Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mosaic Butterflies

I just did my first installation in a long time. I had forgotten how much fun it is. The day was hot and sunny and I was dirty and sweaty. I love working under those conditions! My hands are all cut up from working with the glass and still stained midnight blue from the grout.
I have a 70 foot long cement wall that runs the length of my backyard. The cement is lumpy and bumpy and was poorly made from the beginning. I have wanted to mosaic it but it always looked like it would be a tremendous investment in time and materials. Also, I like working in glass and I just couldnt see a way to directly mosaic onto that wall. So I came up with a plan. I decided to cut individual pieces out of Hardiboard, mosaic them in my shop and then cement them to the wall - leaving only the grouting to be done on site. I don't know if this is simply reinventing the wheel and millions of people do it this way every day but for me it was an experiment.
I figured: what the heck,
it's my wall!Here is a picture of the wall. This isnt even half of it but you may be able to see the roughness of it. I had to use a very thick coating of Thinset in places to make the work area as flat as possible. Again, maybe it isn't kosher to use Thinset in a place where traditional cement would be used but Thinset IS pretty cement-like so I figured why not. Here is the first butterfly stuck to the wall. You can see the chalk outlines I did to get an idea how they would fit next to each other. It was somewhat messy looking because I had used white Thinset and it stood out like a sore thumb. Not good. I bought grey Thinset for the next butterfly and "painted" over the white that showed around the first one too. Much better. This picture shows the length I had to go to keep the second butterfly in place! Tape and plywood wedged against it for hours did the trick pretty well.Here they are drying.And here they are finished. Not perfect by a long shot but I guarantee I will become perfect! I had been so nervous to try this because once it's done, it's immovable! But I had totally forgotten how much fun it is! I am working on a frog to go on the wall next and have all kinds of ideas for more pieces. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Stacy Alexander said...

Kim, your butterflies have an almost human quality in their grace. So pretty!

That wall is going to be incredible when you finish it. It's pretty incredible NOW, as a matter of fact.

Great job!