The Ballerina Mosaic has two faces, set in a vintage, two sided, vanity mirror. My guess is that the mirror is a Hollywood Regency mirror, circa 1940s to 1950s. There is an identifying mark on the inside of the base, GIM 897. The gilded frame, pedestal and base sport a floral design.
Although the mirror glass is in good condition, the patina on the frame, pedestal and base attest to a past history. Someone, some place, some time ago looked into this mirror. Although, I am giving the mirror a new life, a new purpose, there is always a past history.
The design for the ballerina came from a series of quick sketches that I did of dancers with a focus on ballerinas.
From the sketches, I reduced the figure to a simple form, a symbol for the ballerina.
The work on the mosaic starts with placing the ballerina onto the mirror and then the selecting, cutting, fitting and placing the glass begins. The first mosaic is a series of cooler tones, blues, offsetting the ballerina in white.
The second ballerina is set of vibrant yellows and reds offsetting the ballerina in black.
I recently moved to Saugatuck, Michigan and while setting up a temporary studio space, I began to unpack some of my stained glass panels. Sadly, I discovered that one of the panels was broken, snapped into two pieces.
This was a piece that I did several years ago, just as I was getting back on my feet, after a lengthy hospital stay. In a way, sad, it was part of my rehabilitation program. However, accidents do happen; the glass was broken.
Although the glass was broken, I was aware of a traditional Japanese aesthetic concept, wabi- sabi, where beauty can be found in imperfection. An object can be old, scratched, dented or in this case broken, but has its’ own inherent beauty. As I took a longer look at the piece, the broken glass retained its’ integrity. The jagged edges gave the piece a different and distinct look.
I took the glass back to the studio, filed down the jagged, broken edges, so no one, including myself, would cut their fingers on the glass. Where there was one piece, now, there are two.
Due to the pandemic shutting down many thrift and antique shops, my search for vintage objects to house and frame my stained glass mosaics was diverted to Ebay. This time, I was looking for vintage brass trays that had the markings of a past life, a history: dents, scratches, tarnish and there marks.
On Ebay, I found an oval brass tray, made in Hong Kong, that had true signs of use. It was deeply tarnished and scratched.
Cleaning the tray was a combination of elbow grease, baking powder and vinegar, a messy but effective cleaning solution. It worked. I wanted the flat base to be clean and function as a mirror; but, also, wanted to leave some of the patina on the rim, acknowledging its’ past history.
In the center of the tray, there is set of Chinese characters which I did not have a clue as to their meaning. I was saved by several people who follow me on Instagram, who graciously informed me that the characters mean Good Fortune.
After, the cleaning of the Good Fortune tray, I began to play with designs and stained glass.
The Good Fortune tray is an integral part of this stained glass mosaic. It is a contemporary piece of art yet retains its’ past history.