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THIS PROJECT STARTED with a client's old, partly crumbling birdhouse, which SanDee totally reconstructed using strong Hardiebacker and a weather resistant painted metal roof. The exterior cladding is made of hand-cut slate rock, grouted with four mural panels of color glass mosaics: a yellow flower for the bird entrance (front), an iridescent dragonfly and butterfly (sides). And because the client's husband's love of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an otter floating on it's back in the sea, with copper whiskers and a clam's shell in it's paws...
Since the client's birdhouse was badly deteriorated, SanDee began by repairing and reconstructing the structure by "sistering" the walls and floor, discarding what was left of the roof, and using weatherproof materials that will last for many years. The roof will be constructed last, at this point left unknown in material and design. [She ended up deciding to make a corrugated metal roof, and a sheet metal ridge flashing, painted bougainvillea red with weather resistant paint.]
Rock Slate is a durable and beautiful choice for cladding, but is heavy, so Sandee chose pieces that could be sliced thin, but not TOO thin as to make it brittle. The ceramic blade water saw was used to create a selection of all sizes to mosaic onto the walls of the Birdhouse...
Once the overall construction elements and materials of the structure were completed, the artistic design was envisioned and then sketched. Next the very intricate process of selecting, cutting, shaping, and glueing the glass and ceramic pieces was carefully set, somewhat like painting with glass. This description leaves out many steps, and many days of experimenting to discover the design, colors, textures--every aspect of creation.
Once the design pieces are mortared onto the hardiebacker boards, the channels between every piece must be filled with a colored grout, smoothed, and leveled to adjust for various heights of the glass and ceramic pieces. Next, cut the corrugated roof and hand shape a roof ridge, and apply several coats of weather resistant bougainvillea red paint. And at last--the fun part--delivering to client!
This piece started out as a blank mirror from Goodwill--I love the idea of repurposing used items. Back home in my studio I got the idea to create a fish in water theme, but something was missing...until I found the white ceramic pieces that looked just like coral, added round glass "bubbles" and nautical rope--done!
"I really liked the combination of visual elements; you can hold it up to the light, this orb of colored glass, with stripes akin to the planets in our solar system...and when you move around it, the reflection changes the patterns. Here it's on a gate post; or could be on a coffee table? Just a nice, interesting piece I love to look at!" -- SanDee
One client came to me with an incredible fabric of Ganesha, the elephant god, purchased in Thailand. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, and a patron of arts and sciences and of intellect and wisdom, and the client told me of a powerful connection to the image and asked, "Can you create a frame that honors this for me?"
The frame I made was filled with the exquisite detail and bold colors in the image, using ceramic mosaics and glass beads, and bordered in deep red braided trim.
Each piece is custom, often commissioned, and when possible I use objects of great meaning to the client, found objects, hammered copper, reworked Goodwill frames, you name it. The Project Gallery below will provide a wide range of ideas on what you might like--like themed street numbers for your home-- but whatever it is, it will be special, and definitely one-of-a-kind.
This mosaic ceramic and stained-glass mural clay flower pot was commissioned as a unique gift for a client's best friend, featuring her favorite Hawaiian themes and a very special cat...
The technical name for my work is Pique Assiette/Trencadís. Famous artists in this style include Antoni Gaudi and Josep Maria Jujol’s Parc Guell. I have expanded my technique to include stained glass, beadwork, hammered copper, stainless steel, antique jewelry, textile fabrics, and even organic materials such as moss, pine cones, shells, bamboo, rope, and more. My most popular commissions have been intricate animals--birds, turtles, fish, cats, dogs, and reptiles, in flat hanging or furniture based pieces, and especially the 3-D sculptures.
I love making things for people. It's my way to show them I love them! Over the years this desire has resulted in so many wonderful discoveries in so many different art forms.
The studio is my refuge, a place where I am surrounded by hand tools, drills, giant jars of glass and ceramics, boxes of jewelry and unusual "bits and bobs" I've carefully collected, full of color and texture - pieces first used for one thing and discarded, and now designed into something beautiful and new.
For the pieces I make for shows, my process is to experiment with elements based on a theme, often inspired by nature, and the colorful world we live in. The pieces then suggest themselves, or maybe reveal themselves is a better way to put it. The result is a unique expression of practical art I hope you can enjoy and smile at every day...
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