Sunrise over the Range and the Changing Seasons

How a Kitchen Mosaic Came to Life

Throughout this winter and early spring, I designed, created and installed what I feel is my best work to date. The teacher in me feels compelled to share a little bit about the process, I hope you enjoy!

Last fall, my clients Michael and Jette, who have also become good friends, began designing and making plans for a complete kitchen makeover in their house in Florence. Though Michael is a poet and literary translator, he worked for many years as a contractor, so he has done many kitchen renovations. He always knew that when it came time to do his own kitchen, that it would¬†combine the best features that he had seen in all of the others; it would be the kitchen of his and Jette’s dreams. Every single element of the kitchen is custom built, top of the line and very intentional.

As for the mosaic, they knew they wanted an impressionistic style landscape to span the entire kitchen (almost 40 square feet of wall space), including elements of nature such as water, hills, trees, sky, sunrise and sunset. They wanted it to span the different times of day and different seasons of the year. Because their house is surrounded by nature and woods, they wanted to bring that nature right inside the house!

In December, I began working on the design. Here is a picture of one version, which I made minor changes to.
It’s done in watercolors, to scale.

Goldman Painted Design

Michael and Jette were instrumental in the design process, and were very good at communicating what they liked and what they wanted to see changed. I was so grateful for that! Once we were all in agreement about the design, I re-painted it to the full size. Then, I shopped for the materials. I purchased sheets of stained glass from a company called Delphi, and began the epic process of cutting and arranging the pieces, laying them out directly over the full sized design. They were held down temporarily on sheets of contact paper, my favorite method of assembly, called the Double Reverse Method. I worked on this stage for about 6 weeks.

Here are a few pictures of that process:

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When I was finished, I covered the entire mosaic with another sheet of contact paper, cut it into about 40 sections (each was roughly 1 square foot) and made a map with hashmarks so I would know exactly how the pieces fit back together. This made it easy to stack the sections and bring them to Michael and Jette’s house for installation.

Here are some pictures of the mosaic all cut up!

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By the time I was finished, it was early April, and the rest of the kitchen had been completed, so it was time to install it! The beautiful wooden countertop and cabinets, the stainless steel sink, the floor, the window had all been replaced and looked stunning. Michael worked with me to install the mosaic, which was wonderful. All of his tile setting experience was so valuable and made the process more efficient than if I had hired someone with less experience to assist me.

We re-assembled the sections of mosaic on the floor in the dining room and peeled off the contact paper from the back side of the glass, so it was face-mounted on the contact paper. Then, we mixed up the mortar one small batch at a time and troweled it onto the wall in sections. Together, we lifted each section of mosaic, carefully so the pieces stayed intact, and affixed them in place on the wall. This process took almost three days. The corner seams and edges around all of the outlets required some extra attention and fine-tuning, but the beauty of mosaic is that it’s all in pieces anyway, so adjustments are a normal part of the process!

GoldmanInstallation

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Once the mortar started to set, we could peel off the contact paper from the surface. After the mortar had set completely (the next day) we grouted the whole piece. We settled on four different colors of grout, to enhance the design. The goal is that the grout color isn’t the most obvious thing you notice, that it complements the colors of the mosaic. I think we chose the right colors because there is a harmonious feeling.

Overall, I am thrilled with the outcome and very proud to show it off. I am grateful to Michael and Jette for giving me the opportunity to really stretch myself as an artist. They were so supportive and communicative all throughout. This process required me to take risks artistically and to work in an impressionistic style that I hadn’t tried before, but I am intrigued to further explore.

I am excited to take on more projects of this scale, and hope that by sharing the photos and a little bit about the process, I will encounter the next opportunity!

Impressionistic Landscape Mosaic Backsplash, Goldman Kitchen, Florence, MA

Impressionistic Landscape Mosaic Backsplash, Goldman Kitchen, Florence, MA

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