Monday 10 November 2014

New Craft Project

Whilst on holiday on Dartmoor we wandered round Bovey Tracey, admiring the mosaics that are on display around the town.  We also looked at some local craftsmen's work in the local  Bovey Tracey Craft Centre.  The mosaics on display really got my inspiration going. I need a project for the cold, wet winter months and I thought having a go at working with mosaics could fit the bill very nicely.

To start off with, my imagination did run away with me.  I had thoughts of huge outdoor mosaic panels depicting a particular part of the garden through the seasons, including the changes in the trees and plants, and the insect life that was around. 

I then started seeing potential mosaic projects everywhere I looked. Table tops, kitchen splash backs, back panels of shelving. You name it, I could imagine it covered in mosaic.  Martin did feel that I perhaps needed to reign my imagination in a bit and start off with something a bit more manageable. I think he was right.

I had a good look on line for some inspiration and ideas as to what I could start off with, and found a couple of blogs that helped me to scale down the level of my imagination - for now. I saw some really good examples of garden pots, kitchen trivets and trays. 

I also found a really good tutorial on YouTube that made it look easy so I was definitely considering it doable and maybe in time for some hand made Christmas Gifts. 

My God daughter then pointed me in the direction of Pinterest, a place I'd heard about but never been. That was it, I was definitely going to have a go and, in no time at all, I had started my own Pinterest board

I had my first project in mind and scoured eBay, Etsy and Amazon for tiles (or tesserae, as I now know is the correct term!) and equipment. I was surprised at the breadth of choice available for tiles in all colours, materials and shapes and made my first order.  I went for some vitreous glass tiles, about 2cm square, in my favourite colours of violet and lavender, with some pale and mid grey for contrast.

I did also have a cursory look in our local Hobbycraft.  The mosaic selection was pretty dismal, the Internet is definitely going to be the way to go .

My tiles have come! They are beautiful. I love the colours and the texture. They are just what I wanted. They are perfect.

They come on a paper backing, so one of my first jobs will be to soak these off.

Basic Equipment
Before I get started I need to get stocked up with some basic equipment. I will need some tile cutters, the type with two wheels seem to be the best to use for cutting glass tiles.  I will also need some adhesive, and Weldbond seems to come highly recommended, and some grout. 

For what I am planning on making, as well as something to tile on, I will also need some acrylic based paint and maybe some cork backing. 

The big question is, can I wait for this stuff until my birthday later this month?  Or am I just going to go out and get it so I can get cracking (or cutting!!)

I feel like I'm nearly ready to get started.  Now, I've got my first set of tiles I am itching to get cracking but want to make sure that I do things right. I spent a good couple of hours browsing the Internet again.  This time I was looking at techniques and supplies. 

I found a really great blog called Glittering Shards, which seemed to give the right mixture of inspiration and guidance.  I have also found a really good site through Pinterest with literally 100s of Qs and As, which answers a lot of the questions floating around in my mind at the moment. 

I think I've also discovered that you can mosaic onto MDF, which is good news as I have a big panel that's been sitting in the cupboard under the stairs for goodness knows how long, just in case!! It will be perfect for my first projects, which I am keeping under wraps now as they may be ready in time for Christmas and I want to maintain the element of surprise.

Charity Shop Find
I had a trip to town with mum and decided to trawl the charity shops looking for pretty pottery that I could perhaps use in another mosaic project that I fancy giving a go. Whilst I didn't find anything pottery wise, that I just had to buy, it was good to see what some of the possibilities were. 

What I did just have to buy though, was a set of round wooden table mats. They are about 18cm in diameter and about 1cm thick, so will be perfect for my first project. They need a bit of loving care before I can use them, but let's face it, even my incredibly handy and talented husband was never going to be able to cut out perfect circles!! I will save the MDF for another project.

Waiting to get started
I am really itching to get going now!  I have my idea, I have my tiles, I have my glue, I have my bases.  I just need the rest of my tools and I will be ready.  My birthday is mid-November, so hopefully by then I will have everything I need and will be able to get started.

It's really exciting having a brand new project to get my teeth into and it's also good to have something completely different to post about in my blog, so make sure you keep watching this space to see how I get on.

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