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Mosaic ScrapBooking / Mosaic Cuttings Storage (c)

mosaic scrapbook-ozmosaics(c) Original Tip from OzMosaics by Sandy Robertson - Mosaic Artist/teacher.
I am indeed mosaically blessed with a studio and studio mosaic shop jammed to the ceiling with smalti, ceramic, mirror, glitter backed tiles, vitreous tiles, porcelain, fusings - everything I need to mosaic forever and my fingertips.  BUT - I can't bear to waste tesserae, mosaic materials etc and even the tiniest little shard is precious to me. 

I am sharing my mosaic Scrapbook storage system, particularly for offcuts of china and ceramic, where one side is plain and the other patterned or different colours and I want to flip through a book of offcuts... mosaic remnants.  Once you have your mosaic Scrapbooks on the go, you will find it easy to get into a system of adding leftovers regularly as you will appreciate this time saving mosaic "book of sorts".  It's something to do when you need to have a mosaic "breather", perhaps to clear you head or fiddle around with music or tv in the background.  Sometimes I do this, when I am planning a mosaic project and messing with mosaic doodles on the workbench, then taping them together and adding them to the mosaic scrapbook - can be fun and productive (and you also have mosaics taped together, with grout spacing allowed, to pull off the scrapbook pages and embed into your adhesive, in a mosaic project.... my students understand this well!).

Gather up:
-Newspapers, particularly useful the stapled newspaper inserts, weekend magazines;  old Women's Weekly, Women's Day - any magazines to use as your Mosaic Scrapbook.
-Sticky tape - wide and thin- clear
-Sticky tape dispenser and packing tape dispenser
-shards that need sorting and storing
-stapler and felt pen to name your mosaic book.  Feels like school?
Before you laugh and think "never would this work" take a moment.  I am not saying to store every piece of china or pile of shards in a mosaic scrapbook.I am suggesting that those special offcuts, precious bits of pink bone china, little tiny roses or fabulous polka dots, perhaps your blue and white china offcuts...that are special, that you can't bear to toss out but tossing them in a container of the shelf, means you have good intentions of using them up in another mosaic, but it's easier (tell the truth!) to get a fresh cup or saucer and start nibbling away with your Leponitts.  But what if you only need a little piece of china, why waste, why not have your mosaic scrapbook on hand?  Browse a few pages to find that little precious pieces and use it!  Or lots of special shards and leftovers - the tiniest pieces make divine tesserae.

Most mosaic artists, crafters and enthusiasts know to store their tesserae (tiles and stuff) in containers of some sort.  In my workshops I show many ideas for storage but here is my method to store china offcuts, shards and odds and ends.  

It's impossible to store chopped, diced, sliced, nipped and nibbled china in individual containers - every cup or plate has a different pattern and once you  have used the main motif or  colour you have what I call "mosaic leftovers".   The annoying thing with patterned china (etc) is that often it is upside down in the box of tricks and you can't see what you have!  You fiddle and turn and get frustrated and run to the shelf to get a fresh thing to nibble and shape.

mosaic-bible-green-offcut-shards-artNow, you know leftovers of the food variety are awesome to eat and often frozen or found in the fridge to devour. Well, you don't eat your mosaic shards (unless doing a JellyBelly mosaic or a foodie mosaic) but you have "delicious, pretty, precious" offcuts that you may need "later on in another mosaic".  A  mosaic feast of leftovers stored in a mosaic scrapbook.  The book of mosaics.

Drum Roll, enter Sandy's Book of Shards,  Mosaic Cuttings,  Leftovers or Mosaic Scrapbooking.

A  mosaic "bible" of bits and pieces.

How to make the Mosaic Scrapbooks?

Buy large scrapbooks, just like the good old days at school where you used to paste in pictures or I use newspapers, or old magazines etc as the scrapbook pages.

mosaic-bookThe Courier Mail "U on Sunday" or  magazines, any paper book that is stapled together is perfect.  If you have one of those fancy fangled staplers that can staple down the centre of a page, then just use a pile of newspaper.  Lots of ideas you can do, but the main thing is you are reusing "newspapers or magazines" as your holding pages for your mosaic shards and goodies.

mosaic-tesserae-yellow-bookAs the shards are often from plate rims, cuts, saucers, bowls, vases, whatever...if they are heavy when stuck to the mosaic "scrapbook", to stop the page "tearing" when turning the book pages,  simply staple a few pages together to give more support for the scrapbook page.

If you use china or odds and ends, you will really appreciate this storage system.  It stacks leftovers flat, makes it easy to source colourways.  Stick pinks in the Mosaic Pink Offcuts, Blues in the Book of Blues etc. or whatever suits your mosaic mood.

I pile the "mosaic scrapbooks" on a shelf, move them around on a serving tray or put them in boxes marked with the colour of the mosaic books stored in the box.

Make up the following Mosaic Books:

Greens, Blues, Yellows, Whites, Florals, Stripes, whatever, mixes, Pinks, Reds, Oranges, Blue and Whites, you get the idea.
Just keep adding more offcuts and shards to the mosaic colour books, whether it be one bit or a lot!  It soon builds up and you have some really interesting combinations of tesserae at your mosaic fingertips.  It might feel excessive and hard work to start with, but don't do every box on scrap on your shelf. just start from leftovers of the current project and add more from older containers as you get time.

Now get a roll of sticky tape, good quality on a heavyweight dispenser (not those stupid little lightweight cheap dispensers!) and also have a packing gun dispenser with a roll of quality wide, clear sticky tape installed in the dispenser.

The idea is:
At the end of a mosaic marathon or just a small  mosaic moment, instead of chucking your china  leftovers into containers on the shelf or in a bucket etc, never to see the light of another mosaic day (own up, it's easier to grab a fresh cup or saucer to nibble up, than search for a previously chomped mosaic plate etc leftover), take a mosaic  moment to put them into your mosaic book of shards.

mosaic-cutting-blue-book....  For example, if you have mosaic leftovers in the form of yellow and white dotted china, go and grab the Mosaic Book of Yellow Shards (scrapbook) and open it to a new page or search pages that may already have something similar or would mix and match!  Place the leftovers on the page and then stick them to the page with a long strip of sticky tape.  If they are heavy add some more tape for support to the  newspaper etc.

You can line up offcuts, shards, cuttings on your workbench or even arrange in a mosaic "doodle", just "pick it up" by running sticky tape down the line or criss cross (if a flower for example) and lift and then stick into your mosaic scrapbook.  Or as I said before, lay it all down directly on the newspaper page of your scrapbook and stick in one go.  Whatever works for you at the time. 

It soons builds up into an interesting mosaic book!  Next time you need some yellow for a mosaic, open the Yellow Book of Shards and have a look for that one piece that might work ....or lots of pieces.   Great way to make a "patchwork pot" or perhaps a mosaic butterfly, whatever your mosaic whim.

To remove selected tesserae from the Mosaic Scrapbook, just snip off with scissors as much as you want and tape the balance of the leftovers back to the mosaic page.

It's easy to carry the tesserae (mosaic material) to the mosaic in progress as it's held on the tape. Remove as you need it.  When making mosaic flowers, pushed into thinset, these wonderful mixes in the scrapbook are turned into mosaic posies in a mosaic minute!

Not rocket science but it sure works for me and many of my appreciative students!

pink tile_tesserae-mosaicYou can "tear out a page" of mix and match or certain colours of mosaics" and mix the shards with any tesserae or mosaic materials you are working into your current mosaics.  You never know when that little scrap of tile will make the eye of a fish, feathes of a mosaic bird or background fill!  All I know is it's fantastic to "see on hand" lots of wonderful mosaic bits and pieces that you can shape into lovely mosaic tesserae, from squares, circles, rectangles, crazy mosaic paving or wonderful, fantastic 3-D florals and more! 

Do a workshop at OzMosaics and have hands on experience, inspiration and join the excited ever-growing group of Sandy's students!  We all bounce ideas off the wall, the mosaics and each other.  Sharing, caring and growing our mosaic ideas, methods, techniques and of course, mosaic addiction. We love mosaics, in all shapes and sizes...come what may!

Contemporary mosaic artists have no fear, will step out of the traditional mosaic comfort zone and explore, believing in the tried and true, tested and beloved mosaic techniques of the masters of mosaics of yesterday...but bringing fresh ideas to the mosaic table!  Modern mosaicists are in a world of their own and work to the beat of their own hammer and hardie, Leponnit mosaic cutters, hammer, a tossed plate or goodness knows what.... and are forever on the hunt, exploring for new tesserae, testing new adhesives, running amok with mosaics and turning a deaf ear to the "that's not mosaics" bores of this world.   

If you are a tesserae snob, (really is there only smalti in your mosaic world???) are not really living a full mosaic life.  If you only have a handle on a hammer and hardie, good luck to you!  If you are stuck in a stained glass world or think all grout lines should be even (good grief!) or if you feel the need to say opus and andamento in every second sentence (get a life!).....explore, don't ignore.  Touch, feel, try, give, share, find what works for you and go for it.

mosaic-circles-white-tileIf you think using cups and saucers is not fitting tesserea, you need to think again or you really don't know what's going on.....Have you seen the inside of china, explored cracks and crazing, rubbed gold paint or gunk into the crazing to highlight it's beauty? 

Have you combined the most awesome shades of china, crockery, pots, earthen ware, pyrex, crystal, etc etc etc it's inners and sat it happily next to Orsoni, Mexican or Dynasty smalti?   Layered, turned things upside down, imprinted and lifted....edgy, exciting stuff!

 If not, why not?  Get out and dig deeper.  And then there's the amazing textures you can add to glass, the inside of bottles and's incredible. 

See you in class?  mosaic hugs from the Lady with the Leps!

Store cup handles, bottoms, plate bottom ridges etc in buckets so when you need them you just upend the bucket on your worbench, perhaps on a tray, sort to find what you want, and then sweep the remainder back into your bucket with a dust pan brush.  Many artists hate the ridges under the plates, I can't get enough of them, useful, fantastic tesserae!

Excessive amounts of white china offcuts - just store them in buckets or boxes, they make fantastic background fill, mosaic white flowers, or cut into little rectangles and mix with your smalti or vitreous tiles.  Feathers, petals, today I showed the students how the rims of plates make the loveliest of patterns, truly stunning andamento...opus rimulatum!  Stay tuned.

Hundreds of mosaic ideas come to mind to use the white china, whether flat or 3-D.  Bases of plates are just stunning and every edge is gorgeous.  The shades of white always make me go weak at my mosaic knees! 

If you make a mosaic scrapbook please email a pic and I will add it here.  We used to stick the runs of tesserae scraps to plastic sleeves, but the newspaper scrapbook holds it all together more easily. Keep checking back!  Join my mailing list as soon I will be putting tips and tricks in newsletters and in my online mosaic school.  More mosaic tips and tricks coming! 

Today in the workshop I discovered a fabulous way to remove/slice away excess sticky tape whilst working with sticky tape mosaic motifs!  It was one of the mosaic moments when I said to the students "now why didn't I think of that before".  I was so happy to run the workshop today, apart from having a mosaic ball with the students, I gained myself a new tip that had been niggling me for a long time and it was right under my mosaic nose!  LOL!

Sign up for my newsletter to find out more and when I update the blogs video clips, news etc.
I will upload a little video clip in due course, the video shows so  much more of the mosaic scrapbooks.
Comments welcome.

(c) Studio OzMosaics Sandy Robertson

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OzMosaics provides a safe, happy environment for the making of mosaics! award-mosaic

Situatied in the hills of Coorparoo, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia our grand old Queenslander provides a mosaic haven for mosaic artists.

Students visit from around the world to learn with Sandy Robertson. 

Dave Robertson, Customer Service & Sales Manager takes pride in running the business, co-ordinating the Mosaic School and Workshops, plus shipping out mosaic orders on a daily basis! 

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