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Recent projects and musings. Thanks for reading!

The Upcycle Mosaic Project

Mosaic artists are well known for their tendency to be magpies: we are attracted to lush, shiny, colorful tesserae that can be incorporated into our work. We tend to purchase "inventory" because we love the color, the texture or shape of it; someday, eventually, when the stars and the muses align, we will use it to create an inspired work of mosaic art. Our studios (and garages and closets and sometimes cars) are filled with bags and boxes and Ziplock containers overflowing with baubles, glass bits, and hunks of rich marble colors waiting to be cut, chopped and shaped.

Mexican and Italian smalti stored in every kind of recycled plastic containers. 

Mexican and Italian smalti stored in every kind of recycled plastic containers. 

And then there are the leftovers. During the planning and budgeting process, we're reminded to order 5 - 10% more material than we need, due to cutting waste, revisions, and innate flaws in the materials. This stuff is expensive. We try to calculate close to the exact quantities needed, but there will always be leftovers. These precious bits and shards get stored for later, because they can't be returned and are too good to throw out. Sometimes "later" comes after more than a decade of storage. Which, in my case, also entails a good deal of "schlepping." To the garage, where I gave up my parking space to add shelving for all of my extra materials. Then to a public storage cubicle. Then to another, larger cubicle in a cheaper zip code. Then back to the garage. And in between, one or two rented studio spaces. My back hurts just thinking about the process of moving all that heavy stone and glass, along with the Gorilla Racks that hold my loot.  

Each time I start a new project, I have to order more materials because the existing ones are just not quite right...

Each time I start a new project, I have to order more materials because the existing ones are just not quite right...

I've been claiming for awhile now that I could work for a five years creating mosaics in my studio without having to buy any new materials. And that's what my new Upcycle Mosaic Project is about. Trying to recycle, reuse, re-implement materials I've been hoarding for years, and putting them to work in new ways. I'll show you the original project - the "provenance," to use an art historical term - of the materials. 

One of my favorite materials, Opus Romano by Bisazza, is an Italian-made enameled glass. 

One of my favorite materials, Opus Romano by Bisazza, is an Italian-made enameled glass. 

Going with a chocolate theme here - can you tell? Stay tuned for the final blog post on this sculpture, with the "First Use" and "Upcycle Use" photos. 

Going with a chocolate theme here - can you tell? Stay tuned for the final blog post on this sculpture, with the "First Use" and "Upcycle Use" photos. 

Once the project is finished, you'll see the first and end use. My ultimate goal, besides producing some fun mosaic art to show and sell, is to empty my garage storage of these materials before it's time to move again. Wish me luck! ~ Julie