Saturday, March 31, 2007

how about chickens?

Ok, so as the resident straight guy who's been invited to post on an arts and crafts blog, I'm feelin' a little bit like Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. So as not to get too freaky on y'all, I thought I'd start with a nice suzie-homemakerish post about a cake dish I did that had chickens on it.

I'm not kidding. My mom was doing her kitchen up in a chickens theme, so for Christmas I made her a couple things. The first was a rooster mosaic that could serve as a trivet, but also makes a nice wall hanging. I started by drawing on a charger I bought at target (I didn't know what a charger was, but apparently it's something you put a dish on). Then I put in the glass tiles:

Then I proceeded to fill it in some more...

Until it was done. Normally I'd then grout it, but for some reason I wanted to try not grouting a piece once. I think sometimes the grout takes away the ability to see the whole tile, so the effect is a sort of muting of the colors. Since there were some bright colors here, I went sans grout.

Then I mixed up this special epoxy. You mix it and it heats up, then you pour it and gently blow on it. The carbon dioxide in your breath removes all the bubbles. Comes out like glass.

I kind of wish I had grouted it though. But whatever, it came out pretty well. Next I decided to put some chickens on a cake plate (which I also got at target). I started by finding a suitable chicken pic, blowing it up, cutting it out, and putting it on the plate via permanent marker.

Then I just started choosing colors and filling in...

Finally it was filled in:

This one I grouted.

Then you have to wait til the grout dries a bit, and wipe it off with a wet sponge. This part is a pain in the ass, because if you don't wait long enough it just spreads around. But the biggest reason it's a pain in the ass is that the tiles have little grooves in them. This means that you have to remove grout from each tile. The only way I've found to do this is with a toothpick, picking it out of each tile individually. That's right. Trust me, I tried everything before I finally settled on that method. Now you can see why I experimented with not grouting the rooster.

That had to dry for at least 24 hours. Then I mixed the epoxy and glassed it in. You let it drip over the sides to create a nice smooth edge. Once the drips dry you have to sand them off.

After it dried, though, it was (if I do say so myself) pretty impressive. The epoxy is just as hard and clear and smooth as glass. Crazy.

And the final product (the circle in the middle is a reflection of my overhead kitchen light):

I wrapped it up in bubble wrap, newspaper, cardboard, etc. and mailed it off marked FRAGILE!!!! in about a thousand places. When we went to visit my mom, she opened it, and as she picked up the box I heard clinking. My heart sunk. It was busted. Luckily, though, only the bottom part of the stand broke!! The top was in tact. Bill, the genius that he is, took it out to his shop and ground the bottom flat and smooth. So now it's a slightly shorter, but still functional, cake plate. Voila!

Man, it took everything I had not to swear in that post. Can we swear here? I saw pictures of children.

Next up: the lamp from hell.


a witt said...

Dave, I hope you don't mind but I just HAD to enable comments on your post... Dunno if you disabled. Sorry! But I didn't want to miss the opportunity to say that you've blown my mind with your new hobby. I'm so glad you posted this! I'm excited to see what else you do.

You guys should see these things up close... They're like paintings!!

I think some cussing is okay here... Anyone else have thoughts on that? Me, I'm from the crafty bitch school of thought. But I don't wish to offend.

Oh, and Chis says "grouting the rooster" sounds dirty.


Clubbs said...

Mosaics fascinate me. How do you get your pieces? Do you break dishes or can you just buy them? I love the pieces you have done.

Oh, and by the by, my sister also has a chicken and rooster themed kitchen...not that I expect you to make her a mosaic.

Regarding the cussing, there are pictures of my kids, but uh, my kids can't read yet, so cussing is fine by me, dammit. I can't see how you could make it through the mosaic making process without swearing a little.