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Take your time, there is a lot to explore--galleries, videos, and "how-I-do-its." Hope you enjoy my site and perhaps find something you will love. The image at left is a sitting bench (4' x 18") called "Garden of Nisene" a custom stained glass and ceramic mosaic for an estate, depicting a full day sunrise to evening...
For Zachary the Panda, I started by finding a fabric stuffed bear of just the right size and shape at Goodwill. Then comes placing three carefully placed (for strength) methodical layers of sheetrock tape strips wetted in industrial cement. Letting it dry in between layers creates a strong model base with just the right potential of facial expression and body posture. I pencil in the details until I am satisfied with the proportions of where the colors will go, and he's ready for mortar!
Each piece of glass is cut using water-tile saw or clippers, then "buttered" with mortar onto the concrete body frame. Next comes selecting and pasting the right color of grout between each piece (eg., gray grout for ears, eyes, nose, smile, and legs; white grout for body). After grouting an area, hand and dental tools are used to remove excess grout from each channel between pieces. Last--the entire mosaic is coated with a protective film to protect the color and seal the grout.
3-D sculptures are for me the most challenging mosaics to make, but also the most rewarding to complete, as they often allow me to add accessories that create a strong feeling of artistic creativity. The curves and shapes must be soundly engineered to last, and be pleasing to view from every angle.
And here he sits, chillin' with his favorite Bamboo branch, on top of a linseed-oiled Eucalyptus round I acquired from a friend's local tree felled during a storm.
My client picked up Zachary and decided to place him next to her front door as a welcoming sculpture of a favorite animal. In this case, I completed Zachary before I had a client, trusting he would attract a good match--and he did!
When I was a young girl I had a pet duck who would follow me around like a puppy, and ever since I have found a way to express my love for birds of all kinds in mosaics. I named this one "Miss Mabel, Duck-Duck-Goose" after the childs game. She's dressed in a blue pattern with scalloped wings from ceramic plates that had just the right shape for wings. An accessory came to mind of a pearl necklace, complimenting her with a slight iridescence in changing light.
This is a pic after I have cut and placed each ceramic piece using a strong mortar. Then, I use a variety of dental tools, tweezers, and other fine instruments to be able to control the gaps where the various colored grouts will fill in. Once the grout is in, I make sure no air bubbles disrupt the smooth texture, and complete the cleaning of any excess grout. My studio has excellent natural light from an overhead skylight.
It was hard to let her go, but she went to a good home! And seeing Miss Mabel, my client asked if I could make some ducklings to follow behind her!
My client wanted a sturdy, outdoor tall planter for her huge wrap-around deck in the country, something that would be a real centerpiece that she planned to place where it could be viewed 360 degrees, so the entire planter needed to be covered in mosaics. When I visited her home she told me about a family of foxes that lives in the woods nearby, so I first sketched and then built the scene around a fox sitting on a fallen tree, in a paradise of nature: mushrooms growing in the rich soil, a dragonfly lighting on a tall reed, calla lilies in full bloom, a monarch butterfly, and for organic texture (I love to include) I used real pebbles, individually glued, for the stream bed. Each animal and plant piece was made on my workbench and applied and fitted to conform to the changing curvatures of the planter.
NOTE: OPEN VIDEOS IN FULL SCREEN "[_]"
Here's a good look at how a large mosaic sculpture is made, starting with netting over a drawing or picture that I then hand cut pieces of stained glass or ceramic tiles, and then I bring the glued and netted pieces to the structure. The pieces are then carefully placed on the structure, adjusted and trimmed to fit together as needed, and attached when fitted perfectly with a strong mortar. Then colored grout is placed between the mosaic pieces,in this case multiple grout colors to compliment the various images and backgrounds portrayed on the piece. Over a few hours as it's drying, I clean off excess grout, and level it to create a smoother profile with the mosaic glass and ceramic. It is painstaking, exacting, and challenging work, especially when the structure is curved, and has a variety of textures to imitate, such as on an animal sculpture or in this case, a tall planter.
Here is a walk around video of the reveal that I asked my husband to narrate as the audio quality of the original wasn't good, and he gives a good description, slowed down as the camera rotates around the whole planter. This sculpture was placed on a structure of a very sturdy, tall outdoor planter. I created a large fox, fallen tree, mushrooms growing in rich soil, a dragonfly amidst reeds, calla lilies, and a monarch butterfly, in total a scene of paradise to compliment the beauty of my client's beautiful home, deck, and countryside.
A special request by my client for her beloved cat "Pumpkin" was to give him a leopardskin (fabric) tail and paws; other details: I used a real feather found outside, split in half, to make the inner ear hair…and for the whiskers, I used another bird 🪶 feather I found that had just the right length, color, and “feel” to be trimmed and then individually placed into white grout that I first drilled with a needle drill, then dimpled to imitate the way a cat’s whiskers protrude, and with a tiny amount of glue placed on the end of each whisker tine, carefully set them into the drilled spaces, varying the length realistically. The effect is of an organic facial feature on a 3-D stained glass sculpture that gives it a kinetic energy, an "aliveness" as the whiskers respond to the slightest breeze …
NOTE: OPEN VIDEOS IN FULL SCREEN "[_]"
Because I often incorporate organic materials in my pieces, each one is a combination of trial and error, imagination, and engineering (craft) gleaned from experience of working with many experimental materials over the years. Case in point: to get to the final choice of material to use for the whiskers I tried (testing with prototypes) white bristles from a brush, trimmed zip ties, broom bristles, nylon rope undone and treated for stiffness, fishing line, copper wire painted white…but in each case there was not the right combination of qualities to make that optimal effect I wanted, or the workability to make it practical and long-lasting. But in the end, it was worth it...
Of course one of the best parts of making art is sharing the delight and sheer joy with my client when the finished piece is presented…here I brought it to the San Benito Art Council's Gallery in Hollister where I was showing some other mosaic pieces, a wonderful place--full of such good energy and loving people--to meet my client. I am so grateful for the opportunity to really pour myself into making art that brings joy and love into this world--in many ways, this is a gift-- for ME.
"Loving Owl" in stained glass, braided cord, feathers, and beads [SOLD]
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 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...
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.
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...
Copyright © 2018 SanDee Adams Creative Mosaic Designs- All Rights Reserved.
If you see something you love, need a price, or would like something special created for you please contact me. My email and phone contact info are at the bottom of the website as well.