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.
Vintage, silver plated trays are not fashionable. They sit discarded in second hand stores. However, I find them to be wonderful items that can be converted into colorful, luminous abstract art pieces, decorative and functional.
The Newport Abstract began with a vintage, silver plated tray made by Gorham Manufacturing; the mark, Newport Gorham, is stamped on the back. The image, below, shows the initial look of the tray, used and tarnished.
With work, the tray is converted into the Newport Abstract . It was essential that the surface of the tray to be highly polished to reflect light as it passes through the glass. This gives the piece a deep, luminous feel. The tray’s rim and handles frame the stained glass mosaic, adding a sculptural element.
Many times, in creating the mosaics, I incorporate older, used objects into my art. Although the trays, plates and bowels have a certain beauty and character, the rim is the most important feature. The rim frames the mosaic and adds a sculptural element. It is an essential part of the art.
Below are a few images of my mosaic art where the rim is a key element.