Stained Glass Mosaics and Synchronicity


I like the idea of synchronicity, which in the dictionary is defined “as the coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.”  My foray into stained glass was definitely a “coincidence of events”.

I also like the idea of serendipity which is our motto in our studio. Serendipity is  “the gift of being able to make delightful discoveries by pure accident ” which was coined by Horace Walpole after the “Three Princes of Serendip” , a fairy tale.

And so it was that synchronicity and serendipity both worked for me in my latest mosaic endeavors. One day Silva from Mosaic Road blog visited my blog and left a comment. I, of course zoomed over to her site and discovered her wonderful stained glass mosaics. Silva not only covers old guitars and stair risers in stained glass but she does wonderful vase sculptures using stained glass. Thank you Silva for the inspiration!

Then, while investigating Flickr I found to my delight groups of mosaic artists to lose myself in for hours. And in one group, I serendipitously found another glass mosaic artist who totally caught my eye, Rebecca Collins. She made mosaics from glass glued over compositions that she’d created in Photoshop. Plus, she made videos on how to do it! Thank you Rebecca! Ok, now I was getting interested thanks to both of these artists who were wonderfully generous with info and now all I needed was glass.

And here again synchronicity worked for me. One day soon after making this decision to try stained glass mosaics, I got an email from a close friend that her friend’s daughter was getting rid of her mosaic supplies. Would I  like them? Well, I said, I’ll be happy to have a look. And what should these supplies be but all sorts of stained glass bits and pieces! Baggies and boxes of gorgeous colorful stained glass, jars of glass in lovely, luscious color! I greedily scooped it all up and with help from Bill, hauled it home to the studio.


Soon I was experimenting and creating my own stained glass mosaics. And learning that with glass there is such a thing as “grout creep” where the grout creeps under the glass and looks sort of messy.


But this next piece turned out quite well, I thought. The collage underneath is based on some of my writing and also some photos of amaryllis and slices of windmill palm photos  My daughter-in-law, who is also a very accomplished mosaic artist, liked it. So I couldn’t resist giving it to her for her birthday.

grn-glass-mosaicwm1I’ve still got lots to learn and still more equipment to get. For one I need a tumbler to soften the edges of the glass if I want to try using it on vases like Silva does. And I need to get a grinding stone to grind down the sharp edges for future pieces.

This last one is still ungrouted, but I’m liking the abstract composition. Now all I need is to find more time……


Here it is grouted….

Abstract glass mosaic, Helen Bushell,

(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.)





21 thoughts on “Stained Glass Mosaics and Synchronicity

  1. Rebecca Collins says:

    Helen, thanks for the mention. Your work rocks! Your photography is really nice too. Those colorful jars of glass make me happy. In your bird piece I like how your shapes are so varied and the sizes are so varied… wow your large pieces are nice and large. I need to learn to vary my sizes more. The bird piece also has a lovely movement to it. Your floral piece is yummy in both color and cuts.
    Enjoy your new passion, and there is never enough time for glass.

  2. noel says:

    aloha helen,

    i’ve always wanted to make something like these, but have always been soo distracted, that and the fact that i cannot find anything in my garage anymore including my art supplies…i love what you did with infusing drawings and words in to your pieces , it works well as a mosaic.

    thanks for visiting my blog also 🙂

  3. Helen says:

    Hi Noel, Glad you enjoyed my try at a new type of mosaics. Variety is always good. I got some help from other artist bloggers though.

  4. Helen says:

    Hi Rebecca, Happy that you had a look at what you’ve helped me do. You have been very generous with your videos and advice. I just love the way the glass glows in the light. And it’s another area of mosaic to explore.

  5. Hart says:

    I really like the glass. The colours are so intense. I imagine they will look amazing in the garden.

  6. Helen says:

    Hi Hart, It’s quite a difference from working with broken dishes. Hard to find dishes with color like this. And Yes, I’ll have to make some mosaics for the garden now with glass.

  7. Helen says:

    Hi Heather, thank you! Glad you like the mosaics. I’m still trying to decide on grout color but I agree, grouting will make it look good. You must be a fan of abstraction.

  8. erin says:

    hi helen, thanks for stopping by my blog. i look froward to perusing your lovely blog further…it’s nice to meet you!

  9. jodi (bloomingwriter) says:

    Oh, Helen, these are just gorgeous! So drenched in soul-satisfying colour. I have never done mosaic work but I have a number of pieces done by local artists around the house and outdoors. They make my soul sing.

  10. Helen says:

    Hi Jodi, Thank you and I’m so glad you enjoy them. I’m an artist who can never have too much color so I’m finding glass even better than paint. Glass has a wonderful glow in any kind of light.

  11. Elephant's Eye says:

    Synchronicity and serendipity – that is finding good, better, best garden blogs. I too love glass, but if I am going to work with it, prefer beads. Love to look at mosaics, so long as someone else is hands-on. There is a stained glass window on one of my London posts.

  12. Elephant's Eye says:

    I love glass, but I prefer to work with beads. And stained glass windows – flying horse in the Round Church in London. And Chagall!

  13. Helen says:

    Hello Diana, I also love beads. There is something about the way light works with glass. I’ll have to check out your blog and look for the stained glass window.

  14. mary-lou says:

    Great addition to your mosaic work Helen. Particularly like the Drabble and bird piece with text and image pulled together with grout and glass.

    FYI: there’s currently an exhibit on Horace Walpole and his collections at the V&A in London. I didn’t see it as I saw the quilt and ceramics exhibits instead. Colour colour everywhere!

  15. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Mary Lou, What, what? you missed the Horace Walpole collections? I wonder if I can find them on the internet? As for the glass piece, I do like the Margaret Drabble quote, When nothing is certain, everything is possible. It says so much about my life sometimes…..

  16. Liliana says:

    Hello Helen: I am an amateur but avid mosaic-ist and was browsing the web. I LOVE your work! Not sure if I have logged into your forum properly. I have a couple of ‘technique’ questions too if you would be so kind.
    I am working on a glass vase for the first time. I am using irregular colored glass pieces and interspersing tiny gold beads and a few tiny gold sequins into the spaces in between the glass pieces (it’s for a wedding anniversary present and the recipient loves gold!)
    1) I kind of like the effect and don’t want to grout it!
    2) Also: I didn’t think ahead that the grout would obscure the beads/sequins (they are shallower than the glass pieces.)
    I wondered what your thoughts are about ungrouted pieces. Is it a type of ‘faux pas’ of mosaicing?



  17. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Liiana, As I stated in the post, working with glass, after many years of mosaics with dishes, was new to me. So I really wouldn’t want to say you should grout. I always do but then that’s how I work. I’m concerned about sharp edges. And actually, even after grouting I’ve found the edges of the glass are still very sharp. I do know that Silva at Mosaic Road always tumbles her glass first to take off the sharp edges. I’m still looking for a grinder and a tumbler to solve the “sharp” problem. I’d urge you to check out Silva’s blog Mosaic Road and maybe query her as well.

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