The Iron Stone Ballerinas and the Polish Horses: Each Piece Has a History.

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.

Each Piece Has a History: The Mysterious, Old Brass Plate

I bought this old brass tray several years ago at the Ark, nearby my old studio in Chicago. It was my favorite junk store; a great place to search for vintage objects that have been discarded and abandoned. Many items, like the old brass tray, are dirty, tarnished or scratched. But with a good cleaning and a little care, they can be revived.

I cannot find a manufacture’s mark on the plate. Where and when it was made  is a mystery. However, somebody, somewhere, at some time held and used the old brass plate. It has a history.

Before giving a new life to the plate after cleaning, I worked with a series of old, quick sketches that I did from photos of ballet dancers . The drawings were done for a show that was canceled due to the pandemic. I have reduced the sketches to simple lines, hoping to capture grace and movement.

Work on the mosaic, giving the old brass plate a facelift, starts with glass selection. After the glass and colors have been chosen, the process of cutting, fitting and gluing begins. This is a slow process as I am not working with a set template. It is a bit like working a painting. I may have a palette in mind but will decide to make changes as the mosaic evolves.

The old brass plate’s facelift is completed. It has a new look, character and its’ own identity. 

Facelift Completed

The Ballerina Mosaic, Two Faces: Each Piece Has a History.

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.

One Mirror, two faces.