I have always been interested in mosaics and an opportunity came up with a Groupon special. My new friends Dixi (from Dallas as she describes herself) and Judy (from Washington) signed up for the class. Judy couldn’t make it as she hurt her back, but Dixi and I braved the heat to head to downtown Tucson to The Mosaic Guys shop.
Many years ago, I took a mosaic class in Richland, Washington at the Beaux Arts studio. I always wanted to do it more but didn’t set aside the time until the Groupon became available.
The class was supposed to be two hours for a 4”x4” tile. We opted for a bigger tile and another hour.
Each of us selected a 6”x6” tile with a predesigned graphic. Various tiles and glass were available for our use. I chose a hummingbird motif. It required very small pieces to form the beak and tail feathers. Dixi chose a Southwest scene complete with a howling coyote.
We learned, you work on the main feature and then fill in the background.
The project took some effort as the tile had to be snipped and shaped to create the design. We used glass snippers to break the square tiles into shorter pieces and triangles. The tiles could be snipped into a circle by carefully snipping very small pieces away as you worked around the tile. The pieces are glued in place as you work to fill in the piece. It took the full three hours to finish. Dixi actually went a little longer. We were sent home with a kit to grout the tile once the glue set up.
The Mosaic Guys provided the grout kit and directions on how to grout. It’s a messy process so I set up an area on my kitchen island with a tarp and newspapers to contain the mess. We tried adding mica powder to the grout to give it a little glam, but it essentially disappeared in the grout. I wish mine had been a darker color so that the hummingbird showed up better. I may paint on a colorant later.
My biggest takeaway from this process is that mosaic work requires some upfront strategy and spatial skills. I saw that I lost the hummingbird shape by making the background too busy and would have been better off keeping the background simple.
We plan to go again when Judy feels better and use what we learned to create a better product.