AluMosaics – starting a masterpiece
If you read our CHA Winter 2012 show review, you probably remember that my favorite thing as the show was AluMosaics. We spent quite a bit of time talking with Jeff Ivanhoe, a long-time artist who has perfected the art of turning aluminum cans into mosaic art masterpieces.
Creating these mosaics may seem like a daunting task, but the AluMosaic instructional DVD walks you through the entire process and makes it a very approachable art form. Jeff gave us a copy of his DVD to watch and I knew right away I just had to make an AluMosaic of my own.
I want to share my progress with you all as I work on my AluMosaic, and today I want to show you how I got started. The first step, of course, was to come up with a design!
The possibilities are endless, and you can use just about any image you can find. I had a hard time choosing just one image, so I decided to make a collage of crafty items. I was especially excited by the bright colors in each element of the collage.
Once I had the design worked out, the next step was to prepare the workspace. I used a sheet of 1/4″ thick MDF that I painted white. You can use whatever material you want as long as it’s stiff, smooth, and white. I borrowed Jo’s projector to shine the image over the board, and traced it with a pencil.
Then I used the specific measurements and technique discussed in the DVD to add a grid to my design, to aid with the placement of the tiles.
The final step to preparing the board was to apply a special glue to the entire surface, that would hold the tiles but also make them removable, so that I can make adjustments or corrections later. I’d love to tell you what the glue is, but you’ll need to get Jeff’s DVD to find out!
My board is approximately 4 feet by 2 feet wide, and I don’t want to have to keep it on a table for weeks as I work on it. To keep it out of the way and also make it easier to work on, I came up with a quick trick for making an impromptu easel. I got a couple of removable Command wire hooks and stuck them to my wall, then propped the board up on them.
Finally, it was time to start adding the mosaic tiles! First, I had to make them. I went back to the DVD for specific direction, and used the measurements Jeff indicates. Using his scoring technique, I ended up with sheets of aluminum that I could just bend gently to snap apart. It’s amazing how easily the scored metal cuts, and how perfect and smooth the edges are.
I have to take a moment to mention the special templates that the AluMosaics folks have available. They make the tile cutting process so much easier and the tile size more consistent. Seriously, they are worth every penny. It didn’t take me long to create a bunch of tiles so that I could finally add some color to my board.
I printed my design onto a piece of card stock for easy reference, identified the area where I wanted to start, and placed me first tile. It was so exciting!
Then I just couldn’t stop until My Honey dragged me away for dinner. Searching through the tiles for just the right piece was so fun, and I was amazed at how the paintbrush came together as I added more and more tiles.
I’ve still got TONS more work to do (there are 2700 tiles), and given my crazy summer schedule, it may take me months to finish, but I promise I’ll update you here and on Facebook as I make more progress. Wish me luck!