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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wonky's Mosaic

Well, as promised, I got to work over these past couple of days and made a memorial for departed Wonky. The first few nights my bottom remained as usual in its indent on the couch by the fire, my ear on the trash TV and my finger on the ipad bejewls. Old night time addictions are hard to break. But on Tuesday afternoon Eldest Monkey Boy desperately wanted to pay a visit to the Eureka Tower and Littlest Monkey Boy desperately didn't. So our family went our separate ways and Littlest Monkey Boy and I got down to some mosaic-making.

Now Ali and Shangri La were keen for me to do a little tutorial on how to mosaic. And I am eager to satisfy at least two people who may be reading this blog. But I've warned you I am a complete novice - I'm even more of a novice mosaicer than gardener. But I'm a bit like Monkey Man - I'll give things a go. Monkey Man has taught me a few things actually. A combination of tightness with money, delusion and healthy ego has convinced Monkey Man that it's possible to do almost anything yourself and he'd much rather do that than pay a professional. He's installed our ducted heating, plastered, plumbed, floorboarded... he even put together our internal staircase from kit. That took quite a few days of cursing. But it hasn't fallen down yet. Unlike the plaster which is cracking all over the place. I did put my foot down when he said he'd make our curtains - he can't thread a needle, let alone operate a sewing machine.

So Littlest Monkey Boy was keen to work on the mosaic stepping stone for Wonky. I suggested we have his name "Wonky" and then maybe some wonky designs or a chicken foot. I reckon I could draw a chook foot. But Littlest Monkey was having none of it. Nope there had to be a picture of an actual chicken - a chicken that looked like Wonky. I can't draw. And I certainly can't draw chickens. But Littlest Monkey got out a pencil and paper and drew a very good picture of a chicken. I was impressed. And, I thought, if all of you out in blogworld see this mosaic but know that a 6 year old has had a hand in it they won't judge it so harshly. No need to feel quite so ashamed if it looks crappy. So I was inspired and gushing with praise as we made a pencilled drawing of the chook on the cement block. And then I remembered that Wonky probably was actually a rooster so we added more pronounced rooster bits and decided on the colours that we'd use on our mosaic. In retrospect we really should have used a lighter colour (not dark green) as the background to contrast with Wonky's blackness but Littlest Monkey was adamant that it had to be green for grass.
Now here's a pic of the equipment we used to mosaic. As I've said, I'm no professional and everything I've learnt I've learnt from google so if I've got things wrong and you reckon this stone will fall apart or that I should have used super glue or something, please let me down gently. 

I bought this stepping stone from Bunnings for a couple of dollars. The coloured mosaic glass tiles were not cheap. It would be much better to have a lovely collection of old bits of tiles or broken china and stuff. But I haven't collected much yet. I have managed some broken bits of mirror and these we used but in the meantime this is a fairly expensive hobby as I have resorted to buying specially made bits of tile that you can get at craft or hardware shops. These do have the advantage however of being all the same width which makes things easier and you get an even stepping stone. I got a tile cutter which also makes things easier and is safer with littlies but you could just smash things up with a hammer I think. I used adhesive and grout that we had for tiling the bathroom. Not sure if this is the best for mosaic outdoor stepping stones but that's what was used.
I snipped the tiles into little bits, spread some adhesive on a section of the mosaic with a chopstick and Littlest Monkey got to work attaching bits of tile. Occasionally I re-adjusted tiles to move them closer together or fill the gaps or make the edges straight but mostly I didn't need to intervene too much. In fact, I was surprised at just how patient he was. Littlest Monkey Boy yak-yaked away while he worked and only got tired of it after about an hour when he started taking regular trampoline breaks. This first stage from design to last stick of a tile took two hours.
The next day Littlest Monkey got fed up and left me to finish off. I mixed up some grout and rubbed it all over the tiles filling all the gaps. I got a dry rag and then rubbed the tiles clean. This might sound obvious (unless you're a bit thick like me) but don't leave it to dry before you rub off. I did in my first mosaic attempt and of course the grout was impossible to remove.  I then left it to dry overnight. The next day I popped it into the ground on the spot where Wonky is buried behind the chook shed and in front of a few chilli plants. You'll notice in the photo that I've left a few weeds growing nearby - I'm industrious only to a point.
Now if you'd like to see some really good mosaics pop over to Meg & Mum's blog as recommended by Jeanetteanne I was sure to do this after I'd finished our Wonky project so that I didn't get too intimidated.

14 comments:

  1. I think it's a wonderful memorial for Wonky (and thanks for the instructions)

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  2. Your baby is so lovely and his attempt at mosaic is exceptional, well I think so anyway as I am completely useless at mosaic even though I have made a few feeble attempts. Glad you like Megs mum Chris;s beautiful mosaic. Keep practising as they say it makes perfect. Although on second thoughts perfect is a bit boring. xx

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  3. that is a gorgeous chook! I think Wonky would be proud of you and the Littlest Monkey.

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  4. That is so beautiful! Good work Little Monkey!

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  5. Adorable!! I love it! It looks like he enjoyed doing it and the colour choices are great. What a lovely way for Wonky to be remembered. :)
    Thanks for the tag to Meg and Mum's. Mum's almost finished her next project so hopefully I will have a post on that soon. But DON'T be intimidated. She has been doing it pretty much 24/7 in her little doghouse at the back so she's getting plenty of practice. She had no idea what she was doing at first and was a little daunted by it, but she's had lots of practice now :)

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  6. Nice one! A fitting memorial...and another fine artist in the making I think.

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  7. Oh I think this is a fabulous mosaic. And that definitely looks like a chicken. I have drawn chickens before, but I have to draw them hiding behind a tree.

    So I really like the idea of a mosaic, and would like to give one a go. And to be honest, I like your tutorial much better than one of pristine perfection, because I think that just perhaps it looks like something that I might actually be able to achieve.

    I tell you what I think, and that is that Wonky is one lucky rooster (or chicken).

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  8. A fitting tribute to a well loved chook/rooster. I think it is a great way to teach the little lad about death and dying as well, and a celebration of life.

    Gav x

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  9. I am going to start collecting broken china and tiles now. Great work.

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  10. Oh how gorgeous! You've inspired me for sure! A lovely farewell to Wonky!

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  11. very impressive, I too have let that grout dry and then tried to rub it off!

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  12. Very sad to read about Wonky but I just love it and the mosaic and it is very chook like!! I have been wanting to mosaic something for ages and do in fact have the collection of broken china - every time we break any crockery the leftovers go in my mosaic box..... About two years ago I bought tile cutters and some glue- maybe I should actually attempt a mosaic!!!! After all I did a 500 piece jigsaw over Easter - can't be much more time consuming than that! Off to Bunnings tomorrow to buy a stepping stone!!

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  13. Hey VG! Did you go to the open permaculture garden in Preston today? I was wondering if I might see you there!

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  14. Hi Mrs Bok. No I didn't I read about it in the paper though. How was it? What did you learn? We went to an event by Maribyrnong council on Sustainable Living at Footscray Arts Centre. Lots of great talks and activities but unfortunately virtually no-one there this morning. Kids had a great time with Melbourne Water exhibit making insects out of clay and looking at insects.

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