Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mosaic Lemon Bench

My friend, Saundra Warren, and I have just completed our first project. (I've written about Saundra in a couple of previous posts) We started from scratch with just an idea and, voila, the result is this Lemon Bench. And this is Saundra hard at work.

Recently Saundra had purchased a tile saw. As you may know, nowadays when you buy a large item, it is very common for it to come encased in a styrofoam box within the outer cardboard box. Saundra had an idea for us to put that styrofoam, usually a nuisance to dispose of, to good use. We decided to turn it into a cement bench that we could then mosaic. First we covered it with strips of fiberglass mesh dipped in a cement slurry - like paper mache only using cement instead of flour. After we had totally encased the styrofoam with it, we covered it with cement. Tips and techniques on how to do this are all over the web. And it's easy and fun to do too.

Next we needed to decide where the bench would ultimately "live". I have a sweet and rustic little brick area under a lemon tree out in my backyard, so we chose that place. Saundra is an expert at taking leaves, fruit and other organic things and making ceramic tiles and molds out of them.

So we took lemon leaves and lemons from my tree, as well as ivy leaves which grow all around it, and began a long process of creating the decorations for the bench. They came out just great.

With Saundra's personal tutoring on how to get the glaze to come out just right, and after some wrestling with the kilns, our ceramic pieces were ready. We supplemented with factory tiles in various shades of white and with small hits of other color tiles too. I also created some glass and mirror butterflies on Easyboard to add sparkle. Then we grouted with Antique White to keep the crisp white look against the natural colors in the environment.

We are very happy with our first triumph. But we have learned a lot too and will put our new knowledge to use on our next project - "The Persimmon Trio". Stay tuned!

"Lemon Bench"
Kim Larson & Saundra Warren
November 2008
32" wide x 23" tall x 15" deep
Handmade tiles, factory tiles and glass


Stacy Alexander said...

Kim, I hope you two are proud of yourselves! The only drawback about this bench for me is that it doesn't live here in Jingletown. This neighborhood can sure use more of your talent. That's for sure. You and Saundra really know what you're doing! This is beautiful!

Congratulations on a job well done.


Fran said...

A very creative way to recycle the polystyrene/styrofoam packaging. I really like the lemon & leaves. It's also fun carving a block of polystyrene and then using the same technique on the carved shape. Contratulations.