CODAworx Magazine

A colorful detail of the stones used in “Phoenix Rising” public art mosaic.
Image © 2018 Dave Chance Photography

CODAworx is a public art clearinghouse that I use as a way to find listings of upcoming RFQs. They publish a monthly online magazine the celebrates various public art projects around the world. “Phoenix Rising” is included in the June issue.

The Treehouse Orchestra


The mosaic is finished and ready for installation. We are planning to head up later in June! This is the last of five mosaics we are doing for the schools in Norfolk, Virginia.

Goldfinch Stone Mosaic Inlay

I’m starting a new commission, a Garden Guardian of a goldfinch to complement a recent stone wall and pathway we built.

Pattern cut for stone mosaic inlay

I sketch ideas on paper but eventually make a final draft in the computer using Adobe Illustrator. It is really easy to scale thing up and down in that program, meaning I don’t have to completely redraw it if I decide I want it a half inch larger.

Pattern traced of stone mosaic inlay

I usually trace the inside of the pattern for an inlay- the negative space. This time I went to the outside of the pattern piece itself, because I wanted it fractionally larger than I drew it.

Stock removal of stone mosaic inlay

I have to cut the opening for the inlay first, before I start the stone mosaic. That way, if I make any mistakes- and I often do, going beyond the lines- I can adjust my paper templates before I cut the inlay pieces. This is as far as I can go with the grinders. Next step will be to finish the stock removal with chisels. I aim for a half inch of depth. More is okay, less is not. I need enough room for the stone, usually about 3/8″, plus thinset tile mortar.

Mosaic Hand

Work in progress

This is something I’ve been working on in the home workshop. It’s going to be a frame wall piece, about twice the actual size of my hand, which was the nearest available subject to draw!
I think I’m going to use a different background, maybe something with texture. Right now, the hand pieces are resting on top of the background stone. The hand is cut from Emprador light marble, from Spain I believe.

Bass Face

‘The Treehouse Orchestra’ mosaic features nine kids playing musical instruments. This guy is playing the upright bass. The first image shows the ‘map’ which has the pattern pieces labeled on it and shows the various shapes laid out for cutting. The second image shows the mosaic loosely assembled, awaiting detailing.

‘The Treehouse Orchestra’ mosaic bass player’s face traced on Emperador Marble

‘The Treehouse Orchestra’ mosaic bass player’s face

The Stacks

This is a shot of my shelves, where I keep stone tiles for mosaic work. It reminds me of my time in college radio when we had to go into the stacks to find the records to play.

Stone tile for mosaics

“The Treehouse Orchestra” Mosaic Update

Larchmont Elementary School has a steelpan ensemble, the inspiration for this figure, and the whole mosaic.

We’re almost there. Another figure is completed. The steelpan player is now completed. I still have to detail her steelpan though. The heads of her mallets are cut from bricks that were part of the old school building, that was torn down to make way for the new building.

The whole thing is over nine feet tall and seventeen feet wide.

This panorama shows the whole piece. This was taken when the steelpan girl was still on a different table, being detailed. The only two kids that still need some cutting are the violinist and the bass player.

Behind the scenes, so to speak

Front view

This fellow is playing the tambourine. Flipped over, you can see the numbering scheme I sued to keep track of the pieces. On smaller things like this, it’s relatively easy to figure out where pieces go. When you have three hundred random hexagons making up the background, it’s really important to have things identified.

Fourfold Mosaics Grouted

Grouted the mosaics

I grouted these two mosaics this weekend. These are my first experiments with geometric patterns, these based on Islamic tile designs. The colors really pop in this image because I’ve just rinsed them with water. Another example of how stone mosaic so closely resembles quilt patterns.

Mosaic Update

We’re still plugging away at “The Treehouse Orchestra.” Here’s a couple of recent pics:

Jonathan laying out the bass from “The Treehouse Orchestra.”

Jonathan is seen laying out the bess that he cut from a lovely stone called Stalatiti Bronze.

First draft of the boy who will be playing the tambourine

This is the initial cutting of the face for the boy who will be playing the tambourine.