The mosaics highlighted in this post are from my series, Each Piece Has a History.
I found four, old dinner plates while browsing through several thrift shops in Chicago, years ago. The plates were sitting on a shelf, collecting dirt. Although dirty and showing signs of use, the plates were in good shape, just needed cleaning. The blue rims were attractive, caught my eye and I thought they would make interesting frames for stained glass mosaics. I bought them, at $2.00 a plate, a bargain.
The Polish Horses
These two mosaics are set in dinner plates that were made in Poland for Crate and Barrel. The bold, blue band on the rim enhances the mosaic.
The Iron Stone Ballerinas
The Iron Stone Ballerinas are set in dinner plates, sapphire iron stone, made in Japan. The blue rims are attractive, hand painted and compliment the mosaic.
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.