Niki in the Garden

Antonio Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona (see previous posts) has inspired many, including French-American artist Niki Saint Phalle, who created her own interactive gardens of art, combining both artistic and natural elements. Several years ago I took my daughters to see a traveling exhibit of her wonderfully whimsical mosaics at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. They enjoyed exploring and interacting with the sculptures, while identifying the wide array of textures and colorful materials, including ceramics, glass, mirrors and stones.

Currently, many of the works seen in Chicago are on display in the New York public art exhibit Niki de Saint Phalle on Park Avenue.


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Flowers of Park Güell

I visited Antoni Gaudi’s Park Güell twice while I was in Barcelona, so that I could have time to fully enjoy all aspects of its beauty.  The mosaics (see last post), architecture, and landscape of this park are amazing. Gaudi incorporated natural forms in all aspects of the design. Cascades of blossoms among the structures and a lush field of flowers are among the many natural treasures to enjoy while strolling the grounds.

Mosaics of Park Güell

Park Güell was the last private commission of Antoni Gaudi, which he worked on from 1900 -1914, prior to his beginning La Sagrada Familia (see last post). Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudi  to design the entry and park grounds for an exclusive development for Barcelona’s aristocracy. Though the development failed, it is now a public park for all to enjoy. Here is  just a small sample of the variety of beautiful colorful mosaics I discovered on the grounds of Park Güell.


La Sagrada Familia – Color, Pattern and Texture

During my recent visit to Barcelona, I visited La Sagrada Familia, a cathedral and master piece of design and architecture. Designed by Antoni Gaudi in 1883 and funded solely by donations, La Sagrada Familia has had ongoing construction for over a hundred years (projected finish in 2026–100 years after Gaudi’s death). The beauty of the church is incredible; everywhere you look there is something to inspire. You can enjoy a virtual tour by visiting Sagrada Familia tour, but here are just a few of the images of the colors, patterns, and textures that captured my attention.


Art on Wheels

While in Washington, DC my daughter and I visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.  The architecture of the building itself is amazing, evoking the spirit of nature. Once inside I discovered Vochol: Huíchol Art on Wheels, a Volkswagen Beetle covered in a beautiful mosaic of beads, fabric, paint and sculpture.



Lapis the color of…

The beautiful rich blue lapis lazuli has continuously been mined in Afghanistan for over six thousand years.  Lapis has been used over the centuries to create jewelry, carvings, mosaics and other ornamental pieces.

Lapis was the stone of royalty used by the kings of Egypt for their beautiful carved amulets and seals. Cleopatra used powdered lapis for eye shadow and it was later used by the Renaissance painters to create deep blue ultramarine paints to depict the water, sky and luxurious fabrics in their masterpieces.

I find that the intense blue of lapis adds an element to my work that no other stone can produce.  If you would like to see more gemstone mosaic jewelry please visit  Gray Raven Designs.

Amber Glow

Amber is technically not a gemstone or mineral, but instead is fossilized sap from prehistoric trees that has taken millions of years to form. As an organic substance, no two pieces of amber are alike. It can be transparent or opaque and comes in many shades and colors, the most common of which are cognac, honey, green, lemon yellow, and ivory. According to the American Museum of Natural History, “the world’s largest amber deposits come from the shores of the Baltic Sea, where amber has been harvested, traded, and crafted into decorative objects for at least 13,000 years.”

Using amber allows me to add radiance and warmth to my work. It provides a unique inner glow that cannot be duplicated. If you would like to see more amber mosaic art jewelry please visit  Gray Raven Designs.

Shark in the Water

One of my favorite walking paths is a loop around Northwestern University’s beautiful campus and alongside Lake Michigan. This summer I noticed the arrival of this whimsical graffiti shark. Over the years students have painted the rocks along the shore to create works of art and public statements.  It’s always fun to see the ever-changing collaborative mosaic created by the Northwestern students.

I also use stones to create mosaic art although in a very different manner.  If you would like to see my use of stones  please visit  Gray Raven Designs.

From Chess Board to French Cuff

I was asked by a young couple to create unique earrings and cuff links for their bridal party. Working with the bride and groom we found the perfect combination of stones–moonstone, labradorite, and black onyx–to create the elegant look they wanted.

In order to make the cuff links extra special for the groom I wanted to use stones that had some significance to him. I was able to obtain onyx chess pieces from a set his grandmother had given to his parents 20 years before. The set was no longer complete, but the pieces could find new life as cuff links, a meaningful “something old” to adorn the men’s cuffs.

The gallery above shows the transformation from chess piece to micro mosaic cuff link.

For  information on custom wedding party jewelry and accessories, contact us.

From Stone to Micro Mosaic Art

The term mosaic means a picture or pattern produced by arranging small pieces of stone , tile, glass, or other media. The art form of micro mosaic, creating mosaics using extremely small tesserae (tiles), began in ancient Rome. Unlike paints and tints, which were unstable and often flaked or faded, the color of natural stones and fired tiles retained its vibrancy over time.

In Wendy’s contemporary interpretation of micro mosaics, she uses an array of semi-precious gemstones and minerals that she hand cuts into tiny pieces and places individually to create vibrant textural mosaic jewelry. The gallery above shows the transformation of amethyst from stone to the tiny pieces used in our micro mosaic designs.

This video a brief visual history of the art of mosaics. To purchase the amethyst earrings shown, just click on the picture.