Tag Archives: Glass

At The Union Trust Building Again

I am back at it again. With the restoration of the Union Trust building underway I have been asked to lend my expertise. This time we are tackling the damage that has occurred over the decades to the mosaic at the Grant St. entrance.

With plastic surrounding the scaffolding and a shower.
My office, with plastic surrounding the scaffolding and a shower.
glass mosaic, ceiling, mosaic ceiling, restoration, ceiling restoration, Union Trust building, old artwork Pittsburgh
The first section of the ceiling to come down. It was a bit nerve wracking. Don from Bristoll was in charge of dismantling the ceiling. Spring jacks are in place surrounding each section to prevent the weight of the mosaic from pulling the ceiling down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring jacks holding up the mosaic on the ceiling
Spring jacks holding up the mosaic on the ceiling.
The way the mosaic ceiling is attached and hung is a puzzle, and a bit hard to explain. The mosaic itself is hung on a gridwork of metal bars that are suspended off of yet another gridwork of metal bars via suspension rods. At different places the two gridworks vary from 2 feet to 4 inches away from each other.
A closer look at the ceiling: The way the mosaic ceiling is attached and hung is a puzzle, and a bit hard to explain. The mosaic itself is hung on a gridwork of metal bars that are suspended off of yet another gridwork of metal bars via suspension rods. At different places the two gridworks vary from 2 feet to 4 inches away from each other.
The large bucket on the right contains the large chunks, these are moved from bin to bin, cleaned and the glass is removed from the backing. The middle bin is almost completely black! Years of soot from Pittsburgh's industry of the past.
Decades of coal dust: The large bucket on the right contains the large chunks, these are moved from bin to bin, cleaned and the glass is removed from the backing. The middle bin is almost completely black! Years of soot from Pittsburgh’s industry of the past.
We have been able to save a large quantity of glass. Here it is drying out before it is sorted.
Sparkling clean glass. We have been able to save a large quantity of glass. Here it is drying out before it is sorted.

 

 

 

“Stretch” Yoga Lady Mosaic

After finishing up a few smaller pieces, I was finally ready to get started on some larger sculptures. I began taking yoga this past January at a local place called V3 and have thoroughly enjoyed it! Some of the poses can be so elegant, and this became my inspiration to create a life sized sculpture of a yoga pose. Searching the internet for images, I kept coming back to one dramatic pose. It is a "seated pose", which would be perfect so that I wouldn't have to deal with the balancing of a standing figure for my first large sculpture.

My Yoga instructor, Leigh Ann said the pose is called: “Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, which translates as, One-Legged King Pigeon Posture. It is also sometimes called Royal Pigeon or Queen Pigeon”. I started the sculpture before I had seen the pose done in real life. I found I needed a model to look at because the photos on the web were of only one or two angles. So I asked for Leigh Ann to let me take photos of her to use for reference.

I used the same techniques I have used in the past to make my smaller pieces. I made a core out of foam, coated it, mosaiced it, and then grouted it. Armed with saws, hot wire cutting tools, rasps, and a ventilation mask, I built up a large piece of foam and then began to carve it with Hot wire tools. I started the project in the middle of winter in our unheated garage. I was all bundled up and looked like the Michelin Man in a ventilation mask. It must have been quite a silly sight :)

The carving process took two about months; surprisingly with only a few difficulties. She has no internal frame, so I wanted all the skinnier and delicate parts of her to attach to the main body of the sculpture. If you look at it, you will see how her hands are attached to her hair and her foot, making her structurally sound. When the foam was all cut, carved, and coated, I was all ready for the mosaic to begin!

At first, I really had no set plan for the colors or patterning on her, so it was a new challenge most every day! So much fun to create. I finally decided on a tattoo style with a Maori theme. The surface area of a piece this size is deceivingly big and I ended up using an incredible amount of glass to cover her up! However, I really love how this piece came out.

photo by Justin Steiner

More photos here,

http://elizabeth-klevens.smugmug.com/Art/Mosaics/Yoga-Sculpture/16555335_rJrkjb#1555701223_GqFcDbb

Butterfly Mosaic Mirror

Butterfly Mirror Mosaic

2-24-2011
I am so excited about this new mosaic. It is my first attempt to create a 3D mosaic with the base structure of foam.  I  have mosaiced a 3D form before but it was a pre existing piece. A glass head that I got at a holiday exchange from my friend Adam, but I knew it he missed it. I decided to make it into a mosaic.  Adam got married to another good friend Judy this New Years day and I wanted to give it him and Judy (my web designer). This was not easy! But here it is. Adam put a light in it and it is even better now.

I wanted to try starting relatively small this mirror and frame seemed a nice place to begin. If all went well I would then be ready to make bigger ones. I never can keep things simple though and a simple mosaic became complicated and almost ended up in the trash a few times. I put it together backwards as I found out later. I cut out a  "frame" of esp foam with my new hot wire tools.

Using the left over mirror from the bicycle tire mosaic as a center I created a round flat frame to build up on. I'm not sure the reason but this became a butterfly with flowers. Carving out the wings and body was fun and gluing it together was straight forward. I ended up skewering the swings into the body to provide stability. I was worried that the wings would break off because the wing attachment was very narrow and the weight of the thinset glass and grout would be very heavy. To adhere the glass to the foam the foam had to be coated with a hardener, I used a product called foam coat that created a concrete like coating on the foam. Flowers leaves vines and the  butterfly all  done and coated I stared to mosaic the frame. Definitely more difficult than a flat surface. By the time I had finished I realized my mistake, the frame was flimsy and delicate at this point. Moving it any where was creating cracks I had yet to adhere it to the mirror and to a wooden backing and hanger hardware. This all should have been done at the beginning! In the end I had the mosaic assembled, there were a few moments where it almost ended up in the trash! I grouted it in multi colors; blue back ground, green for for the foliage, white for the flowers and the Butterfly with black. Grouting was a tricky business and took three days to do. I am very happy with the out come. Check it out…


11-30-10