brains! muscle memory

Finally back to the mosaics studio.  I spent many hours looking at my mosaics books, seeing what would happen, if there would be a spark of something creative.  Nuthin’.   Finally decided to partake of the custom of copying a mosaic.  Copying someone’s work seems like this:  copy = bad = go to jail.  Joyfully (and thankfully!) copying mosaics is an honored teaching method.

Then it took painfully tiring brain-pulsing hours over many days to decide on the materials and to figure out which online supplier I wanted to use.  Yikes.  Forced my eyes to focus and my brain to understand; it didn’t just happen automatically.  That was tough, but colorful!  >:-D  And now I have a boatload of tesserae for many projects.

Won’t bore with the play-by-play, but I did actually start gluing tesserae into a design.  My first project here back from the dead-ish I chose from the Emma Biggs and Tessa Hunkin book called Mosaic Workshop, which is also the name of their studio in London.   I have been drawn to their work since I got interested in outdoor mosaics.

The challenge with mosaics appeared:  I sat at my accustomed place.  Picked up one and then another tool that I knew to use for the particular material I was using.  I had absolutely no memory of which of the tools to use when or where.  None.  I actually rotated each tool in my hand to peer more closely, seeking a brain-ping.  I looked at them as if I’d only hefted them at a store before a purchase.  My hands didn’t know what to do besides grip!

Imagine picking up a pencil, an ordinary wooden pencil.  You have paper in front of you–you know the pencil is for writing.  There comes the beginning of movement, then stopping because you don’t know what kinds of marks the pencil makes.  You don’t know why you should use the pencil for writing.

I held the tools, but hit a wall–nothing came next for my head or hands. I did not have the visual memory or kinesthetic memory I had before things went south in February.   Just stopped for a few moments and stared, appalled.

Breathe.  Jump in again.  I could hold the tools.  I knew they were correct for the material.  I couldn’t see them fully–how to describe?   In the before-time, the seeing was the complex experience of  the visual and kinesthetic memories of using the tools and no hesitation, just doing .  Had to experiment until things became familiar, nipping and cutting and creating a lot of waste.

After about a half-hour of nipping tile, with shards flying the way they do, I noticed those sharp shards landing on my bare legs (I was wearing shorts) and mused at how easy it is for shards to slice and dice the unwary.  Oh!   I had not put on my heavy duck-cloth workshop apron, had not even thought of it.  (I put it on.)  And, I was wearing shorts instead of long pants.

Really am re-wiring.  JeezusFreezeUsSaveUsFromTheFlood.

Maybe I’ll be like Jill Bolte Taylor following her brain episode and will soon find out I can now sing!  >:-D

A few pics…


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nadbugs
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 06:48:32

    I love your apple!! It’s beautiful! It reminds me of a brain, oddly enough. Layers within layers, protecting the core. In soothing blues. It’s just beautiful. And all the more amazing, in light of what it took you to figure it out. You go!!


  2. IsobelandCat
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 11:28:09

    Love the studio!
    I like their designs too. They are very distinctive. I used to go to their old studio where there jars of vitreous tiles like old fashioned sweets. I have yet to go to the new one, but as I told you, I am having a mosaic break. Check out Vanessa Benson. She has been my teacher.


    • lahgitana
      Jul 02, 2012 @ 12:54:07

      I wondered if you knew them! You got to go to their studio! Jealous I am!

      And yes–I badly wanted my studio to have that feel–colorful bins of creativity waiting to contribute! It IS very like a candy shop–I get a charge out of just LOOKING at my collection!

      I will go look for your teacher, too, Isobel. I’ll keep copying other artists until I’m done having to do so….

      Let me know when you go back to mosaics–even in the thinking stages. I”d be interested to hear how your mojo works! >:-D What makes you want to create a particular mosaic, etc.?


  3. jacquiefioramonti
    Jul 02, 2012 @ 11:32:56

    A very beautiful mosaic!


    • lahgitana
      Jul 02, 2012 @ 12:55:20

      Thank you! Welcome to our funny little corner of the world. I hope folks go clicking on your links to see your love of your South African home.


  4. heretherebespiders
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 13:17:28

    Hi! Love the apple. I was thinking of you at 5:45 am today, when Spot woke me up purring and poking at me for cuddles. I wondered if you had ever looked into Celtic knotwork as a pattern idea for mosaics, and if the Celts ever used that medium, and if it would be harder or easier in mosaic form. I think knots are dammed hard to come up with out of your head! But there are tons of examples from ancient works to play with. So that’s my wondering if your brain would like the continuous line or not :)


    • lahgitana
      Jul 03, 2012 @ 14:26:18

      Thank you!

      Nice kitty, whatever you want, kitty!

      Yes, about the knots! I’m toying with an idea right now–a Solomon’s knot for a wedding present. I am still within the one-year mark of getting a gift to them! Here’s the knot:

      If you have sources, SHARE, please please please!

      Always so happy to hear from you, SpiderE!


      • heretherebespiders
        Jul 03, 2012 @ 14:44:37

        Wow, I’ve done a bit of looking and to be honest, not many are doing Celtic forms in mosaic! What I’ve seen is pretty ugly, to be honest, or so different from your style (rigid straight lines, big straight-edged pieces) that it just wouldn’t work. I found this one of classic knot designs,
        I see a definite market here!!! And, in my search, I just found something a bit upsetting: – a childhood friend of my husband’s gave us a hand-drawn picture for our wedding…and it is exactly this drawing. So sad to learn he stole it! Looks just like us, too. Oh well. :)


        • lahgitana
          Jul 03, 2012 @ 18:07:14

          Sorry I didn’t see this earlier–I found you in the spam folder! (WP was sure that even tho’ you were approved, you had become a danger to me because you had two links in your comment. Sigh….)

          Thank you so much for the link, kiddo! I will go poke around. And thanks for the tip about the marketing. I’ve wondered about knots, too, esp Celtic knots in mosaic. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!

          And I’m sorry for your discovery. Takes away a bit from that gift, huh?! You’ll prolly never be able to look at it the same way.


        • lahgitana
          Jul 03, 2012 @ 18:12:16

          Oooo, I shall like this site! Thanks, SpiderE! It can be hard to find just line drawings, which are important in order to see the structure well. Oh boy!

          Did you see the link to “Top Cocktail Recipes”? That’s why you were really on the stained glass site, yes, for cocktail recipes! hhahahahaha!

          That wedding picture was really something! Quite a creative use of the knots. Zounds. Maybe there is a good explanation for the copied drawing? Is it a historical piece or theme? (Being hopeful here!)


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