Friday, August 5, 2011

10,000-Piece Puzzles

As a little girl, I would watch family members bend over a card table in my grandparents’ living room to mull over the placement of tiny puzzle pieces, too many to count. Occasionally, someone would exclaim “Found it!” I was mesmerized as the bits slowly moved into place and a picture formed. To this day, I love those intricate and very ephemeral puzzles, but I rarely indulge myself because I’ve got something better to do…creating mosaic plant containers and flower pots.
         To do a mosaic is like putting together the pieces of a 10,000-piece puzzle, and consumes just as much time. However, the obvious advantage is that you own a useful, finished product, and with each pot I learn something new. At first, I used rather large pieces, which helped to cover the pot more quickly.
Getting adventuresome, I went to bigger pots. 
I did a black and white series that sits in the garden. The white color is a slate floor tile. Rather difficult to work with because it is difficult to cut, but very pretty with a matte finish.
I would have liked to have lion sculptures in front of the gate. 
Not far from the Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
Museum of the Ancient Orient, Istanbul, Turkey
Florence, Italy

but, I settled on a couple of large pots.
The pieces (or tesserae) remain rather big.
Then I thought about the possible designs that smaller pieces would enable me to do. So I had to figure out a way to get the tiles cut more evenly, smaller, and flatter on the back for a smoother surface...I would be embarrassed to admit all the different methods I tried. I finally discovered tile "nippers" and realized that an electric sander took care of the raised grid on the reverse side of tiles very well.  


To add a bit of drama, Before & After photos.  The Before, a clay pot the size and shape of a bucket:
And the After:

The green variegated tiles were leftover from our original kitchen and the white tiles were leftover from my bathroom renovation. It contains a grapevine that will eventually curl around a wrought iron railing, and a couple of succulents to have something green when the grapevine loses its leaves.


Better than a 10,000-piece puzzle!

20 comments:

Connie Rose said...

How do you cut all those tiles? I'd be inclined to use a hammer over something like a folded towel! Beautiful work you do.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Thanks for your comment, Connie. I discovered the tile "nipper" which is a hand tool. I still use a hammer for the fill-in tiles.

Grammasheri said...

Your mosaic pieces are so beautiful! And the PEN! How powerful! Thank you for stopping by my blog. I am glad. I helped my find yours.

shirley said...

I love the green colours on the pots, but the black and white are just stunning. This must be hard work I hope you are young and strong.

Anneliese said...

Your lovely pots and all those beautiful plants in them!!!!
Beautiful to see!

Mitzi said...

You pots are absolutely gorgeous! If plants could only know how lucky they are to live in such gorgeous pots. ha!

Christie Moore said...

Gorgeous work. Do you make your own tiles?I also do mosaics. I hand make ,paint then smash(trying not use nippers very much) all my tiles my tiles. Love your work!!!!!!
www.freestylemosaics.com
Christie Moore

Annefred said...

I absolutely adore your mosaic pots!

MulticoloredPieces said...

Thank you, one and all, for your encouraging comments. To answer Christie's question: For everything I make, I've got to be able to find it locally. So, up until now I've used wall tiles and some floor tiles from construction sites. There's quite a variety of wall tiles (although something like red is a bit difficult to find) to be bought in local stores so I think I'm set as far as primary materials goes. Plus there's a marble factory that produces a lot of refuse a couple blocks away if I should ever want to go that route.

isathreadsoflife said...

Congratulations for your mosaic pots! They look just wonderful and so exotic with the plants you chose to put in. I admire your artistic sense and your various skills. "Rien ne se perd, tout se transforme" ;)

norma said...

Your mosaic pots are stunning! So much better that any lion sculpture at your entry way. And your pen quilt took my breath away, the workmanship and the idea behind it. All those French knots.....I can only imagine...

Karen said...

Gorgeous work! I want them all they are so incredible...what lovely work!

rose prairie quilts & farm said...

Amazing works of art. I would love to have one of your pots, simply elegant. Also thank you for your comment on my blog, otherwise without it, I would of never seen your work.

Tiggy Rawling said...

Hi there - one visit deserves another. Great blog, and as for the pots, I want one (or two). Fabulous. I'll call in again.

Pat said...

Nadia, Your mosaic pieces are fantastic - the pots look perfect in the garden.

Thank you for visiting my blog and your sweet comment. Have a great week.

Lynne said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Some more dyes arrived yesterday so I can start experimenting again with a different set of primary colours. Your pots are wonderful and I also like your postcard with the french knot pen. I'm going back to read more.....

art spirit said...

Love all of your mosaic pots. Perfect, because I am just about to start working on some for my garden, too! Really enjoyed my visit to your blog...art quilts, mosaics, and Tunisian history! wonder how you ended up there?

susan christensen said...

These vessels are lovely, Nadia! I am a jigsaw addict so never allow myself to have one in the house - guess that is why i love collage so much! -sus

craftattack said...

Loved looking at and reading about your mosaic work, looks great! Greetings from chilly Germany to hopefully sunnier Tunisia! Valerie

Eva said...

These lions are wonderful, and I love these unusual mosaic pots. -- Thank you for your comment on my blog!