June 19, 2009

Mosaic: Ancient technique with a Modern twist!

Last weekend was the unveiling of a city-wide public art project- The Easthampton Bearfest!

photo above: popko's bear cub getting some visitors!

If you've ever heard of the "Cows on Parade", you know what this is. The city comissioned artists for the decoration of 30+ fiberglass bears, giant mamas and little cubs. Each was adorned decorate with different meduims- paint, buttons, wire and, in my case, mosaic with glass. These bears are hanging out all over the city- on sidewalks, in parking lots, in parks.

To make my bear, I used handmade fused glass in leaf shapes, and also the glass typically used in stained glass work, all in shades of green. I cut it up into leafy patterns and laid them on the bear. Once grouted they look like leaves and twigs. The title is 'hiding bear', like he is hiding in the bushes and only his head is peeking out!

This took a lot of time; making that much fused glass in my tiny kiln is really a test of patience. It takes a long time to cut, cook, cool and load again. But its worth it.

The photo below is what it looked like while I was glueing the glass to the fiberglass form.

I wanted to use 'fused' glass because it is so smooth and I could add a layer of texture and color to each leaf and twig. I used regular sheet glass for the larger leafy shapes and the rest of the body. It costs less than fusing glass and I dont have to 'cook' it.
Heres some twigs ready to be applied to the form. You can see the two colors fused together to create some depth and color variety.
With this technique I could add glass details around the cubs face without them being sharp shards of glass, and kids or general public could run thier hands over it and really feel the smooth glass. I wanted it to be touchable!
You can see how smooth they are, and the raised areas, in the photo above.
Below, the finished bear hanging out.

The photo above was taken at my house, prior to being installed in front of the town liquor store (first photo). He's hiding.
Mosaic is a great technique that can really be applied to almost anything, using anything. Have some bottlecaps lying around? Glue them to a mailbox! Broke a dinner plate? Glue it to a picture frame! There are certainly ways to create a mosaic for longevity and weather wear, but you can always do-it-yourself and make a great work of art.
Heres a link to a video taken by the local news station. Mines the first one in the video, the little green one. Then Im at the very end in the "Nature" shirt, hamming it up next to my bear while people took photos (and apparently the local news was there too!).

Click the photo below to watch me in the news video!

story by popko


KayzKreationz said...

That is fantastic. I love your little "hiding bear". I love doing mosaics, too. They are a lot of fun arent' they? I've done picture frames, birdfeeders, birdhouses, stepping stones and so much more. There seems to be no limit to what you can do with mosaics. Congrats on your pics and coverage.

Sue said...

What a wonderful use of glass. You're very creative. I've made stepping stones and did a mosaic bird bath, but traditional stained glass is my area of expertise.

Did you know that you can shape glass and smooth edges with a torch (like the one used in bead making)? I made 3-D sunflowers and turned the ends of the petals using a torch. Good fun.

Shoozles said...

Popko The bear is fantastic

Wild Sage Lampwork said...

I love it!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It's beautiful, Crystal! I love the little bee (?) on his nose too!

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