A close look at an outdoor mosaic in the making…

I have been a busy bee. This is one of 5 new pieces I am currently making for a commission to go into a school playground…

Sketching onto external plywood ready for cutting. (Big thanks to Mike for doing these on a laser cutter). The cut piece is varnished 3 times, including the edges.

Cutting out the shape in wedi-board (totally weatherproof) – more time consuming than it first appears as the fiber glass mesh is tough, hard to cut and on both sides. Not helped by the fact that the cement blunts the blades within minutes!

As you can see, the wedi is fragile when its not in a straightforward panel shape (hence the plywood to back it onto).

Sticking the wedi to the plywood with cement adhesive then putting a screed of cement over the whole surface to create a cement sculpture, ready to mosaic on.

Sketching the butterfly pattern – the top part was remarkably taxing and took umpteen goes and three heads to get it right (thank you Kate and Rachel!) What you see there is not the final version…

Marking out the stained glass for the panels in the butterfly wings.

Cutting the glass with a taurus ring saw (big thanks to Sally for the loan of it) and at the end of a days cutting, I was covered head to toe in irridescent flecks of glass – but oh my, what a dream tool.

Here we go with the red stained glass – so beautiful, it seems a shame to cut it!

I used vaseline over the pen marks to stop it washing off while I was cutting (it generates a lot of water spray).

Here we go…

Some of the photos are mirror images (Photo Booth does that!)

Finally get to sticking tiles – end of sticking day one…

End of sticking day two.

End of sticking day three (4 hours 15 minutes solid work between the last pic and this one. Yup, it takes that long! Every piece is cut to shape).

More tomorrow, as hubby is taking the kiddies out so I can work. Have two lovely big mosaic projects on so life is full and busy….

Come back next week and hopefully you can see the finished butterfly and the start of the next piece (fingers crossed!).

Have a lovely weekend.  x


17 Responses to “A close look at an outdoor mosaic in the making…”

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  1. Emma Reeve says:

    This is great watching & learning! :0) Can’t wait to see the finished product! x

  2. Mousy Brown says:

    You are so clever! That is beautiful…that glass is stunning! 😀

  3. Luna says:

    Hello Concetta
    You make it look so easy, yet I cannot imagine creating something so beautiful. 🙂
    By the way, I love what you’ve done with the place 😉 The blog looks great!

    • Concetta says:

      thanks so much Luna (what a lovely name by the way!). The new web site was a labour of love (a bit like the mosaics!)

  4. Gorgeous and so interesting to see the process.

  5. Concetta says:

    Thanks Dana. Finished mosaic now up on the blog too!

  6. Ana says:

    How beautiful you could reproduce the butterfly<3

  7. Louella says:

    Your stained glass is gorgeous! Mouth watering!!! Love to see the finished mosaic!

  8. Rosi Triano says:

    Hi, I’m an Art Teacher in Michigan, USA. I love the soft glass and did just order some from Opus.

    I have a question about the wedi board . Why do you need it if you have exterior grade plywood?

    Love your thoughts. The teachers at my school are reading Nurture Shock by Po Bronson. He quotes Carol Dweck quite a bit, too! Her thoughts seem to make a lot of sense!

    • Concetta says:

      Hello Rosi
      thanks for the book recommendation – will look it up!

      Wedi v external ply – its because wood will eventually absorb water , especially if on a horizontal surface. You can use it but be prepared that it will not last forever, tiles will eventually start popping off after some years – whereas with Wedi it will last forever (saving major disaster!).

      Have fun with it!

  9. Kappy says:

    I love your butterfly! How will you finish the edges?

  10. Lucy says:

    I love your mosaics and thanks for such detailed explanation!
    I have a large 36″ x 63″ piece I’m wanting to make but of course my Wedi is only 3 x 5. do you think after I cut my plywood shape, I can apply the Wedi in 2 pieces and then thinset over the entire piece before mosaic?
    When you attached the wedi to the plywood and the screed on top, are you using thinset for that?
    Thank you so much for any input you might could give!

    • Concetta says:

      Hi Lucy

      thanks for your kind comments. Yes you can build it up in pieces then screed with thinset. To stick the wood and wedi, what I have found works best is “Hard as Nails / No Nails ” glue (outdoor version) but you could use thinset too. Make sure wood is primed though. And put lots of weight on it while it dries, especially the outer edges. Good luck! Concetta

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