Friday, August 28, 2009

Does the artwork participate in the creation process?

A leap of faith. Not my specialty, this faith thing. I do a LOT of second guessing. I frequently redesign a mosaic several times before I finish (although usually just the secondary components or background, but sometimes even the focal point). I used to believe (when I was new to mosaic work) that it was because I was still a little unfamiliar with the materials—how they would look together, how predictably they would cut, etc. But although I still will move into uncharted territory with materials (because, let’s face it, you can stick almost anything into a mosaic!), I feel quite comfortable with the ones I use most. So why do I still work this way? Is it habit or is it something else?

100_2768Some of the background is in on the Garden Diva, and I am on the third incarnation of andamento for it, having changed my mind twice about how to do it. But the background is really not quite distinct enough from the flower stems on the left side to suit me. And here is where the leap of faith comes in….I’m going to keep it. I think that by adapting the grout as needed, I can manage enough contrast. If not, it will have been a learning experience cuz I’m sick of this piece because that’s how we learn, right?

So why do I work this way, rather than planning carefully for every step of the process? I could be rationalizing (ha! not me!) but I think I have come to enjoy the mystery that it brings to the process, and the soulfulness it brings to the artwork. I recognize that others can create vibrant, soulful works even if they are meticulously planned in advance, but I believe I can’t. To have absolutely everything planned out in advance would remove the vitality from the piece, at least from MY pieces. In a way, it feels as if the artwork is participating in the creation process. I like that.

And in other news, the mini mosaic for the Somerville exhibit had the hanger pop off the back (I don’t think I mentioned that yet, did I?). I had covered the back of the Wedi board with colored thinset just to finish it off nicely since it wouldn’t be framed. I then attached D rings with epoxy. Well the epoxy stuck like dog snot to the metal of the D rings, but popped off the thinset. My dear brother-in-law gave me a suggestion that I thought was worth a try. He recommended grinding out the location of the D rings down to the mesh embedded in the Wedi board, then reattaching the D rings with the epoxy. So far so good – here’s how it looks:

100_2794 Scraped and ready100_2795
reattached :)

I ran picture wire between them and it has been hanging on the wall since yesterday. I will probably give them a bit of a tug today just to make sure I can leave it at the exhibit with confidence.


  1. Hello Lee Ann
    yes I am the same - I feel my mosaics are like the characters in a book to some writers. They take on a life of their own and tell you what to do. I change and rechange. The pieces I am not altogether happy with are the ones where I have got fed up with it and stopped 'listening' to the piece and just left things as they were. Do you have that? Hope your hanging system is OK! Concetta at

  2. Concetta - I used to teach piano lessons, and my favorite old worn out mantra was "Don't think, just do". My students would be capable of doing something, but their brains would interfere. They would "overthink" the task at hand, and seize up. Sometimes I think that's what's happening with my art. If I try to think about all the details, I won't be happy with it, but if I "Don't think, just do" it resolves itself into something I'm happy with!



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