I was delighted to receive another commission from my customer who commissioned the hob back splash Sunset over the Solway .
The brief was to make a smaller picture that would have echos or elements of the larger mosaic whilst also adding something of the magic from a piece she had just bought from my Artfinder shop “Dreams of Golden Summer” (below). This piece again, like the hob mosaic, conjured up childhood memories for my customer, who remembered those treasured hot summer days pulling wheat plants through her fingers and watching the kernels fly off into the wind.
A lot of my work is about things that turn into birds or things made of birds so I suggested that the Solway seascape could be “a bit later on and the sun is further down , slipping into the sea, still reflecting bright colours . The sea is beginning to get stormy, the waves are choppy, deep shadows are shaped like birds, white crests of foam are forming, also bird shaped, some of them as if by magic fly off into the colourful sky”.
She liked the idea and so the commission went ahead.
This time it was to be direct and again using smalti and a little of that gold mirror she loves in the river of “Dreams of Golden Summer”.
This was the agreed sketch.
It was nice to use mostly regular smalti this time instead of piastriana, so I could make the most of the holes and irregularities.
When working direct like this it’s important to get the pieces close together, so a lot of time goes into cutting the bottom of some pieces so they can sit next to each other quite snugly. I use both hardy and hammer and nippers to cut smalti, sometimes it is easier to use one than the other. If one way doesn’t work I use the other!
After each session I clean in between the crevices with a dental tool or a needle tool like this one which came from a kids microscope kit given to me by a friend who also makes mosaics. (Ha, you missed a trick Jean 🙂 )
I was especially pleased with my white crest/birds because by using a mixture of very pale colours I have achieved an iridescent effect, one I had planned to experiment with one day.
I must admit it was very hard for me not to grout this piece, I had to tie my hands behind my back for a whole day before I gave it to my customer! Very glad I resisted though, it would have filled all those lovely holes, and made the whole surface less bright.
Here’s the final piece “Flight from the Waves of Solway”