A Study in Contrast or How I Created Two Very Different Mosaics from the Same Shards

detail, Pale Beach Pottery mirror by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

A month ago, picking through all my bits of ocean tumbled pottery, I’d started a new pique assiette mosaic mirror. You would think that picking bits from the exact same basin of shards, I would come up with almost the exact same mirror frame that I’d created back in January. That was when I’d first started experimenting with these smooth, aged and beach sanded shards.

Beach Pottery shards, summerhouseart.com

And maybe, I might have. But as I was arranging shards, I found myself attracted to the lighter pieces, the undersides of plates, the curves and how they created a pattern and a movement.

Stealing time here and there from other things, I finally got to the stage of grouting last Friday. And accompanied by the soundtrack to “Monsoon Wedding” CD, ( another lucky garage sale find), mixed up a a couple of different grouts until I got a shade to my liking and grouted it up. BTW, if you have never seen Monsoon Wedding I’d highly recommend it. The movie is colorful, lively and has great music…..but at the end, for all of us mosaic lovers, there is a wedding scene in a mosaic covered grotto. I just kept playing that scene over and over trying to take in the mosaics. And yes that is an old toothbrush, that I’m using to clean off grout. And you thought there wasn’t another use for them.

grouting, Pale Beach Pottery mirror by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

I was struck by the contrasting frames that I’d created with almost the same ingredients. All the result of my choices from the pool of shards. I couldn’t resist hanging them side by side to enjoy the contrast. The first mirror is a collage of all of the rusty and patterned pieces. The second mirror frame is a quiet, almost monochromatic arrangement, with the movement created by the curves as the central theme.

 Pattern and Pale Beach Pottery mirrors by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Of course, I did add a few little detailed pieces to break up the surface and add interest. In the header of this post, if you look carefully, you will find the tiniest little blue heart. In this corner you will find the few special bits I loved and a found space for, like the floral shard of some long ago shattered tea cup or a remnant of the  manufacturers mark on the bottom of the dish.

detail, Pale Beach Pottery mirror by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

And here it is, up close and personal, on a more pleasing background to highlight it’s quiet colors. I’m quite happy with it. It’s a bit of a departure for me too, the artist who likes bright and gaudy, don’t you think?

Pale Beach Pottery mirror by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com


18 thoughts on “A Study in Contrast or How I Created Two Very Different Mosaics from the Same Shards

  1. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    They’re both lovely mirrors, though I admit being attracted more to the rusty colors, but that’s just a personal preference. I love that these shards are tumbled, it really softens their appearance, and the reflections in the mirrors are beautiful.

  2. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Clare, Thank you for your comment, glad you enjoyed them. The shards are tumbled smooth in the surf, having been found on the beach, very special beach combing treasures.

  3. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Deb, Thank you, glad you liked the mosaics. You’re right they are quite a bit like quilts, in fact some of my students who’ve done quilting, get mosaics right away.

  4. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hello Heidi, Glad you enjoyed my little mosaics. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised myself that just choosing slightly differently from the same source of shards produced such a different result.

  5. Susannah says:

    Wow, these are both so beautiful, each in their own different way. I would find it hard to choose between them. I just love the fact that all those pieces have known the ocean!

    Wonderful work – well done! 🙂

  6. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Susannah, Thank you, glad you like the mosaics. I love that they’ve been tumbled by the ocean too. The ocean is one of the big reasons that we live here. That and beach combing.

  7. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Theresa, Glad you enjoyed the mirrors. If you like mosaics there’s a few more done with old dishes and ornaments you might enjoy too. Thanks for visiting and best of all, commenting too.

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