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

On The Road This Summer!

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Hi ladies! We are taking our Mosaic Mermaid Workshop series on the road this summer! We will be hitting several major cities on the East Coast from Florida to NY. If you would like to be considered to host one of these fabulous and exciting workshops, please email  me at nancy@nancyolliver as soon as you can. This is a chance to take one of The Mosaic Mermaid’s Workshops in person right in your own back yard (possibly literally)!

Here are some testimonials from past workshops:

I took Nancy’s mosaic art class 2 years ago. It was such an amazing experience. Nancy has a special gift for teaching. She shows you step by step how to create a beautiful piece of art that brings that inner artist out. Nancy’s passion for art really shows in her instruction. While I was designing my picture frame, she was able to guide me in a way that allowed me to express my creativity. I highly recommend Nancy’s class. It’s a great environment for relaxation and fun. I was proud of the piece of art I created and gave it to my mom for Mother’s Day with a picture of us from the beach. I can’t wait to take another one !” –Jennifer Cline

 

After a long search online looking for an intensive mosaic artists workshop I came upon the work of Nancy Oliver at the Mosaic Mermaid. Her workmanship and creative flair stood out to me and so I made the plans to study with her for 6 days in November of 2012. Right away her professionalism shone through ! She sent me a detailed itinerary of our week together and answered any questions I had. She even prepared a comprehensive tool kit for me so that I would have the tools to take home with me after the session was over. This was something I really appreciated! Paying for the class was also smooth and problem free! As questions for me popped up Nancy was quick to reply with all the answers I needed! It was a good feeling to start a new endeavour like this, which can often be stressful enough in itself, with no hassles!

From the moment I arrived I was so impressed with Nancy’s knowledge and ability to explain things to me. It was obvious to me that she had immense experience , peppered with her edgy “out of the box” creativity….learning the techniques was all the more easier because of her cheery, positive and bubbly nature.

In a short period of time she managed to keep us right on track and cover everything on our schedule (and MORE as we even squeezed in an morning flea market shop to help school me on how to hunt for treasures used in projects)

I was pleased that i got the opportunity to learn so many of the hands-on techniques used in mosaic work. It far exceeded what knowledge I’d acquire in this small time together.

I would recommend Nancy’s workshop to anyone without hesitation! She was a pleasure and an inspiration to work with. She encouraged me to find my own talents and to experiment freely while I was with her! Any nervousness or worry I came with was quickly diffused by her warm loving nature and her very apparent savvy skills.

This lady has it all and anyone who has the chance to study with her …needs to!!  It will equip them with so much knowledge and wonderful memories! I treasure my time with Nancy and plan to work with her again! –Lisa Sherman-Shamray

 

You Can succeed.2013

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