Exclusively from

House of Whispering Firs
MOSAIC BUILD-ALONG
Go To More
MOSAICS

Kathy has been awarded a commission for a GIANT MOSAIC which will
hang in a client's entryway at their beach front vacation home.

You are invited to watch as Kathy tackles her most amibitious mosaic project ever.
Motif at the home inspired Kathy to follow with the owner's nautical theme,
in the form of a spectacular porthole view of the area surrounding Three Arch Rocks.
The client requested bright, cheerful theme that had to include several local residents - seagulls.

Early April

After a meeting with the client, Kathy made a trip to the beach to size up
where the mosaic was to be located and get a feel for the area.
Early April

Kathy took a "prop" along to get a feel for the size of
the project and quickly determined that BIGGER was BETTER.
(Those of you that have taken HOWF workshops may recoginize the 40" x 60" plywood.)
Late April
After visiting the site Kathy returned home with a mind full of ideas and dimensional data to work with.
She worked up a conceptual drawing, turning it into a life-sized rendition of what the finished mosaic would look like.
With this, she made an appointment with the client for final approval to start the project.
JUNE 2nd

With that approval things began to happen fast!

First, the project needed to be completed by July 4th Weekend!

Kathy began by starting the boarder which came together quickly.
She then established the pattern for each piece of the mosaic with a
complex numbering system to ensure any piece could be precisely
replaced should it become lost, broken or not color satisfactory.

    Remember, each piece must go through the following process:
  • Roll clay
  • Cut each piece so the mate with each other
  • Batch and run each piece through a bisque run in the kiln
  • Glaze each piece with the correct color
  • Return each piece to the kiln for firing
  • Is glaze color is O.K.?
  • Position each piece in the mosaic and cement in place
  • Grout (3 separate colors for this project to bring out tile color)

    To facilitate hanging, groups of pieces will be left off. Once the project is installed, those pieces will be added and grouted on site.

June 7th

Kathy begins placing the first kiln run of glazed tiles.

For perspective, the work table is 6' x 8' and the mosaic is 80" diameter!

June 15th

The kiln has been running virtually non-stop since early June and thousands of pieces have been bisqued, glazed and fired. There have been small set-backs to progress such as overloading the kiln which would not allow it to reach temperatures necessary for the glaze to vitrify, glaze which flaked off before firing contaminating other nearby pieces, colors that don't stay true to the color sample for some obsure reason, etc.

At this point, every piece will be glazed and fired to ensure color compatibility and overall fit with-in the boarder before she begins the task of glueing each individual piece onto the mosaic. Pieces located at the mounting points will be checked then set aside and cateloged so they can be installed on location.

The mosaic will be coming together very fast and Kathy,
always thinking optimistically,
says we are going to the beach next week!!

Thursday, June 17th

Finally, the kiln has been stopped. All the bisqued, glazed and fired tiles have been put in place.
1st check - are they all there?
2nd Check - is the color acceptable?
3rd check - move them around and ensure interlocking pieces fit together.

O.K. It's time to start cementing them in place.

Kathy says WE ARE going to the beach next week!!

Tuesday, June 1st

Mean while, down at the beach.....

The wall where the mosaic will be mounted had to be checked out.
What is under the sand dollar & agate panels that have been on the wall forever?
We went down several weeks ago to check it all out and make sure we had a structural integrity for the mosaic.

Tuesday, June 1st

So, the 15 cement panels were removed and happily, there was half inch plywood covering the studs which will provide a very sound base for the mosaic. We will raise the mosaic out another half inch so siding can be added for a weather tight installation.

Friday, June 18th

Kathy is on schedule!
She has all the tiles set, glued and grouted in the top half of
the mosaic except for the pieces at the joints and mounting points.
The missing piece have been categorized and placed on trays for mounting on site.

Another unique feature, 4 different colors of grout are used: Sky, Ocean, Rocks and gulls.
Weight of each section increased from 23# (cement board) to 50# with the tiles in place.

We will move the top half out of the way so it is easier for Kathy to
work on the center portion of the lower half - she says it is a stretch!!

Sunday, June 20th

We are loading the completed mosaic quarters, tools and equipment necessary to install the mosaic.
First, we will attach a 1/2" plywood circle (far side in photo) where the mosaic will be located.
Then cover it with 15# felt.
Then the lower mosaic quarters will be installed, followed by the upper quarters.

Tuesday, June 22nd

The bare wall has been covered with felt, the plywood circle attached to raise the mosaic out
for siding, the last few tile pieces installed over mounting screws and the gap between quarters.
Bright and early, with morning sun streaming in, Kathy began to apply the last bit of grout.

Tuesday, June 22nd

As usual, Miss Daisy keeps an eye on all work from the comfort of a nearby garden area.

Tuesday, June 22nd

This is the after dark view guests will see as they
round a corner to enter the house.

Tuesday, June 22nd

VIOLA!!!

Installation is now complete including new siding and accent lamps!!

Tuesday, June 22nd

One final 'live' shot before leaving, which was the inspiration for the mosaic.

TOP

Copyright 2010, House of Whispering Firs