Broken isn’t Just a Metaphor for Mosaic

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I know I talk about the splender of taking broken things and turning them into something beautiful all the time. It’s what I do, It’s what I’ve always done whether it was as a nurse through healing, through loving peoples souls back to to wholeness or as an artist in the reheirlooming process. However, today I though I would address the brokeness we all experience and acknowledge that I know it exists. It isn’t just a metaphor for mosaic, but it is real and it is painful and we all have some in our lives in one way or another, even if we don’t publicly admit it. Sometimes the pain that goes along with being broken is unbearable, we think it will never go away. Or an old pain decides to poke it’s nasty head up for no apparent reason and try to strangle you all over again with it’s nasty grip. Maybe you walked into a room and found the only piece of your late mother’s china laying crashed on the floor, the love of your life walks out on you, you lose your job, or it could be something much simpler that causes you pain, to be shattered, fall apart and come unglued. These are all things that can cause us to be broken.

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 But remember “that it doesn’t matter how broken you are, what really matters is how you put the pieces back together.

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Mosaic has a way of mending our souls in a way that is almost indescribable. It is healing and nuturing. Join me for the Mosaic Memory Bunny Girl Retreat on March 14-16 to experience how broken can be turned to beautiful.

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Love, Nancy

Mosaic Mermaid in Creating Vintage Charm Holiday Edition

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I am honored to once again be a part of Creating Vintage Charm Magazine. OMGosh Sonia Cardona Crouse has worked her magic and has truly out done her self with the holiday issue. It is absolutely the biggest and best issue ever. I am so honored to be a contributor of this magnificent publication this Holiday season! I can’t stop looking at it <3 It is absolutely lovely. Now this is how you do it. This is the sneak preview bracelet that the article teaches you to make. cvc

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Order your print or digital Copy Here

The Basics of Pique Assiette Mosaic: Fun and Art Rolled Into One

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Pique Assiette Mosaic: Fun and Art Rolled Into One

Broken things have a sense of being put together and look marvelous as a whole. That is exactly what a pique assiette is all about.

Pique assiette, also known as shard arts, is a very popular folk art style of mosaics. In French, pique assiette literally means stolen from plates. This kind of art incorporates recycled bits of broken china, porcelain, ceramic tile pottery, stoneware and found objects that are used to make one-of-a-kind and eye- catching art creations.

Pique assiette was originally presented by Raymond Edouard Isidore. He was recognized as the French pique assiette father. Now, you might wonder how he attained this title. The answer is simple yet truly amazing. He covered his entire house and garden with mosaics of broken glass and crockery. Imagine that.

Raymond Eduoard Isidore never considered himself as an artist. He was a graveyard sweeper by day. He lived in Chartres, which is in the northern part of France. Every time he walked home, Isidore picked broken pieces of glass and crockery for his home masterpiece. For 30 years, it was his obsession. His entire house, inside and out, including the garden were decorated and designed with mosaic. They say that his bed sheets were the only thing in their home that were not touched by mosaic. The home now serves as a public museum.

Some people may assume that pique assiette is a very difficult and laborious work of art to learn. Yes making pique assiette is an art. Don?t be scared though if you have never done any art projects before, because it is simple to learn and anybody can do it. It is a fabulous way to bring the artistic and creative side out of you. You can get totally lost in it as you learn how to apply the varying types of shards to your pieces and time seems to just fly by. Then the next thing you know your whole house is covered, well maybe in your minds eye you see it that way.

With its unique and extraordinary appearance, there is no wonder why pique assiette has become a sensation once again. There are several stores selling assembly line pieces of pique assiette, but nothing will compare to what you can make yourself. So why not give it a try? Why buy someone else’s when you can make your own?

Making a pique assiette does not require you to be an established artist or any previous experience with mosaic. Believe me, I have taught hundreds of students and you don?t have to have done a single mosaic ever in your life to create a masterpiece? All you need to be successful is to gather the materials you need, have a wide colorful imagination, and let your hands do the magic for you.

You will find this 3 step beginners instruction guide on how to make a mosaic will not make you even break a sweat. It is my hope that after you accomplished all these steps, you will find yourself still yearning make many more mosaic projects.

Before you begin your 3 steps to mosaic stardom you?ll need to do a few things as listed below.

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Choose an project base item that you would like to apply the mosaic tiles onto. You should start with a small item like a picture frame or a flowerpot. ( I have found that students that start small continue with this art form, versus one that start big).

Gather together an assortment of shards. This can be chipped up china plates, cups & saucers or ceramic pieces, jewelry, shells, pebbles, figurines or micro tiles.

Gather the tools that you will need for your creation
1. Small Hammer, stained glass cutters or tile nippers
2. Tacky Glue for indoor pieces and tile mastic for outside pieces
3. Grout
4. Sponge
5. Small pail
6. Paint stirrer
7. Several rags
8. Grout sealer

Great! Just a few steps more and your mosaic masterpiece will be just underneath your touch. Here are the step-by-step instructions to set you on your way to being a pique assiette artist.

Step 1 Break your china into several small pieces with the hand tools. If you already have broken china at hand, it will be useful too. Making a mosaic is like putting a puzzle together. You will need several different sizes and even different colors. After cutting enough tiles to cover your piece, you are ready to glue them on the surface of the item.

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Step 2 Apply enough glue to cover about 4-5 square inches at a time. The glue dries very fast that is why you are doing small sections at a time. If some glue dries before you can apply your shards don?t be upset you can always reapply it. Practice makes perfect. When everything?s done, cover the entire piece should be covered with the tiles. You can choose a certain design or pattern style for your first mosaic, or simply randomly apply the pieces. Let your imagination wander. Play with the colors and sizes of the tiles. After you have covered your entire piece clean up any excess glue from the tiles with water. Let it dry for a few hours or preferably leave it overnight for the best result.

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Step 3 If you are satisfied with the placement and the arrangement of your tiles, it is time to grout. Mix grout and small amounts of water until you obtain a peanut butter consistency. Apply grout with an old paintbrush or small spackle spatula, to be sure to get it into all the joints. I often apply gloves and do it by hand. It lets me get into the cracks of the irregular shaped pieces. Wipe off the excess grout as you go. Next when the entire piece is covered with grout, wipe away remaining excess with smooth damp rags. Keep wiping over your piece with the damp, not wet sponge. It will look hazy but do not fret. That is totally normal. You might have the urge to give up during this process, but don?t! Just keep rinsing your cloth or sponge and wiping until it is free of the haze. After the grout is set and is dry, buff with a clean dry cloth and apply the grout sealer as recommended on the bottle.

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Wow take a deep breath. You have just completed your first masterpiece. Congratulations! You see I told you could do it. It?s not that hard to make a pique assiette right? Patience, hard work and imagination are all you ever need to be successful at anything. And just a few parting thoughts. Art is in the eye of the beholder. You have just created your first pique assiette masterpiece. Many people think about doing this but never even attempt to because they think they just could?t do it. Well I know that you can do anything your mind can conceive. Enjoy what you have accomplished. Share it with your friends and family. If you are like me when I first started doing mosaic almost 20 years ago I just couldn’t get enough. If that?s you please stop on by and visit me at nancyolliver.com or themosaicchinacabinet.com for more goodies and instructional inspiration.

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God Bless You, Nancy Olliver
The Mosaic Mermaid

Do you want to live Soulrageously?

I am so extremely grateful that the LORD trusts me enough to be put in a position that I can effect a change in peoples lives. I struggled for years thinking that my work was selfish, that it only satisfied my soul yearnings. However, recently, he has begun to show me that others have the deep yearning to be in touch with their creative gifts and I can help them achieve that dream again. If you have never ever taken one of my workshops yet, I really want you to know that I put every ounce of energy I have into helping my students reconnect with the creative side of their soul, that has been lying dormant for many years for a large majority of them. If this sounds like you, then please consider joining me on a mermaid adventure and experience again what you felt was lost possibly forever.

Mosaic Mermaid Testimonial.

“I have to tell you that you have been quite an inspiration for me to find my artistic side again. I was a trained dancer for years and gave it up when I became pregnant with my first son. I’ve always been a little different and a dreamer (artsy) and have always needed an artistic outlet. You have really helped me to find that side of myself again that I thought was lost. So I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel like I’ve come alive again:-)”2013-09-05 15.36.42

For the Love of Roses

I have been thinking about learning to create my own porcelain roses. What do you think? I use them in nearly all my mosaic pieces and they are really hard to come by these days. I was wondering if a basic cake decorating class would give me the direction I need. Has anyone taken one? Have you worked with clay like that?porcelain roses1

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

I am hoping to get this piece done real soon. Do you ever start something and for what ever reason just not get around to finishing it up? I have no idea why it has been on the back burner because I think it is lovely. I read in the Artists Way before that one of our strengths is also our weaknesses. ( Mermaid paraphrase ) because we can visually imagine the completed creation that when it comes to actually physically creating that which we have imagined that we often fall short and miss the mark. It isn’t art until it is tangible. It’s just great ideas.Cake Saver

You Can Succeed 2013

The You Can Succeed 2nd Annual Woman’s Conference was a blast yesterday. I was so blessed to get the opportunity to spend the day with 9 gifted lovely ladies and build friendships some I know will last a life time. Don’t you ever just meet someone and it seems like you have known them your whole life. We all left with all kinds of new wisdom and excitement to move forward and go after what we know we need to do to be the raging success’s we are all called to be. 860674_10151451032719875_1237424623_o

Two-Minute Mosaic Tips: What type of grout should I use?

One of the goals of this website is to share with you information that I hope will make your journey into creating the mosaic of your dreams more simple.  I am going to be sharing with you questions that I frequently receive about creating Mosaic. One question that comes up all the time is “what kind of grout should I use? 

 

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As  a budding mosaic artist you will have many occasions to use many types of  grout. With all the choices available it can be overwhelming as you  stroll down the row in your favorite home improvement store. Grout comes  in sanded, non-sanded, white and several colors. On the next issue, I will  teach you how to make custom colors. Grout comes dry, that you have to  add water to and there are types that you also have to add specific  polymers to, to activate them. Grout comes premixed and wet (great for  kids, because they can use this as their adhesive as well) and then my  favorite, which I call diamond grout , which is a very high end premixed  epoxy blend with micro polished glass beads in it (very expensive and  not for beginners and only available by special order).

 

My  recommendation is that you start with a basic non-sanded poly-blend  grout as pictured above. I like to use an antique white or off white  color.  Do not buy the white dry tile grout. It comes in a  smaller box and is cheaper then the others so you may be tempted to purchase it, as I  was. However, I will tell you that in 15 years it was the only near  disaster in grouting I have ever had. It took me months to clean it up  and I am still not happy with the result.

 

I also recommend that  you purchase your grout from a home improvement store. I am not a paid  affiliate of any, but would recommend the one that starts with Home,  because they have the only one that you simply mix with water. The other  national home improvement store carries an excellent product but it  will cost you much more to get started because you have to  buy the  additives. They no longer carry anything I would recommend that you can  simply mix with water. Many retailers such as chain craft stores and  online shops also are carrying grout, but the cost is astronomical to  purchase in such small amounts.

 

I hope this helps!  Please do send me an e-mail at nancy@nancyolliver.com or comment below with any questions you may have and I will gladly cover them in upcoming posts in the 2- Minute Mosaic Tips!