Waves of color below the surface

Posted on Dec 6, 2014

Blue Venetian glass mix

Perdomo ‘ocean’and ‘olive’ mixes, Orsoni ‘sea mist’

Sometimes instead of working with a design in mind, I let the materials speak to me.

In the last couple months I’ve been working a good deal with vibrant warm colors reflecting the colors of fall harvest. Meanwhile a jar of blue smalti was beckoning from a high shelf.

bull kelp mosaic - detail

Smalti provides a textural element to mosaic, in addition to intense color

Smalti is an expensive material so I am limited to mostly small artworks with this type of glass.  But it is easily my favorite material for inspiring new works.

Some of the smalti was made by the Perdomo factory in Cuernavaca, Mexico.  Some is from the Orsoni factory in Venice, Italy where smalti has been made for more than a century.

The intense mix of aquamarine to royal suggested to me an underwater scene, and with the vibrant olive mix in the jar beside it, a bull kelp forest came to mind.

If you visit the Oregon coast you are likely to encounter these fascinating plants coiled on the beach, having lost their moorings from the sea floor and tossed on the dry sand.  Seen from underwater, they form magical stands that glow in the penetrating light and dance with the current.

Here you see a few steps in my current work in progress.  ‘Bull Kelp Forest’ smalti glass on Wedi board, now available at Artists’ Co-op Gallery in Lincoln City, OR.

Glass mosaic of bull kelp - in progress

Smalti (Venetian glass) mosaic in progress by Joanne Daschel