Tuesday, April 29, 2008

For the Love of Mary: Work completed, Work in progress.

A Virgin of Guadalupe tile purchased in Albuquerque is the centerpiece of this large mosaic retablo. Made in 2005 with a variety of handmade ceramic pieces, glass beads, broken china and talavera tile, it frames a window in the Nunez house.
Measuring 6'X2', it was constructed on hardwood, and hung flat by being directly attached to the wall with screws on either end. After hanging, the two tiny areas left open for screw placement were patched with a pre-planned mosaic piece and grouted. The round edges of the retablo were obtained by running flat glass marbles along the sides and building grout over them to form an arc. Grout color is crucial to any mosaic--something we've learned the hard way. This piece works successfully in the room, because it was grouted in the same color family as the walls, using a slightly lighter colored grout.

Both of us have always been attracted to images of the Virgin Mary.

Discussions about mosaicing our own "Mary Wall" have been in progress for a while...something gloriously beautiful and full of religious icons. We've made a few pilgrimages to the Catholic book store to build up our collection of Mary books, and prayer cards, lots of gorgeous images...but the idea remains in creative ether, and the proper location hasn't presented itself yet.

Meanwhile, there are two new Mary mosaics sitting on the production line:

Jan's shrine is still in the early design process, framed with gold iridescent glass tiles and beads. The marble tiles on which she has transferred images of Mary, have been made to appear aged. The under painting of the piece, including the metal frame (not it's original color) was done by a combination of techniques, including "Rub N Buff " and gold leaf. The wood cross will eventually contain text and another image of Mary. (Of course, all is subject to change as nothing is yet glued down.) The plan is to mosaic the piece together using the tempered glass mosaic technique. This piece hopes to find a home one day with Sister Pat, founder of the Learning and Loving Education Center, which is a non-profit educational project of the Sisters of the Presentation in Morgan Hill, CA. The work of the Learning and Loving Center is to provide educational opportunities and outreach to low income immigrant women and their children living in south Santa Clara county.

Julie's shrine has been around a while and has gone through a variety of transformations. It originally had an image of Mary decopauged in the center and was grouted in a light colored grout. This was a poor choice, compounded by a worse attempt to rescue it by painting the grout joints with gold metallic paint. Disaster. The hope is now--after having every bit of grout chisled out, the decopauge picture stripped away, the center painted black and a new tile found for it's center piece--that tempered glass over the black background and black grout will eventually unify the work.


Laurie said...

Hi Jan and Julie,
Congrats on the fabulous studio...and blog! I LOVE the mosaic of Mary....you two work wonders with tesserae! May you find many years of happiness and inspiration in your new studio. I am so jealous, everything is in its place and so organized in your studio...the total opposite of my studio right now, where everything is everywhere but where it is supposed to be! Best of luck, Laurie Mika

Jan Bear and Julie Nunez said...
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Jan Bear and Julie Nunez said...

Thanks for your warm words of encouragement, they were very much appreciated. The truth be known, our studio only looked like that once, just before Julie's mom came to visit. We so enjoyed your class, learned tons, and we will get a post up of our finished pieces soon.