Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Over this past winter, I began a series of mosaic panels around a "hair" theme, mainly based on an image in my mind of an exhibit consisting of multiple pieces, all with the same basic design of a long, undulating shape with a woman's face, but all done with different colors and andamento.  I bounced my idea off of Mike, who felt it would be a good practice for me to repeat the same design over and over, and to create a collection that could be presented as a real body of work.

I began with some long wedi scraps I had lying around, cutting them to the shape I had in my mind.  The first was purple, and very rudimentary, though I did practice using a more classical style of setting my tesserae by cutting all of my glass shards into little squares, which I found tedious.  Also, this piece is ungrouted, which is sort of the trendy way to work in Mosaic-land, but I rarely feel comfortable with my own work ungrouted.

In the meantime, I felt the need to go back to my persistent interest in mythology and culture to explore stories like Rapunzel while trying to understand why we put so much emphasis on hair.  I mean, why do we save locks of hair as mementos?  Why do women have to cover their heads in certain religions?  Why does our hairstyle tell the world so much about our identities?  Why wasn't I allowed to cut my hair until 7th grade?  Why does our hair even grow the way it does, on our heads, and continuously?

I've been keeping a sketch journal and reading whenever I find time, making notes, drawings, and writing about my own personal hair story.  It is pretty fascinating (to me.)  Here's a bit of trivia for you: The ancient sun gods were depicted as an orb with golden rays (sometimes interpreted as shining hair) emerging, which evolved into the halo as a symbol of divinity, which turned into a crown worn by royalty to indicate their divine right to the throne.

I've been working hard to stick to this theme, but I'm aching to make something different.  I keep small, simple projects going on the side as an outlet for my need for change.  The hair series keeps evolving, and while I've stuck with the theme, it won't be a room full of the same image over and over.  I just can't do it. Now, my symbolism has turned personal, and the mosaic on my easel deals more with my childhood, in which hair played a significant role.

Also, some upcoming exhibits required submissions, and I feel this work is my best foot forward, so they may start getting distributed to various shows, if I'm accepted.  Even if they are not accepted, I will not be in a position to reject potential buyers, and I've had inquiries.  So, my vision of a traveling Hair exhibit is slowly fading.

This one is titled "Growing" which is what it is really all about.

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