I recently completed the mosaic, And Through the Woods. Personally, it’s a nod to my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains, but generally, it’s a nod to anyone’s walk in the woods. As a transplant to the coast, I have spent decades feeling my blood pressure lower as I dig my toes into the sugar white sands and gaze out at the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico on a coast that is now my home. But I get just as much “ahhh…” when I crest a hill whose peak gives me that first glance at the mountains of my youth, and ultimately leads to a steady calm as I settle into my destination among them.
I love a hike in the woods, whether it’s with limey new growth emerging in the spring, when I’m cooled by the shade of towering evergreens in the summer, or while hearing my boots rustling through the fallen leaves of hardwoods. I admit I do give a hard pass to those bitterly cold, blustery, winter days on a trail, unless it's in the solitude after a snowfall.
To me, a walk in the woods is more than just trees and leaves. There are clear cycles of life, decay, geology, and sometimes, even history if you look hard enough. And Through the Woods incorporates a few of these elements and discoveries, beginning with its chosen color palette. The varying greens obviously relate to plant life, and the browns to the forest floor- a catch all for decaying leaves, bark, and other treasures.
This piece is highly textured with the tesserae adhered into thinset, which means the piece doesn’t need grout. My preference is usually to use a different adhesive, and then grout. I am extremely messy with thinset, and it always requires more cleanup than I had planned. I used various glasses for most of the green section, including hand cut stained glass, modified pre-cut tiles, found glass, smalti, and mirrored glass, but I also incorporated some stone, and broken ceramic. There is quite a bit of “sparkle” in the green sections, merely because I like a little bling in a mosaic. The swath of brown also includes glass, but collectively it reads as more of a matte finish with sticks, acorns, brick, Native American pottery chards, ceramic, seed pods, bark, rusted metal, and wood.
Below are a few close-ups and a short timelapse video of the piece as it came together. Each edit represents roughly one hour’s worth of work. You may not notice a lot of visual change between some of these hours/edits, as they might involve scraping, re-working, or re-tinting thinset, (and possibly cursing).
This piece measures approximately 21" x30" and is currently available for purchase.
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You’ve landed upon an occasional update about my latest project, an occasional rant about my life, or an occasional sarcastic snippet about whatever. It’ll be mostly positive vibes. I promise.