Versatile

karenbakerartist karenbakermosaicartist mirror tess-array.com versatile VGT VGT = versatile. VGT515

Finally glued "something to something" the other day. I used some of the Vibrant Glass Tile to mosaic a mirror.

I like how it turned out. There are lots of different ways you can use the Vibrant Glass tiles.  I played around with them to get some different ideas. Here's some of them:

I tried to work out how I would lay the tile. Some tiles

*were laid whole,

*some brick style that had been cut in half, then each half cut into 3 or 4, so about  8 pieces from each 15x15x4mm tile.

*I played around with doing wiggly lines and then infilling,

*laying 1/4 squares, some laying down some standing up for a different texture,

*half tiles cut rectangle laid brick style,

*then some whole tiles with tiles standing up in between them.

*Last idea at the 3 o'clock position in the photo is the one I ended up using. I had cut the tiles into half -which is a rectangle, then each rectangle into 3 smaller rectangles. I did the cutting reasonably fast, and tried to make them all relatively uniform, they weren't, but that is the good thing with this style of laying them- it doesn't matter.

"Don't be limited by your materials, play with your Tess-Array" Karen Baker.

While cutting I decided to add a couple of other tiles into the mix, a gold metallic tile and a green metallic tile for some interest. These are also known as foil tiles, metallic look, painted tiles, and they are on the website under Tile-Array, Painted tiles. There are some great colours, and the price is unbeatable. Let me know if you find these tiles at a better price ANYWHERE.

The mirror unit I used is a pretty basic lightweight wood, with a circle of mirror already glued on. I placed the whole mirror unit onto a piece of fibre-glass mesh and drew around it. I cut out the circle, then traced around the mirror and cut that portion of the mesh out. I was left with a ring of mesh, which I placed on the wood where I was about to mosaic.

The Vibrant Glass Tile I was using- VGT515 is red on one side and is irridesent on the other side. I used some flexible tile adhesive suitable for indoors and added some red pigment a friend Kath Whiteside gave me many moons ago, because she knew I love RED. It is quite a vivid red-orange, and suited this mirror perfectly.  I then put a blob of the adhesive and spread it flat with a palette knife to hold the mesh in place. I did 4 of these blobs around the mirror base.

 In this photo you can see the mesh ring, and the dob of adhesive in the foreground I have holding the mesh down. A single tile is holding the mesh down on the other 3 quarters. I placed the gold and green cut up tile, oh and an extra few red darker tiles in the middle on the mirror, to evenly distribute them. As I work around in segments of the mirror if I use all the tiles above the segment,  mixed in with the main colour, I should get a reasonable finish. I start by spreading the adhesive near the blob, all around, say in a good 2inches wide area. I get it to a thickness where I know the tile will embed nicely to hold it, as I will not be grouting this piece, and not too deep that it will squish up too high on the tiles. I lay the tiles vertical against the mirror edge, then a row of horizontal tile, another vertical, a horizontal and lastly a vertical row around the outside of the mirror.

Once I have glued the segment, I turn the mirror, add some more adhesive and charge on. I think it took about 2.25 hours to do all the gluing for this project. It probably took atleast as long to cut the tiles.  I did have to mix a small amount more of adhesive to complete the project, so my calculations were a little off. It was pretty easy to match the colour. If I was making this for a commission, I would have over mixed the adhesive to make sure I had plenty, and didn't run out of it. Sometimes the colour difference can be observed on a finished piece, and would not work that way for a client. For me, this was really just a bit of therapy, so I was not too picky. I can't see any difference even under scrutiny.

I just needed to glue something to something and not think too hard about it.

Here in this photo you can see I am half way though the project.

Almost done now! Yay You can see there are a couple of green and gold pieces left in the middle. Sometimes I got in the zone and was just laying the tile not thinking about including the other colours. I had to pull up a couple of the red and sneak in some green and gold to try to even the project out. Making mosaics can be so meditative that time and place seem to evaporate. I think I love that about mosaics.

When I was finished tiling I had to trim off a little of the mesh that was sticking out around the edge of the mirror unit. Always be careful when handling fibre-glass mesh, it looks innocent, but those bits of fibre-glass are like cactus needles in your skin when they get in there. I held this over a large gar-bag and trimmed straight into it. When I cut mesh up I always wear either rubber gloves if I don't need to have too much dexterity with what I am doing, or two layers of the nitrile gloves if I am shaping and need to feel what I am doing. It is a material you should respect.

I'm pretty happy with the result of using the Vibrant Glass Tiles in this manner. I think they are a reasonable substitute for the look of smalti. In fact the tiles are a smalto, made in a similar manner... just put into moulds, where as smalti is poured onto a bench and left flat like a pizza.

I love the variety of colours there are in this tile range, and whether using them whole in a large mural, or in birdbaths and outdoor sculptures, or on wall hangings, you can't be disappointed by their price, their colours, or their individuality. They are not a perfect tile, and I think that is part of their charm. They do have two flat sides which makes cutting easiest, and with good wheeled nippers they cut easily.

Here is the finished Mirror.

and a close-up.

What do you think?

Please email me at karen@tess-array.com if you have any questions about the Vibrant Glass Tile range, or any of my products, or anything mosaic.

Happy creating. Karen Baker.

 

 

 

 

 


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