Dragon Garden Sphere – Gazing ball

11-30-10

Dragon Garden Sphere
Taking mosaics to the next level!  Three dimensional mosaics have always been intriguing to me.  The first large installation I did was on a big garage wall. In the corner of the space where I was working, there was a chunk of concrete that I had to work around and incorporate into the piece. This presented a bit of a challenge, but in the end it became a Wisteria root stretching out of the wall. I loved the way it added dimensionality to the piece but I have not known how to go about reproducing this. Recently, I have begun a quest to be able to add this 3D aspect to my mosaics. There are many ways of sculpting using clay, wire forms covered in concrete, shaping foam, forming glass in the kiln, using found objects, all of which can be covered with a mosaic. My first attempt was to be a rubber ball which I had found on the side of the road. This ball is a cheap purple beach type ball. By layering concrete and small squares of fiberglass mesh on the ball I created a solid ball to make a mosaic on. During the first layer I ran out of mesh and decided not to worry about it and just cover the rest of the exposed rubber with the concrete. Big mistake! As it dried the areas with the mesh were fine but the places I neglected to use it in cracked and fell apart. I was then left with a bit of a mess. Repairing the hole was not really all that hard but the whole process took much longer than it needed to. I'm always learning! I covered the ball with 2 more layers of mesh/concrete and it was finally ready to mosaic (not perfectly round but not a bad first attempt!) There are so many ways I could have gone with this, but since I had been wanting to do a dragon for a long time, the decision was easy. My daughter Jessica is a fantastic artist and very talented at drawing dragons. I gave her a marker and a general idea of what I wanted, 5 minutes later and voila, a Chinese dragon was wrapped around my ball. Jessica has educated me on the difference between Chinese and European dragons. To put it simply, the European types have a much horsier look to it where the Chinese dragons have a dog/cat like look to them. There is a lot more to it than that, but that's the basic idea. Here is picture of it after I laid the glass and before grouting.

The glass was adhered to the ball using thin-set a type of concrete adhesive. Grouting this piece is going to be a challenge but I'm sure I will learn something new.

2 thoughts on “Dragon Garden Sphere – Gazing ball

  1. It is in our garden now & we love it.  Thanks to both you and your daughter for the design.

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