Friday, June 29, 2018

Celtic Spiral

45mm diameter - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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You think I would have made this in Ireland, wouldn't you? But in fact, this was made while in Cairo for an American woman of Irish descendant. It's not often I get a request that challenges me like this one did. Nor do I think I have ever wasted so much material! The recipient, however, was thrilled. And admittedly, I'm pretty excited by how it turned out as well. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018


28mm by 7mm - Mosaic gold, smalti in sterling silver
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So remember when I was waxing eloquent about the jacaranda trees awhile ago? Well, shortly after they went out of bloom, they were replaced by something even more amazing: acacia trees. Bright red blooms, making the trees like beacons. I didn't even mind the heat so much, because the trees I saw on my walk were just so incredible. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


16mm by 16mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea." -Isak Dinesen

This I believe. Sweat cleans the mind, tears clean the heart, and the sea cleans the soul. I use all of these cures regularly.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Rise Up

65mm by 20mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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By the time we are teens, and certainly by adulthood, we figure out that there are ups and downs to life. If we are clever, we suck the marrow out of the good times, and treat ourselves gently during the down, reminding ourselves that every state is temporary. And always, always we must rise up. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Wine Dark Sea

12mm by 12mm - Mosaic gold, smalti in sterling silver
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Once upon a time, I studied Homer, pretty much the Bible of Classics literature, both in English translation and in ancient Greek. One of my favourite romantic poetic expressions he used was "wine dark sea". The literal expression, however, is wine faced sea. Modern scholars have varying ideas of what this could in fact mean, as seas, as you know, are not red. I don't know that lovely, evocative expression needs to be anything more than just that, an evocative expression. And on a dark night, moonless, the vast expanse of the Aegean sea does seem as if it could be filled with wine. Or maybe that's just the wine talking. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Still Spectacular

16mm by 12mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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No matter how many times I come to Santorini, it is still a thrill to see the sunset here. Sitting up high, overlooking the caldera, glass of wine in hand, watching the colours change and deepen. It never gets old. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Evil Eye

20mm diameter - Mosaic gold, filato in sterling silver
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I've spent a lot of time lately in cultures that have a belief in a malevolent glare casting a curse. Talismans are required to ward off the evil eye, and they are often worn on the body as jewelry, or hung in a home. The talismans are usually called evil eyes too, though Wikipedia tells me they are nazars. The first use of them goes back to the Phoenicians, and they've spread throughout the Middle East, West Asia, and the Mediterranean. I figured it was past time for me to make an evil eye.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


12mm by 12mm - Mosaic gold, smalti in sterling silver
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It doesn't happen everyday, but certainly every week when I'm posting regularly, I receive emails from people who follow Mosaic a Day. Sometimes the email simply says how much the person liked the piece that day, or how much they liked the words I'd written. Occasionally I get a longer email discussing what I'd said, or asking for travel advice.

I love to get these emails. There is NOTHING better than waking up to know that what you do⏤and who you are⏤is appreciated. Thank you. They truly keep me going when the journey is difficult. So if you ever feel uncomfortable dropping me a line because you aren't interested in buying, but still want to connect, please do! Those emails have a currency all their own. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pieces in Pieces

30mm by 30mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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I've always felt that mosaic is a metaphor for life. Sometimes you have to rearrange pieces to fit. Sometimes the true problem piece is not the one you are trying to fit at the time, but the problematic piece is a few pieces back, and if you fix that one, everything falls into place. Sometimes you have to rip everything up and start all over. Sometimes as if by magic, the perfect piece appears. Sometimes you search forever for the right piece. Sometimes the beauty is in the perfections, sometimes it is in the imperfections. 

And this mosaic, made of pieces making up the pieces, is a great reminder of that metaphor. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Purple Predicament

28mm by 7mm - Mosaic gold, smalti in sterling silver
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When it comes to mosaic, purple is hard. Glass doesn't really come in a true purple. It's either a little bit too blue, or a little muddy brown. So when I was asked to create something in purple, I struggled a bit with how to go about it. Luckily, I do have one colour of mosaic gold that is pretty darn purple, so paired it with two close-ish tiles to get as purple a blend as I could muster. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

First Breath

14mm by 10mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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I have a ritual every time I come to Santorini. Planes here disgorge their occupants on the tarmac, not through a tunnel, and I like to stop at the top of the stairs briefly and take  a deep first breath. The air smells different here, a bit like salt, sand, and memories not yet made. It smells like home. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


22mm each side - Mosaic gold, filati in sterling silver
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I have left Cairo, indefinitely. This crazy city that I called home for the better part of the last year has been imprinted indelibly in my mind. Friends were made, meals were eaten, tears were shed, songs were sung. So I made these little pyramids, one for me, one for Blythe to commemorate our time there. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Hero Falls

On Friday, I found myself crying in an airport as I read about Anthony Bourdain's suicide. I am still struggling to not cry writing this now. I've never been a celebrity worshiper, and I am can't say I often wish I were more like someone. But Tony's passing makes me realize that this man was my hero, and I have a hole in my chest.

Anthony Bourdain informed my life far more than I realized. I travelled to Singapore just to eat, and to eat at the places he ate at. I ended up in Penang because of him, and sought out specific bahn mi stalls in Vietnam. 

He was unabashedly authentic, a traveller who wanted to get the real experience of a place, and did so through its food. Seeing the world through the filter of Tony made it shrink, and become less scary. He managed to find truth everywhere, and had a deep abiding empathy for humanity, wrapped up in layers of sardonic wit. He travelled in all senses of that word, and sucked the marrow out of life like I only wish I could.

And that is why his leaving as he did hurts all the more. That life sucked his marrow in return. That someone who seemed to have such a good time living, who truly seemed to love the human experience, needed to leave. 

He made the world a smaller place by being in it, and made the world a smaller place with his leaving. 

Tony, thank you for gracing us with you for as long as you did. I hope that wherever you've journeyed to this time, you are sat on a low plastic stool, hunched over a bowl of noodles, sipping a beer. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Drop Dead Legs

30mm by 30mm - Mosaic gold in sterling silver
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This is Blythe; long time reader, first time blogger. I'm the guest writer today because, well, it just makes sense that I tell this story.

So here's the thing: Margo has great legs. Like, I'm talking model-in-a-magazine great legs. Just like when when we say someone has 'great hair' or 'great lips', we can all picture what 'great legs' look like. Stems. Pins. Gams. Whatever you want to call 'em, Margo's got 'em and they are great. Now, I have told her this for years. Margo 'didn't see it' until about a year ago. She sent me a photo of her legs one day back in June, 2017, with the caption: I see it now. Since then, she has continued to send me photos of her legs, in various positions and situations: beach legs, bed legs, bath legs, boat legs. Couch legs, balcony legs, deck legs. Legs in jeans, legs in leggings. Single leg. Even grape stomping legs! We call these 'Leg Photos'.

So, when my brother Hamish and I traveled down to upper Egypt at the end of April, I took some of Margo's jewelry with me to take photos 'on location'. Seeing some great hieroglyph legs at the Hatshepsut (or as we like to call it, Hot Cheap Soup) temple in Luxor, I had to do an obligatory 'leg photo'. So now you not only know the story behind this photo, you know the story of Margo's great legs.
The original leg photo