Category Archives: Mosaic Installations

Follow my progress through the installation process.

Union Trust Mosaic Restoration Part Three

The mosaic is finished! All that is left to do is the installation.

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Here is the finished mosaic on my workbench.  I adhered it to mesh that I will cut up and install in smaller sections.

 

Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

This is the stairway that leads up into the top of the scaffolding.

P1000784This is about half way through the installation. Sections were adhered up using a variety of guidelines. One of my biggest challenges was making sure that the design was in line with the existing mosaic. As you can see here it was successful!

P1000786Here is a view showing the “work area”

P1000790An nice photo of Rick and I pressing a section up into place

P1000792Here Rick and I inspect the edges of the mosaic after we put up the plexiglas to add extra pressure as the thinset cured.

P1000793 P1000815 P1000813All the jacks we used to hold up the plexiglas. They we so useful for so many parts of this project.

P1000832 P1000835Grouting over head! I love this palette that Rick brought. He said it was his grandfathers. We are working out a trade for one of my palette knives for this great tool!

 

Tessa would follow me as we worked our way back and forth across the ceiling. She would wipe off as I laid on grout. I had so many people during the course of this installation that helped. Tessa saved me from hours of overhead work!

P1000847Staining the new grout to match the rest of the ceiling.

The completed ceiling!

P1000865Tessa took this photo looking down out of the scaffolding. At the time Bryn Contracting had put a proposal to the new owner of the Union Trust Build for us to repair the rest of the ceiling. The proposal was accepted and we have completed this section of ceiling. We are now in the process of inspecting the rest of the mosaics in the building to repair and clean them! I’ve been enjoying my trips to the city to work and am looking forward to more trips this summer!

 

 

Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration Part 2

The second phase of the restoration began with the sizing and resizing of the template prints that Tim Danehy created for me.

Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

To recreate the mosaic pattern we used CAD to overlay the hole with the intact mosaic and lined them up. With the printouts in hand we tweaked the templates to fit as close to perfectly as we could.

Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

By overlaying the hole with the original behind on another layer Tim was able to print out a template that was almost the correct size. We then took this to the actual damaged mosaic and resized it to the mosaic.

Matching the glass was also a great challenge.

Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

To recreate a hundred year old mosaic can be tricky. The glass that was originally used is not all still around. I took a trip down to Youghiogheny Glass in Connellsville, PA to try and find good matches to the glass. I also sent off samples to Delphi Glass and they were able to help me out with obtaining the glass I could not find at Youghiogheny Glass.
Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

Here is one of the isles of glass sheets Youghiogheny Glass. With the help of the owner , Tristan Triggs, I was able to find much of the glass that I needed to recreate the original mosaic. I brought samples of the original mosaic and laid them out. Tristan was great, he would take a look at what I had and dash off to different parts of the warehouse and find glass that would have taken me hours to find.

Now with the groundwork done I could really begin making the mosaic. Adhering glass to a mesh backing that will be cut up and installed on the ceiling began. I started with the heraldic shield, sometimes with the help of my critters. The design was made up of fleur de lis and green diagonal stripes in four compartments.

Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

The newly created mosaic adhered to mesh will then be transferred and installed to the ceiling at the Union Trust building. I always have one of my helpers on hand. This is Bobby, sunning herself as I work.

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Union Trust Building Mosaic Restoration

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It’s a fun piece to create with swirls in gold  and lots of white rectangles and squares with a border along the wall. I put to use a great little straight cutter that made making the hundreds of squares and rectangles so much easier and more precise.

 

 

​Union Trust Mosaic Restoration Project

This spring I was contacted to take a look at a damaged mosaic in the Union Trust Building.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Trust_Building_(Pittsburgh)

 

A section of one of the entryway ceiling mosaics had been damaged and was in need of repair. The scope of the project will require people with different skill sets. After a bit of time, a team was put together. Harry “the plaster”, Tim Danehy doing the CAD work, and Justin Steiner doing the photography, Tessa Klevens researching the history. With their help, I will be able to recreate a mosaic in the entryway of the Union Trust building!

 

Here is us up in the “work area” up on scaffolding three stories high.

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 Justin Steiner photographing the mosaic

Matching the design and creating a template will be our first task. Tim and Justin will collaborate to make a layout for me to work off of.

Union Trust Restoration Elizabeth Klevens and Tim Dam Danehy under mosaic to be repaired

 Tim Danehy and I discussing the project. Photo by Justin Steiner.

The ceiling arch is divided into four sections with a mirrored image of a Heraldic Shield in each quadrant.  

This is one of the entry ways that is not damaged. Each entryway has a large domed mosaic. This is the William Penn Place entrance.

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  This is one of the entry ways that is not damaged. Each entryway has a large domed mosaic. This is the William Penn Place entrance.

The mosaic to be repaired is on the Oliver Ave. side. The scaffolding was only accessible by a ladder until a few weeks ago.

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 Now, access is thru a window which has been removed and a stairway that leads into the enclosed space just under the mosaic.

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Camilla and Jason’s Kitchen Mural

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Camilla and I met on a bike ride near my house. She is an amazing cyclist and we had a great ride. Sitting and chatting afterwards she told me that she and her husband were real "do it yourselfers." They were fixing up their home project by project. Their current one was the kitchen. We talked about how my art might be included and would touch base about it later. Through emails and Facebook we discussed ideas back and forth, but they were potentially moving.

Plans changed and about a month ago they decided to have a mosaic behind the stove. I needed to see the spot and get an idea of the setting and what they might want in terms of design. They have a great house snuggled up next to the park. Their back yard has prefect view into the woods. Both of them love the outdoors and animals.

We measured up the spot and looked at some of the mosaics that I had already done. A plan began to hatch… woods, owls, a path and flowers. We got a bit stuck on color for the flowers but that will come.

Here is the sketch that I proposed:

 

 

I still have to add flowers that is today’s job. The nice thing about flowers is they come in so many shapes and sizes. I also have to create the shape of the piece so that mosaic looks good both with a stove that has a back piece or if they decide to get a flat topped stove it will still look good. I tried to do that with the tress that come down around the top of the stove and the trail leading to one side.

This mosaic has a lot going on in a small space and I want it to have lots of detail. I am going to have to find a mesh that is smaller to adhere the glass to. :)

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I am always learning and this time is no different. In this mosaic the pieces are going to be small so I am trying a new mesh backing that I have not used before so I plan on trying it at home first. I will make a mosaic to put behind our oven on the same mesh and it is about the same size. So it is a double mosaic:)  I love birds so I have included a heron and a goldfinch, there is a tree and a pond. the nice thing about this mosaic is it can emerge as I make it!

Took a trip out to Camilla and Jason's house today to do a final "measure up." With the help of two great little helpers we go the size on the mesh so I can start creating in glass. Laid it out  right next to the one for our house when I came home.  I will start cutting glass tomorrow. A trip on Wednesday to Youghiogheny Glass for more glass.

 

Pat’s Coral Reef Window

Patrick, my dad, wanted a piece of art for his front window, and it was a perfect space for a mosaic!  He wanted either a scene with birds or a coral reef. I love both. Growing up we went on many bird walks and I also went to a Oglebay Nature camp where we would get up at dawn and go on a bird walks before breakfast! Many special memories are of the ocean too, vacationing as a child every other year we would go to a scuba diving resort on Andros Island in the Bahamas, Small Hope Bay. The decision in the end was to do a mosaic that Patricia (my mom)  would love. She loves birds and the ocean but Patrick thought she really would have wanted to have an ocean scene.

The window is a pretty large space by the front door  (33×58). We decided to make a mosaic that would fit into the already existing frame rather than trying to install a new window. The piece will be glass adhered to plexiglass  a special type that is is a stronger version of a polycarbonate. Then we will install it with quarter round molding to hold it in place.

These are the first sketches…

Here is the basic layout…

 

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The lay out is almost done. I have locate a large piece of "Lexan" now. Lexan is abrand name for a high density polycarbonate (plastic sheeting similar to Plexiglass) This type of plastic sheeting has UV protection to proctect the piece for  years to come:) What a fiasco, I think I finally found some at Lowe's "special order" so it will be a few days before I can start cutting glass:( I did receive a very generous gift of glass from Jeff Kuchma, he had been given it from an stained glass artist friend It was not doing anything in his workshop and he wanted it put to good use so he gave it to me plus some very fun tools:) There are some really fun colors that will be great for the coral and some of the fish!

Here is where I am today with the project..

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I have been working on plexiglass for the last week! It is cut and sized to the window. So the underwater creation is underway.

I wrastled with the grouper for awhile and the Rock Beauty (black and yellow fish) that was swimming toward you looked psycho so he got nixed.  I recalled last night at 3am what the sand on the ocean floor looked like, I hope I can recreate it. I'm thinking there needs to be some sea urchins too, humm… anyone else have any thoughts/ideas?

 

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Here is where the mosaic is now…

All ready to install!

We installed the window weeks ago and I am sorry I haven't put up the final installation!

The window is pretty big so transporting was a big concern.  Without the grout the window was still flexible, I was really afraid that the glass would poop off when we lifted it up. This is the space it was going into…

Here it is being put in by Lee…

I mixed up the grout with a blue tint and had just enough to cover the whole piece, I was VERY close to not having enough. Lesson learned!!!

Alison’s Fireplace

 This is a picture of the fire place before the mosaic.

12/16/09
Alison's Fireplace
 Alison found me through a mutual friend Judy Herilla (Karmoxie.com),  an amazing women who developed my website. Alison has a great place here in Pittsburgh that she has been "fixing up". She has done much of the work herself, stripping wood work, refinishing floors, a very impressive lady! In her house there are fireplaces that were closed off, painted and repainted Alison stripped and finished her upstairs fireplace and had a vision for the living room. She contacted me and we began to design a piece of art for her mantel and hearth. Alison has a great collection of art in her house. Continue reading Alison’s Fireplace