ve had a bit of cold snap here in usually balmy Victoria, and the water in the birdbaths has been frozen. Yesterday the temperature came up and with it a lot of birds in the garden, mostly Robins.

We saw one Robin trying to get drink around the ice in the birdbath and decided to do the birds a favour.

The layer of ice was taken off and the baths cleaned out and refreshed with new water. Within minutes of our return to our kitchen window we were rewarded with a steady stream of birds coming to bath.

First one, with one waiting on the rim…

Mosaic Bird bath, summerhouseart.com

then two,

Mosaic Bird bath, summerhouseart.com

then three Robins ..

Mosaic Bird bath, summerhouseart.com

and then two Robins and a Towhee..

Mosaic Bird Bath, summerhouseart.com

and then the baths were full of rowdy, splashing birds!

Mosaic Bird bath, summerhouseart.com

We actually had to go out two more times to clean out the baths and refresh the water and each time, within minutes, the baths were filled with splashing and happy birds, who then flew up into the trees to preen and clean their feathers. Thought I’d share our little bit of bird bath delight today. And thanks to Will for creating this little video, he says apologies for the bumpiness and bad resolution.  But hey, you know it’s just for fun.  And also big thanks to Kevin McLeod, who seems to make just the right music for us to use.  You can find Kevin’s work at incompetech.com

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

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Doing Some Artsy Experimenting with Beach Pottery

Beachcombing treasure summerhouseart.com

In the spring and summer I tend to check online for low tides. And if it’s nice out, and the tide is really low in the morning, I’ll be convincing Will that we really need to go beach combing in Sidney. Luckily, he usually doesn’t need much persuading. Now you don’t want to know how much beach pottery I’ve already collected.. ok, LOTS.

But there is something about wandering up and down on the beach, head and eyes down, with the sun and the seagulls overhead, the smell of the ocean around you, searching for those lucky finds. It’s so calming and lovely. If I’m going to have an addiction, I’ll take beach combing any day.

But what do you do with all these lovely finds? So far, we’ve had a good time creating birdbaths and mirror frames with it.

Beach Pottery Mosaic Birdbath by summerhouseart.com

We have plans, in the summer, for making a couple of garden sculptures covered in pottery.

And Will has been making jewelry from driftwood and beach glass and pottery for our new Etsy shop, FoundMadeArt.

Sea Pottery Pendant by Will Bushell, FoundMadeArt

I had an idea of creating small wall pieces with the bits all arranged like a collage, but shipping weight was a problem. Then I discovered Wedi board on an online mosaic site. It’s relatively unknown in Canada, I had to search like mad and finally found a tiling company in Nanaimo that had just started carrying it. It’s a light weight substrate created for bathroom tiling, with foam sandwiched between two thin layers of cement. Trust mosaic artists to see some new uses for this product. Suddenly a lightweight substrate for outdoor mosaic instead of heavy cement board!

I thought if I created some small wall pieces, they would be quite ship-able with the low weight. Wedi board is a bit more expensive than cement board and you have to buy special hangers for it too, but I thought, it would be worth a bit of experimentation. So with thanks to my sister and her husband, in Nanaimo, who very nicely brought down the 3ft x 5ft. sheet for me when they came for tea and goodies, I had something to work with.

The beauty of Wedi board is that you can cut it with a utility knife. I decided to start small with 6 in x 6 in pieces. Then, after lots more research online ( don’t you just love youtube?) I decided to cover each piece with a thin coat of mortar to hide the grey surface.

Then came playing and trying out layouts some chosen bits of found beach pottery. All, btw, freshly washed and dried to remove the salt residue. Kind of funny to think there I was washing dishes that had come from the ocean.

playing with beach pottery layout, summerhouseart.com

The first experimental arrangement went through lots of changes, I even took photos so I could test the look.

Beach Pottery layout, summerhouseart.com

And then, with the air getting rather blue, because of the difficulty of trying to adhere the pieces without getting mortar everywhere, the first piece was done.

Beach Pottery wall piece, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

For the next piece, I decided to wing it. I basically chose the pottery I was hoping to use and applied mortar and stuck them down with less worry about placement, using intuition and speed mainly. You don’t have much time with mortar anyway. It may be a method I’ll use in the future, when I try to create more of these little wall pieces. These are just the start of a new idea. Who knows where it will lead? One day, hopefully, they’ll be for sale on our Etsy shop. One thing I do know, is that I’ve got an awful lot of beach finds that need a home. And I do have a bit of beach combing addiction.

Beach Pottery wall piece, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

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Yuletide Greetings

This was another year for playing with an alternative to a tree.  Instead we set up this lovely duo of Bird cages, filled them with lights, set them off with a few beads and let the birds free to sit on top.  Looks lovely and bright in the early evenings.  And with that we send our wishes too.

2016 Christmas bird cages, summerhouseart.com

( BTW, if you’d like to comment just click on the title and it will take to the post with a comment section.  We love comments)

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A Little Composition in Christmas Colours

In the midst of getting ready for the holiday, I couldn’t resist playing with some stained glass shards in various shades of greens and reds.   We decided to use it for the splash page to our website, to set a colourful tone….

Stained Glass composition, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

( BTW, if you’d like to comment just click on the title and it will take to the post with a comment section.  We love comments)

 

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More Stained Glass Scraps Transformations

Stained glass composition, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Today, another stained glass scrap composition….up close, from the side, in the sun. Love seeing the edges of the glass. Cool eh?

I’ve been enjoying this view for quite some time in our kitchen window while having my breakfast. Love the light bouncing through the colorful and textural glass. Ok, I do have a weakness for lots of color. And this is even better, it’s glowing colour!

Stained glass composition in window, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

I call it “Floating Black”, my attempt at a descriptive title. We took this one and did a bit of transforming magic in Photoshop. And now we have it flattened into a composition of colorful shards on a white background.

Stained glass composition, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Makes a lovely print in our shop on Society6. Just click on the pic to go to our shop.

Society6 print, summerhouseart.com

And if you look through our shop on Society6, you’ll find it as an iphone case too.

Society6, iphone case, summerhouseart.com

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )

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Just A Few Scraps of Stained Glass …

You just never know where a few scraps of stained glass will lead to…Blue and Orange stained glass abstract, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

I’m one of those people who never throws much out. As artists, we can see potential in old chipped dishes, old furniture, old scraps of paper and magazines, and even old scraps of stained glass. Back in 2010, I’d been given lots of small stained glass scraps by someone who was cleaning out “junk”. Well, as it’s often said, one persons junk is another persons treasure. My friends know me well, and later that year, I got a couple of boxes of stained glass scraps for my birthday and I did make some mosaics with these scraps.

Abstract glass mosaic, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

And then, everything sort of sat around for a bit. But I did happen to have an old illuminated sign box that I use as light table. Now the thing about colored glass, what really excites me, is what happens to all that color when light shines through it.

So a few years ago I started to have some fun applying shards of glass to glass, first old windows then those glass frames you used to be able to find where you have to sandwich the picture between two sheets of very thin glass. Now, I wasn’t interested in creating the usual stained glass where you surround the piece with leading, because what really interested me was the layering of color in the light. And I got a bit frustrated gluing glass on glass until either Will or my son Dave, walked by and said, “Well, why don’t you just glue glass to both sides of the glass?” Well, duh. And that is how I got onto gluing glass on both sides of the glass.

Also, I wasn’t interested in creating pictures with glass. What I played with was just using the scraps as they were and creating abstracts with them. Which turned out, at least to me, rather well. I loved the look and the windows have been sitting on windowsills in the house ever since I made them. Here’s another view of the glass piece at the top of the post.

Abstract Glass in Window, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Now the beauty of having a mind that’s open to possibilities is that you never know where you will end up next.

I’ve always wanted to do more with those compositions, and I looked at light boxes and all sorts of things for a while and then just sort of forgot about it all. Then a few weeks ago I was looking at prints, and print files and looking around for what I could convert into prints. And in one of those ah hah moments my eye lit on the stained glass comps in the windows of the kitchen. So, together with Will, who is more of a master of photoshop than I, I played around with it and found that the glass transformed really well into abstract compositions on paper. Which we immediately ran through our new printer and loved the result.

We do have some print on demand shops, one being our shop on Society6. So today, I’m happy to show the first of these new Stained Glass Prints,

composition-in-blue-and-orange131768-framed-prints Society6

already converted into a few fun products, one a pillow, and much more to come yet. Just click on the pics to go to Society 6.

stained glass society6-pillow by summerhouseart.com

 BTW if you’d like to comment, and we do appreciate comments, please just click on the title to bring up the post with a spot for comments at the bottom.)

 

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