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My Seventh Grade Art Teacher Was Right

By Cindy Hale

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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Good old Mr. Stoia. He was my art teacher in Junior High. He had a gentle, over-grown flower child personality and a thick black mustache that draped across the rim of his upper lip like a lazy cat. Toward the end of my first semester he made this astute observation regarding my artistic talent: “Horses are the only subject matter you can portray with any amount of passion.”

Things haven’t changed much. The best Christmas tree ornaments that I produce and the most unique jewelry I string together feature horses as the focal point. Once I discovered the aesthetic appeal of mosaics, using bits of opaque stained glass to create landscape scenes, I was literally off and running. After all, what’s a lovely pastoral scene without a horse (or two or three) in the foreground?

Eventually, however, I realized that what I truly enjoyed about making horsey mosaics was the horse. Spending hours chipping glass to bring forth foliage is nice, but my heart really just wanted my hands to crank out horses. So I came upon an idea: Make mosaics of fantasy horses. No trees, no hills, no puffy white clouds cluttering the background, just make the horse. Each individual horse would be one of a kind, and express a specific mood or concept. Though I’d stay true to general equine conformation, they’d have a light, airy touch to their shape. Plus I’d have the freedom to use color and embellishments to help express each horse’s “personality.”

With all of this rainy day weather, I had plenty of time to get to work on my new art project. Here are some photos that document how I made my first prototype. He measures about 30 x 20-inches.


Life with Horses - My Seventh Grade Art Teacher Was Right

 

First I drew a sketch of the horse on ¾-inch MDF board. Then Ron—who fortunately is very gifted with a jigsaw—cut out the shape. I then sealed it and painted it with white primer. Then I penciled in the pattern and filled it in with hand-snipped bits of stained glass. Yes, he’s missing a mane and tail, but that’ll come later.


Life with Horses - My Seventh Grade Art Teacher Was Right

 

This second photo is a close up of me slathering on the grout. This is not only the messiest part of the mosaic process, but it’s also the scariest. All that glistening glass gets gooped up with ugly, gritty grout. And I’m the one responsible for selecting the right color of grout (I chose dark gray here) and mixing it to the correct consistency.


Life with Horses - My Seventh Grade Art Teacher Was Right

 

Once the grout begins to set up, I GENTLY wipe it off with a damp sponge. This is a tedious process, but as you can see in this close-up the beautiful glass comes through unscathed and the intricacies of the pattern are soon revealed.


Life with Horses - My Seventh Grade Art Teacher Was Right

 

I had planned all along to create this horse’s tail and mane from metallic craft wire embellished with glass beads. The tricky part was adding a little flourish to the end of each strand of wire with a little curlicue. Once again, Ron came in handy because he carefully drilled holes in the neck and the, uhm, “tail area” for my horse’s hairdo. Then I used glue specifically for wire and metals to anchor the hair implants in place.


Life with Horses - My Seventh Grade Art Teacher Was Right

 

Voila! Here’s my first mosaic horse, “Free Spirit.” Though he belongs on a wall, I perched him atop one of my patio chairs for this photo. I hope Mr. Stoia would approve!

If you enjoy creating horsey-themed crafts or art of any type, I’d love to hear from you. Recently I received an email from one of my blog readers who adds artistic touches to horse shoes, some of them once worn by celebrity horses. You can either share your comments and ideas here, by clicking on Submit a Comment below, or email me at hc-editor@bowtieinc.com.

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Reader Comments

Teresa    Escanaba, MI

7/31/2011 6:12:17 PM

that's very pretty. I especially like the horse's face designs.

CINDY HALE    HORSE CHANNEL, CA

2/17/2010 9:53:50 PM

THANKS! ONCE I ACCUMULATE A "HERD" OF VARIOUS MOSAIC HORSES AND HORSEY LANDSCAPE SCENES, I DO INDEED PLAN ON SELLING THEM. I THINK I MIGHT TRY SETTING UP A VENDOR'S BOOTH AT A MAJOR HORSE SHOW. OR PERHAPS I CAN SELL MOST OF THEM LOCALLY, SINCE THERE ARE SO MANY HORSE LOVERS OUT HERE. EVENTUALLY I COULD DO WORK ON COMMISSION, LIKE CREATING LIKENESSES OF SOMEONE'S SPECIAL HORSEY.

Denise    Hayden, AL

2/16/2010 6:49:55 AM

That is just lovely. You truly have a gift.

Skyler    Chino Hills, CA

2/13/2010 10:47:03 PM

What wonderful work!! You should be showing and selling your talent ... er, you know what I mean!

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