Underneath Mosaic

Glass, smalti, porcelain, gems, river rock, pebbles | 48" x 72"

Underneath Mosaic

Underneath is a larger scale reflection of the undersea growth shown in Cycles. I used many types of mosaic patterning techniques and materials to create a deeply layered and textured piece. It is extremely large for a mosaic because I wanted the the viewer to feel absorbed into work and give myself room to create many different elements without the mosaic being crowded or overcomplicated.

Creation of the Underneath Mosaic

Underneath was completed in 2009 and it was the second to last piece in the Earth Series. I was going through a lot of changes in my personal life and I really wanted to create a large, substantial work representing beauty, growth and freedom. I wanted to breathe and wanted my art to breathe.

As with many of the pieces in this series, I started out with just a rough sketch of the general movement I wanted the piece to take on. I drew a grid on the plywood so that any bricking patterns could be kept in line against the more free-flowing elements.Then I just worked from foreground to background and put elements in place. I knew I wanted the plant life to be in the foreground so I started there. It is difficult to see in the photos, but within the plant are little circles that are elevated with glass tiles placed on end. I snapped the edges with my mosaic wheels so they would be jagged instead of molded, but I did clip of any sharp parts so that my dog, cat & students wouldn't wound themselves!

For the next layer I wanted to create some art deco style water bubbles. Usually there is more of an asymmetry to my circular patterning, but I wanted these to be more stylized so I made sure to keep the circles perfect by making concentric circle sketches. On some I even worked from the inside out to make sure the circles had the look I was going for.

Next I started working from top to bottom to create water coming down in wavy patterns similar to those in my piece Mokuluas that I created the year before. After that it was a free-for-all. Sometimes I added elements to the bottom, sometimes streams through the middle and sometimes got hooked on patterning. I didn't worry about what I thought I was doing the day before, I just did what seemed right that day.

I love the outcome and as an unexpected bonus to creating this mosaic, it was extremely helpful having this piece in my studio as I was teaching so I could quickly point out different materials and methods of creating mosaic design to my students.