Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Backsplash: Finished!

My apologies for the huge wait on this post. I have been working on too many projects all at once to even think straight most of the time. Here are a few pictures of the installation and completed work.
Here's a pic of me pushing some of the first sections in:

Here's the backsplash partly installed:

Putting in one of the last sections:

Sometimes you have to get a little uncomfortable for your art:

But the finished project is worth it!

In all seriousness, though this backsplash isn't created in my usual style, I really had a good time making and installing it. Of course, the fact that I could expect a succession of seafood feasts and steak dinners when all was done was certainly a boon. Naturally, my father now thinks we need to remove the bottom half tiles and finish the project with more field tile and a border. I figure, if he keeps the filet mignon and crab legs coming, he can have whatever he wants....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Backsplash: Episode 3

It's been awhile since I have had any time to blog. Or think straight for that matter! Here is the section that will go immediately to the right hand side of the stove. There's another 3 feet or so before I hit the wall and turn. I've done about 8 linear feet so far, and I think that makes it just 5 or 6 feet to go. But I've only got a week and a half, so time to get cracking.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Backsplash: Episode 2

On weekends, I work at a local diner, so I haven't had as much time to work on the backsplash. I've managed another couple of feet, the skinny section about the stove and under the microwave. Realigning the mesh and template after removing a couple of sections was a little more difficult than I anticipated but I think I managed alright. You can see a section cut off here.

On another note, I've also acquired another huge project. An artist friend of mine was commissioned to do a large mosaic on a column in a local junior high school. Although a mosaic enthusiast, she has very little experience working in mosaic. She asked me to come in at the start of the project to get her going on the right path. While there, she asked the principal of the school if there was money for her to keep me on for the project's duration, and received a positive response. So in addition to working on this backsplash, I'm also working on this new project about 18 hours a week, plus my waitressing job. So if I blog belatedly, or sporatically, please forgive me!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Backsplash: Episode 1

I received many comments after my last post from people wanting me to blog about the backsplash project, since I've temporarily suspended M.A.D to get this done.

This is the backsplash that got started nearly a year ago in my brain, for my dad. Some of you know my dad as this:

For those of you that have met him, he's a pretty conservative guy, and REALLY likes Roman mosaics. So a Romanesque mosaic it is for his backsplash. The dimensions are approximately 1' by 14'.

First came the great debate of what method to use. I chose thinset to mesh double direct, based on the advice of my good friend Lynne Chinn. I'm not an experienced installer, and have been worried about the adhesive coming up to the top of the tile during installation, and not being able to get the grout in, for one. So I wanted to glue to the mesh in a way that would prevent this from happening. I also don't like that mesh has some "wiggle" to it while installing, so I thought that thinset pancakes would be more rigid. As well, marble is really hard to use indirect, since it is so thick. It is often wider at the top than bottom, or vice versa. This means that the reverse side usually ends up looking really different than the side you were looking at while working. As this is my first backsplash, I really want to know what is going on as I work on it. Plus I'm using the fantastic stone tiles from Mosaic Rocks, and they are pretty much the same thickness, so I'm not worried about the flat surface.
So here's my gathered materials:

And here it is all ready to go. Drawing first (proving that drawing is not my best skill), then plastic, then mesh. I've taped to a laminated board. Easy to remove tape from, portable if I want to work outside, or if I want to rotate the whole thing for easier working.

I would have blogged this all yesterday, except my Internet was down, so the first WIP picture is the end of Day 2:

As you can see, the progess is pretty fast, as there is a lot of Opus Tesselatum, which I have now learned to lay two tiles at a time. About 3 linear feet have been laid at this point. You can see the mesh trailing off the right side of the board. I've already cut this part into sections, but haven't removed them. Then I'll have to slide everything over, retape, and keep going.

And here's a close up of one of the olive branches:

Won't get quite as much done tomorrow, as I probably only have about 2 hours to work on it.