A magical mosaic in the making…

This is the 4th in the series of large outdoor mosaic insects for a local school and it is an absolute beauty . I love love love it  so much I think I need to make one for myself!.

Here is the process of making it (with tips for mosaic artists along the way). Some visual treats await you at the bottom of this post!

The mosaic is made on a base of wedi board (totally waterproof) reinforced by external plywood…

…which is sealed 3 times with varnish (particular attention given to the edges).

The wood and wedi are stuck together with cement adhesive (thinset) and finished off with a screed of the same (important for the edges but not the surface – I just do this so its easier to make pencil marks).

The mosaic is underway – the spider’s body came together so easily it almost crawled into position by itself! It is made from 2 pebbles from my garden, a matt black nugget cut in half and the legs were made from stones I gathered from a beach in Wales, which were soft enough to cut. The web is made from recycled mirror, each piece cut carefully with two-wheeled cutters.

And so begins the very long process of making the web. Here, the key thing was for me to convey the sense of whispy fragmentation of a spiders web as you would see on an autumn morning, with a glimmer of sun shining through.

It took hours, and hours…each piece being cut several times to fit perfectly next to the other.  I soon donned my mask as the amount of glass dust was copious and making me cough…

Part of the brief from the school commission was to convey elements of the food chain, so here we have an unfortunate fly (also made of pebbles), about to become lunch!

The cutting continues……for over 30 hours…

…until at last, I am ready to grout!

Before I do, I cover the spider and fly with masking tape as grout will get stuck on the pebbles and not wipe off well.

After slathering the whole thing in grout and pressing it in the gaps,  I use the dry grouting method (grout not too sloppy and clear up straight away by vigorous rubbing with scrunched newspaper, again and again until the grout is removed). Then comes the more fiddly clean up with a potters needle, slowly uncovering submerged pieces (often the case if you use tiles of different heights).

Can you spot it?

There it is!

There were lots to uncover, so that all the pieces were ready to shine….

And shine they do! Indulge me please, as I show you snaps from lots of angles to catch the light…

Spider on its way to catch its prey…

A close up of those serendipitous pebbles…

The sun shines on the web…

Glorious!

35 Responses to “A magical mosaic in the making…”

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  1. Silva says:

    Charming! So original … I love it.

  2. Julie says:

    Concetta,

    This is GORGEOUS! What a fun piece. I love the mix of materials, and how *easily* you created the spider, yet it looks like it took so much work. Congrats on a gorgeous work. xo

  3. janie says:

    So clever and well executed. Love your choice of materials!!

  4. You are realy an artist! I would love to have this on my wall!

  5. This is beautiful! The hours of work really show. Stunning!

  6. Lovely work 🙂 The children are gonna get alot of happiness when they look at this ! x

  7. Oh what fun. i love the detail of the background, how you have balanced all the colours so well, with the shimmery shiny lovelyness of it all. Happy School Kids

  8. arlene says:

    THIS IS REALLY A CLEVER PIECE!! Good for you! I love it.

  9. Nellie says:

    Beautiful work, design, colors, etc!! Thanks for sharing the pics and how to do it!
    Nellie

  10. Steph says:

    It’s beautiful Concetta! And what a wonderful look into your process. Thank you.

    Warm wishes,
    Stephanie

  11. Nancie Mills Pipgras says:

    Well done, Concetta. Charlotte would be proud!

  12. Mousy Brown says:

    That is so beautiful, no wonder you want one for yourself too! Lucky children at that school! 😀

  13. Laura says:

    Love this one too & since I hate spiders that says a lot. Would love to see the entire project when it is installed. Be safe when cutting & mixing, want to have you around for many years.

  14. Kirsteen says:

    Oooooh Concetta …. it is absolutely gorgeous 🙂 Stunning, magical …. enough to turn the biggest arachnaphobe 🙂 x

  15. Jude says:

    Wow, it’s so beautiful, absolutely gorgeous!

  16. Trina says:

    Don’t think I can say anything more about this Gorgeous Piece of Art than everyone else has said! Spectacular and definitely Magical!

  17. Annette Simpson says:

    Beautiful!! Thank you so much for the step-by-step! And LOVED the different angles so I could see it sparkle… that’s what’s best about mosaics, the way they capture the light 🙂

  18. jacqueline says:

    WOW, this is an amazing piece!! I am loving your process and thanks so much for sharing. Very inspiring to see the step-by-step and how it came along. It is truly beautiful! Have a lovely merry happy sunday and love to you!

  19. Well done Concetta! Love the result. Interesting combination of substrates, wedi for the art and plywood for the strength. I must remember that. By the way where do you get your wedi from in the uk?

  20. Lynn Bridge says:

    Everything you set out to do, you accomplished, and then some. Wonderful problem-solving. Thanks for revealing each step. I know the photos cannot do the art justice- would love to see it in person.

  21. Concetta says:

    A rather belated but enourmous thank you to you all for the kind words and encouragement. You are a lovely lot (with the finest of tastes!). x

  22. Angie Fraley says:

    Oh my Goodness! That is absolutely beautiful. Your attention to detail and patience is to be applauded. Great work!

  23. laura gaffke says:

    It is SO fun to see your process!

  24. Concetta says:

    Thank you Laura and Angie 😉

  25. Joy says:

    Hi I was just wondering if these products you use are under the same names here in the US? I’d like to try and make one of these! Your work is very inspiring!

    • Concetta says:

      Hi Joy
      thanks for your lovely words! Yes you can get Wedi Board in the US – certainly other US mosaic artists use it. Have you tried a google search?

      Good luck! Concetta

  26. Lin Waring says:

    What you are doing is totally out of this world !!! Your website popped up when I was looking for sparkly garden paving slabs. I am not an artist but love anything that glitters or sparkles as it is so lifting. I have some very sad looking garden paving slabs that I am loathe to replace & wonder if I could transform them……..
    Thing is I live in Hamworthy, Dorset BH15 4BL by the sea which is so beautiful & I get lots of ideas but am too far away from you.
    Please help !!! Thanks. Lin x

  27. Julie says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Makes me want to learn how to do this! I wish I lived closer so I could attend your classes. I love love love your work!

  28. Lou says:

    I’m terrified of spiders but this is so amazing I’d love it on my wall!

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