May 15, 2013

Retired Demonstrators Made Fresh Mosaics

When I was teaching mosaics in the South Carolina Arts In Education Program I had prepared a number of demonstrator mosaics made from color pieces of matt board mounted on to a matt board base. They were never finished because that was not the point. I would carry them from job to job and use them to demonstrate cutting and application techniques. Finishing them would have meant having to make new models for the next job.

Now that I have concluded teaching mosaics in the public school system I have decided to retire these demonstrator mosaics by bringing them to a conclusion as well. This required some initial repair work followed by using more stabilizing archival materials to finish the works. The colors of commercial matt board used for picture framing (what I used in the mosaics for classroom teaching as it could be acquired for nothing) was often fugitive as well as monochromatic and not terribly interesting. So in order to complete the cat mosaic posted above, I first made a new supply of tesserae with acrylic paint over gesso on matt board. I faux finished the acrylic paints and added mica textures to give them a stony appearance. I then painted over, rather tediously, all of the existing pieces on the original work to match the replacement tesserae.. I used archival glues this time to adhere the tesserae to the remaining blank areas, feeling a burst of satisfaction as that last little space was filled up. After everything dried, I gave the mosaic several coats of an acrylic varnish to bring out the colors as well as add a hard, slick surface that I could grout like a stone or glass mosaic. For the grout I used different colorants added to an acrylic mica mortar for each section grouted. The mica gave the impression of a cement base and was easily wiped off the surface. Overall, I’m pleased with the effect although the flickering shine of the mica looks better in person.   And now cat is here for keeps instead of half done in a box.

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