Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Tile Challenge

Some time ago, we bought a house in Sandbridge Beach, VA and someone left this mirror behind along with some furniture and odds and ends. I have no idea where it came from. I would guess Italy because when I cleaning up the wood carving, I discovered the gold was laid over a red undercoat. A handsome thing with one thing wrong: There was only cardboard backing the mirror, so when you turned it around it was really ugly.

I drug this thing around with me all over the place in subsequent moves and when I took a tile workshop/course with Marie Glass-Tapp in Seattle, one of the challenges I set for myself was to try and make a tile to put in the back. I wanted it to mirror the shape of the cut-out, so I did this tile first:

It turned out not exactly as I expected. I had little experience working with cobalt and didn't realize how strongly it overpowered just about anything it is applied to. This was supposed to be a light blue tile with contrasts between a really light blue (the white design under the cobalt) and a darker blue over a dark claybody.

I still like the tile and it sits on my table. Appearance wasn't the killer, though, Shrinkage was. I hadn't taken that into account when I made the tile assuming that the shrinkage would just be enough to allow for grout. But NO, the shrinkage was just too much.

Back to the drawing board. Second try = success. This backing has basically the same design, but this time I scraffittoed the wreath-like decoration in the center and the words that circle the outer edges of the tile. The white is a majolica glaze, so I was able to get away with the letters coming out in the color of the claybody. It reads: "The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes, without speaking, confess the secrets of the heart."

I love art and words.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Finally in Ar-ra-zona!

We drove a vanload of furniture and dogs to Tucson, literally threw everything into the house; put the dogs in a kennel and left for convention in Las Vegas!The lobby in Bellagio with the Chihuly ceiling.And a beautiful early blue/gold piece in a small bar.

The yard has gone completely wild. I'm amazed how things grow here.

Of course, the second day we were here, my standard Schnauzer found a skunk at 4 a.m. She ran into the house and proceeded to scoot her body all over the rugs. Sacre cerise! Un pew! Le kitty que'l terriblay odeur!Having absolutely no experience with le chat de peu, she got sprayed.

Fortunately, it subsided after much airing and vacuuming.