Wednesday, November 30, 2011

architectural delights

How gorgeous is this??!!  I wondered who is so lucky that they get to live in a house with this kind of window...  does it look as beautiful from the inside?  How does the view look thru the violet and purple round panes?  What does the light look like as it comes from the outside in to the room?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

frustrating photography

This beautiful violet glass garden ornament is hanging in the sculpture garden of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.  Unfortunately I did not note the artist, but it was glowing with the morning sun, and I couldn't resist attempting to photograph it.  Glass is extremely difficult to photograph, and is one of the things that is frustrating in my own work.  I have hired professionals on specific occasions, but that is usually a costly experience.  I have considered learning more about photography myself, but there are so many hours in a day...  Usually I take multiple photos and cross my fingers.  Sometimes I'm lucky, but often not.
   Most of the mosaic photos from Ravenna and Venice are blurry and dark, so hard to capture their splendor and delicate detail without special lighting, tripod, and super telephoto lens, and years of photographic expertise (none of which I have).   This photo is from the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (5th century).  She was daughter of Theodosio the Great, captured by an enemy and married, then later given back to her brother and married off again to a General.  When he died, she became protector of her son, Valentinian the 3rd, Western Emperor, and was responsible for the next 25 years of peace in the empire.  The intricate and highly skilled mosaic work in her tomb is breathtaking.  There are pictorial mosaics with Christian iconography, as well as geometric patterning, and floral festoons, all created with glass and marble tesserae (pieces) the size of your pinky fingernail or smaller.  Amazing.  Photographs just can't do it justice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bubbles in Venice

I got back to Durham last night at 2am after 21 hours of travel... then up early to get to son's honor roll ceremony at school, so no time or energy or open eyelids to cull thru photos.  So, I'm posting my one video that I took in Venice.  It was a delightful street surprise while walking home from several hours at the Biennale Art 2011 exhibit. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It has been eerily and beautifully foggy in Venice these past two days.  No aqua alta, so, dry on the feet, but very damp in the air and cold.  I have not taken the vaporetto (too cold), so my feet are aching from hours of explorations on foot.  The Biennale is going on now, a very interesting and large multi-location art exhibit, all at the extreme opposite end of the city from my domus.  Also made a stop at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum this morning, for a lovely day of international modern art.  A quick tour of the Orsoni smalti foundry in the morning before a boat trip across the lagoon to the airport and home...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

bagno d' oro

Leave it to the Italians, specifically the Venetians to have a bathroom with 24K gold glass mosaic tile....
leave it to an American to take and post a photo from her bathroom while untold ancient and priceless art awaits....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

sneak peek

Any guesses what I'm making in my 3D mosaic course here in Ravenna, Italy? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

3rd graders rock

I think I've mentioned before about how fun it is to work with kids on mosaics.  They are attentive and eager, excited to do something new with "grown up" materials.  I usually use stained glass or glass tile that I've precut and tumbled in my rock tumbler to smooth the edges a bit.  I give them the instructions that this is a "grown up" art material and should be treated with respect.  Don't put it near your face, don't poke your friend (or enemy), the glass should be transported from one area to another in a container, not your hand, it doesn't go into your pocket, don't toss it... etc, etc. etc.  The 'MOM' tone ('Mean Old Mom') works wonders during this phase of instruction.  This school project was completed by 3rd graders, probably most around 8 years old.  Their school has a special music group called "mustang melodies" and this design was perfect for the residency.  We ended up with 4 sections of music, each one about 40" long x 8" wide.  I cemented them to the block walls, high out of reach, but not out of view.  I mentioned to one class that their project would stay on the walls and they could come back one day and still see their work.  One cutie said that hopefully when she was 'grown up in high school' she would come back to visit and see her mosaic, and remember our fun day together.  I certainly hope so!!