Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Unitarian Tree Of Life Mosaic, Part 2

I love grouting! But I knew grouting this tree would be hard. 

I knew I would need to take great pains to reveal each piece of tessarae because each piece has meaning to someone in the congregation. But within each leaf there could be a small tie clasp sitting next to a thick chunk of outdoor tile!  So revealing each piece was going to be hard!
To prepare the tree for grouting, I first had filled the spaces between the leaves with black tile that had been donated. 

I knew I was using black grout so these tiles would recede somewhat and help to delineate the leaf shapes.There was also too much space between most of the leaves. 

Then I taped off half the tree. That is usually a painstaking process which I dread but today it wasnt so bad! 

The grouting process is an artform in and of itself. It begins with an attack of the piece - covering the artwork rather violently with handfuls of colored "slop" and ends with a delicate buffing and polishing that can last for hours. 

But in between is the painstaking removal of the grout that covers each and every piece of tessarae. And if one is working outdoors in the sun, the time between these steps speeds up considerably! 

I love working in the sun but it means the grout dries faster, needs to be removed faster so it doesnt dry onto the tessarae. But the fast drying time means you can get to the buffing and perfecting stage faster too. And the best part is removing the tape to see the shape edges all around the piece. Love it!

 I like to use dark grout and am getting to like just plain black the best. I chose it for this tree mosaic because it was the only color not used in the leaves themselves! 

I knew it would also set off the jewel-tone colors in the leaves. And it creates a little bit of a stained glass look that I like too.

1 comment:

Julie Nunez and Jan Bear said...

Hello Kim...I saw your post about your tree on the Yahoo group this morning and decided to see what you are up to. Glad I did. So very lovely, and sure to thrill the community you are working with. Black grout vertically in 2D...I commiserate:) I am also working on some trees at the moment, among many other things. You left a comment on my blog under a panel of mosaiced ceramic leafs that I had made for my father's birthday a year or more ago? I never saw your comment until months and months later...having dropped blogging for some time. But I thank you for that comment. It thrilled me at the time because I knew who you were of course,and know your work. I played a bit at IMA, know Laurel and some of the girls up there. But I'm pretty much a hermit and only work to please myself, embellish my environment or make gifts for people I love. I do believe we would have fun talking shop since we both mosaic incorporating handmade ceramic pieces. Perhaps one of these days we will run into one another. I hope so. In the mean time I will continue to enjoy your blog and try to get back into publishing on mine. Julie Nunez www.mitesserae-mosaics.blogspot.com