Monday, February 11, 2008

Make a mosaic shoe (or lots of them) testing process 2008 by Sandy Robertson Mosaic Teacher & Artist

Part 2: Sandy's shoe adventure:

Just finished thinsetting and meshing one shoe (white thinset, but white is not really my thing LOL). Looks great; I will put a very thin layer of smeared thinset over it again later on (perhaps) when it's dry and that's when I can change the colour for the base if I want to.

The most important thing to me was keeping as little as possible in the thinset rendering process on the shoe, so the shoe still looks fairly elegant, althought that won't matter later when all the "stuff" goes on, but would for some ideas.

Weird thing is the pair of shoes I am starting with were given to me by a girlfriend and I can see the shape her foot made in different parts of the shoe and it's weird! I remember Janis wearing these shoes and loving them......I can't wait to give them back to her (maybe LOL) - So the test here is that these shoes were fabric(ky) and flexible and I will report on their state of dryness later tonight.

Now I am going back to work to get my workshop ready for Thursday- I should be in the naughty corner but the break out was worth it.

more later, pics and video snippets coming soon.
Sandy Robertson

Part 1 Shoe beginning

I just had to stop sorting my studio (Himself will be after me!!) and trysomething new re shoe making - and want to share these tips with you:This post is on using thinset (rapid set) (any colour) and mesh for theshoe prep.

I have taken pics will get it all together soon.

tip 1: Stuff the toe if necessary with a grouting sponge or dense sponge!Cut it to fit or stuff it in! Works a dream! Keeps the shoe nice and firmand easy to remove. Wrap it in cling wrap if mess is an issue (not me!).LOL.

tip2: Sift the grout or thinset powder base for your thinset (I used whitetoday, to show results againt rigidwrap but will do lots of other colourbases as I will do lots in black) so that there are no lumps.

Use a sifteror old colander (pics coming of my quick method - Popette videoed it lastweek here but she couldn't get here today).

tip 3: I pre-sealed the first shoe as it's fabric, felty sort of finish - Idid shoe one with diluted Weldbond the other with my pre-sealer fromLaticrete. They are drying at the moment and I will report onsuccess/failture on the fabric/felt shoes - Only do this on shoes thatabsorb water and if you intend to use thinset to make the mesh shoe.

tip 4: I have an incredible fibreglass mesh here that I sell for $3 permetre that is very, very fine fibreglass mesh and it's 10cm wide. It's justperfect. Sits and really behaves. My mesh man and I are having fun.

tip 5: If using the standard fibreglass mesh, I cut it into really ittybitty bits and put on the shoe and smooth over with the thinset...just keepputting it on and smoothing and layering. Nancy, this makes the standardmesh flat and I mix the thinset into a nice mix, not sloppy.

(tip 4 above is better though if you have the fabulous tiny hole mesh (no - its not flyscreen!)).

tip 6: spread the thinset with a tiling sponge (a bit of it) and if you arewearing gloves, of course you have your hand washing system set up, so youdon't waste gloves. Lightly dampen the sponge and continually rinse andwring out the sponge, almost dry, if you need to. I love the way the spongeglides and smooths. You will get the feel of it.

tip 7: I have lovely smooth shoes in the making, strong and waterproof. tip8: If you are going to grout your shoe eg in black, make your thinset might like it non-grouted and the push in method with thinsetcomes in handy! LOL. If it's a decorative shoe and for indoors try drops ofpaint to colour and you can do the glass over coloured thinset base orpaper, strings, sequins etc or use grout colourants or oxides if foroutdoors (to stop fading).

tip 8: the whole process so far took just half hour. I will add bits as Iam preparing my studio....shouldn't be doing it but I am taking photos ofevery step.Best thing so far: spreading the stuff with a bit of sponge for smoothingover and stuffing with sponge. The tiny mesh is just perfect for me.

If anyone wants to buy some, please email me directly - but after I have it all done and a final report on the weight when finished. Remember the shoe getseven stronger if you glue the tesserae on with thinset.

If you have areas that are not sitting flat with your bandage or mesh onthe shoe, try snipping the pieces before putting them on the shoe - snipfrom corners in and it allows the mesh/bandage to move to the shape you wanton the shoe. I don't dip the mesh in the thinset, I put down thinset andthen gently press the mesh into the thinset and keep applying and smoothingwith the sponge/finger etc

.I like the thinset and mesh as I don't need to soak anything, it comes of myhands easily and I can make the thinset very thick or thin if I want to makesome interesting shapes on the shoe as I go, if you get my drift.

The shoes so far aren't very heavy and I will do a weigh in before andafter. Thank Goodness I am not wearing them.

Thought here; if you have amosaic mate you could put the shoe on, then get them give it the treatmentand then it should still fit your foot (ie use your foot as thesponge!).....Polly, Popette, where are you. Sam, Coralee, Jan....anyonewho wants to how about a day of shoe making here......for fun. LOL!

I really should not be doing this till next week but you guys have meall excited too. I will do about 10 shoes and report in all the good and bad with thedifferent methods. I am also going to try the epoxy grout from Laticretewith glow in the dark.

Latest tip: Make the shoe into a vase or candleholder but the shoebag isstill my favourite - mirror, containers, phone area, etc etc. LOL! If usingshoe for a candleholder note - you must prep the shoe so it doesn't catchfire - thinset or inset something to contain the water and/or candles.

I want to put floating candles in a few shoes and water for floral work -lovely table settings and I am thinking of making some bridal shoes for acake topping for my niece who married recently - fab anniversary gift. moresoon, phone going, time rushing rest for the addicted.

I will continue this story on my blog so not to take up too muchspace.....and put all the pictures and video clips on my website later on. cheers Sandy

Grace and I share a good mosaic chat and giggle

Just had a quick msn chat with darling Grace and a good laugh from it too! We were naming shoes and well, LOL LOL LOL.... I must start organising some chats in the Diva Towers as it really is good for the soul and we can have some fun and not feel we are upsetting anyone with too much rubbish....Grace really is so funny! Whoever gets Grace's shoe is in for a riot! My lips are sealed. I would not tell her about my shoe. I am still deciding on options (too many!). I am a mean Diva!

Last night Polly and I had a late night phone call and laughed so much we cried. Nothing like ending the day and starting a new one laughing out loud.

I was telling Polly about my adventures with Mr Google and more.....and other things. I started to write a story about it and well that's another story. I have a love/hate relationship with Mr Google and it reached a climax yesterday; SnugglePOt and Cuddlepie have nothing on Mrs ST and MG..can't tell you the titles on this post LOL, but can in the chat room.

Anyway, Grace and I were thinking about when we get really old and what might happen in the nursing homes - would you like to add to this list for fun?

-old ladies taking their Leps to bed-no wheeling around the garden, take me to the hardware store instead for an outing-running around in bin bags-comparing black finger nails and grouting stories of old-insisting our veges be cut in shapes-complaining about the texture of the gravy-trying to grout with potato
-throwing plates and not saying sorry-sitting in a row gluing things to the building-lots of pink everywhere-sneaking in chocolate-using the cutlery to try and break out
I think I will run away with Grace first; we certainly would have some good laughs and make some very outrageous mosaics....who wants to join us? Do any of you know where we should build the Pink House of Tiles - a secluded place with a transport when needed? hmmmmmm. suggestions please

- I had written a long post about grouting 3-D and my system froze up. grrrr...will do it again later as I have to get down and get dirty cleaing the studio floor (new coat of sealer) but for what it's worth, do small sections if very textural stuff; when placing the tesserae initially in the mosaic, think of what it will look like when the grout goes in and allow for grout grading and sloping and cut backs...makes All the Difference .....I have recorded all this, but time is at a premium at the moment, but it is coming. Make the grout much runnier when doing 3-D. Do use the grout as icing sugar when needed to help it get ready to clean up.........don't wait too long.......slip, slop, slap, stare, etch, remove, soften. Use a sponge to grade edges on the final smooth over for a lovely finish, especially on project edges.

There is nothing like a grout sponge, nothing in the world.......... Let your sponge and fingers do the walking and talking. Newspaper is fantastic and old t-shirt material. Use your instincts. Start cleaning off the grout when it works! Test an area. Some tesserae is chalky on the cut sides and sucks in the the grout, non-porous the opposite.

With mixed media lots of things are happening at once, it's glorious. You will sometimes need to cover the section, do the stare and the chant, then gleefully start removing the excess grout. It might take a bit of water, rubbing with newspaper but in the end, it all starts to come together. If you have Weldbond on some of the tile surface, the grout likes to stick to it. This can be a good thing if protecting your tiles form grout pitting. Allow it to sit there whilst the surrounding grout lines set up and then go at later with a scourer and clean water.

tip: when removing excess thinset off tiles, use cold water, a sponge and a scourer/mixing tool to remove. It comes off well up to 24hours later and ok up to 48 hours after that more elbow grease...but it's amazing how it goes come off. Better to be neater in applying, but you know me!

off and running

a bit about nothing much

Shaq is not amused by pink cup cakes and ribbons! Janis is shown trying to force feed the cat but I rescued the cake and ate it! .....but Shaq is so cute and would rather poke his head in my thinset bucket (which he did earlier!).

The buckets here show how I "sift" my ingredients for making thinset (cement based adhesive). It's good to have sifted base as there will be no lumps in your thinset piping bag! I buy old sieves from second hand stores or just take them out of the kitchen.

Rub the grout or thinset base throught the sieve...Easy! I sometimes use the sieves that pump, but too much work when mixing large lots. Lots more info on my dvd.



some really old mosaic photos I forgot about on flickr:

Indirect, direct, I hate brown paper.......

A little tip...if using opaque tesserae, indirect mosaic method, I used to find it helpful to "colour or mark" the back of the tile before cutting it up, to I know what it blue, use a blue marker, pencil, paint wash, whatever works for the tile on hand. Have a sample of that coding tile up the right way so you know what the flip side looks like to your "coded" on the back, tesserae.

Last year I experimented with a method that gives one a clear indirect paper method. I found it yestereday in the experimental department (ie back room workshop) when we were resorting the studio and my experimental juices went wild again....Christine your post made me think about it again.

..............but again it's that old man TIME getting in the way at the moment. I need a room full of helpers, testers and slaves! LOL. But you never know what's coming! Once this chair is done!!!!!!!!!!!!

I made another mosaic table recently and grouted it....the tesserae was not dead flat and thank goodness for that as this new table is very nice and feels great to touch and not one drink, cup, glass etc has faltered. I think indirect often takes the soul out of my mosaics . I only do indirect if a client really needs it and then I will do anything not to, as I hate it. Even with transparent tesserae I reckon it never looks the same when worked indirect....that feeling of not knowing and having to fix stuff as you go is really "not me". Give me Gaudi any day LOL! Ok, now yell at me!

In fact, I was thinking about things deeply last week and decided I don't think I want to do any more mosaics that need to be flat LOL! I don't mind a mix, or rather flat, but everyone has their thing. Nature isn't flat, even the horizon. Light and shade, ups and downs, ins and outs, nooks and crannies and shadows that change in the mosaic. Yes! Finally, I know where I am going for my personal art anyway. I take a lot of photos, make stock samples of flat mosaics for those ooohs and aaaahs with clients and students and then decide if I want to be bothered........and then run to the stash room and thank the Mosaic Gods for texture. Mix it up for me. I never see a vitreous tile as flat...I see it as opportunities to go wild. lol!

One good thing, is that I never, or very, very rarely have to pull up a tile. I don't mind doing this, but it's the not seeing or being able to see the real work, the real side in progress with the brown paper or white paper reverse method that I hate! The experiment I have waiting in the wings removes this for me but it's still not my cup of tea.

How many of you out there prefer to work indirect? I know there are many and once you have the technique down "flat" or "pat" it is useful for indirect mixed media but then again, that's a royal pain in the Doulton if working in china. LOL. I know I have said over the last two years about a method I have also been experimenting with indirect 3-D for mixed media and china patterning...I have that in the wings too......Polly and Popette will be overworked perhaps in winter. My wonderful mosaic minions, what would I do without my mosaic mates?

This all has to do with my age and a movie.....more about this later.
Directly speaking, mixing my methods, head full of mixed media....shoving the shard...
mosaic artist, teacher and in need of chocolate!

mosaic cup cakes!

All in a day's work at OzMosaics mosaic studio.
Shaq isn't amused with the pink bow from the cup cake package but was keen to try and eat them.
Recently, Janis Flanagan, one of my best mates spoilt me. Many years ago,we both found out that we were married on the same day, same time, same year!
So it's good fun as we don't forget our wedding anniversaries!
It's amazing to think we were exchanging vows with our loved ones and one would one day meet and all be such great friends.

Anyway, I had been telling Janis about our upcoming shoe SWAP on mosaic addicts group and she offered to make me some very pretty cup cakes for morning tea at our workshops this year at OzMosaics.
She dropped around with some and yummy!
Here they are being taste tested by me. We placed them on the Iced Vo Vo Mosaic platter and they looked very pretty. We think the ballerina on the mosaic gladly hung up her ballet slippers to partake of cupcakes, wouldn't you?

Look how beautiful Janis wraps things up! The rose on the cake is icing, the one on the pink ballet shoes in icing too, but others are all porcelain for my mosaic shoe SWAP...perhaps.....Janis gave me the porcelain roses too. Lucky, lucky me.

Janis is baking cups nows as I type! I can't wait to see the new Diva colours. I am going ot make cement ones and decorate with china flowers so students can have their cake and eat it too!

This water is not what you think!
Dave installed a pipe of our Queenslander deck and when it rains it fills the pool up! Good one Dave! My hero.

Here is mosaicking mum and Popette (aka Maureen) helping me start mixing some thinset. I don't bake but I can make great thinset cup cakes! I sift my thinset very carefully.
Janis and I might have a bake-off on the dvd I a making on mosaic shoes!
Very funny. I would rather like her icing spoon than my thinset spoon!
Cement is not as tasty as pink diva icing.

Janis adds milk, I add the magical #3000 thinset rapid mix to my sifted grout! See my system to remove any lumps from the mix...

Sam, my favourite foot lady, brought around some very yummy new Tim Tam's called Crush...goodness with the cup cakes and the tim Tams I am getting fat.
She showed us a wonderful book on shoe decorating...the creative juices overflowed. Luckily we treated ourselves to lots of tea, coffee and laughter.
I think I do need to lick the thinset spoon to keep the lips sealed from calories, but what fun would that be? I have a name for my diva morning teas:
ABBsolutely FLABulous!(c) !!!
Sam darling, thanks for a lovely day and I am thinking of you and hoping your spirits pick up soon, lots of pink light and pink icing is coming your way.
Sandy Robertson
Mosaic Addict Diva
learn to mosaic and eat cake too.

mOzaic Bug at Studio OzMosaics

mOzaic Bug at Studio OzMosaics
Beware - mosaic art is addictive! Workshops Australia