Tag Archives: Mosaic

My Luggage Exploded!

5 Jan

Packing Tips for Artists

Luggage strapped together with bungie cords and plastic wrap? Tee shirts and tesserae strewn along the tarmac? Bonnie Fitzgerald is a travel veteran with three mosaic retreats planned for 2013 (so far!). I’m betting she knows more than your average Joe about the proper valise. Do you?
Don’t Carry your Jewels in a Paper Sack, by Bonnie Fitzgerald
‘Tis the season to purchase GOOD LUGGAGE. If you’re taking trips and schlepping materials, a good suitcase can save you time, money and muscle. Luggage has entered a new realm of efficiency and portability, and January is typically a big sale month for . . . you guessed it. There are tons of good manufacturers. Try a spin around your local mall and take a few for a test drive. You can also research the best buys on-line. Some suggested features to look for include:
  • Drenched Luggage, HeathrowHard-sides PROTECT what is inside. Hardside polycarbonate is lightweight and durable and allows the shell to absorb impact by flexing when under heavy pressure
  • Expandable design allows flexibility when packing — helpful if you’ll be coming home with more stuff than you left with, and equally helpful if you’re bringing home less since you used up your supplies
  • Multi-directional 4-wheel spinner system makes for super easy maneuverability and smooth, quiet rolling
  • Telescoping handles make a comfortable fit for all
  • Need a little more convincing?
Bon Voyage!

Italy Anyone? May 2013

29 Nov

Eye candy for the soul! Inspiration for the artist.

If you see anything you like, I’ll be leading a mosaic workshop / retreat to Italy May 12 – 18, 2013. Drink in the beauty of old walls and endless vistas, then learn how to translate your photographs into strong mosaic designs. We’ll be working small, so there will be plenty of time to soak up culture, feed the spirit, and try out a new way of being. More information here. More motivation below.

Click on the first photo to enlarge, and then browse your way through a few of my past trips to beautiful Italy. Hope you’ll join me in May!

Packing Tips for Mosaic Retreats

27 Nov

Packing Tips for Artists

Will TSA confiscate my Leps? Can I buy wedi in Turkey? Does the 3 ounce rule apply to Lexel? Help!

Carol Shelkin is a mosaicist on the move, teaching workshops across the US, as well as Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica, with several more continents on the list. So I’m thrilled that she agreed to guest-write this column on packing tips for mosaic artists. Let the planning begin!

Travellin’ Tips from Carol Shelkin:

To make your life easier, I don’t recommend any mosaic art supplies in your carry-on other than substrates or sheets of Tempered Glass (TG). Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules and guidelines are clear (and firm), and protecting your art supplies and getting them to your destination will make for a wonderful art retreat.

The rule is that a liquid or cream-like substance needs to be 3oz or less, and in one plastic quart-sized zipped bag for a carry-on item. No sharp objects or tools may be brought on-board. It’s not wise to bring any “white powdered” grout, colorants or thinset in carry-on luggage. These rules help shape how we must pack for traveling with art supplies.

1. If you are bringing a lot of mosaic art supplies, place them together in one piece of separate luggage to be checked. This way, TSA only has to “rummage” through one piece of luggage. Again, check this luggage — do not bring it on board. Be aware that weight limits are 40 – 50 pounds per bag, and do check your airline for specific weight restrictions. Test-Pack and weigh your luggage well before leaving for the airport. If it looks like you’ll be over the weight requirement, it might be less costly to pay for extra weight than to separate your supplies into two checked bags. Fees should be listed on each airline website. Beads, millefiori, some tiles and embellishments with NO sharp edges may be brought in a carry-on. If you’re unsure of a specific item, do NOT bring it on board; pack it with bags to be stowed in the cargo area!

Travel Packing Tips

2. Allow for expansion and contraction of filled tubes by pouring/or squeezing some adhesive out and leaving a bit of empty space in the container. Wrap all tools and supplies in bubble wrap (small bubble size) and secure with painters tape. Enclose all art supplies in clear, plastic zip-top bags and then place in a clear plastic shoebox-style bin, and then in a plastic trash bag (preferably clear) in your suitcase. This allows airport security to quickly view and approve your items, and spend less time handling your supplies. In some cases the pressure and temperature change in an airplane’s cargo area and can cause tubes of adhesive to leak or burst. Zip-lock plastic bags, plastic bins, and trash bags help keep messes contained.

3. Use painters’ tape to close the shoe box, and be sure to mark shoe boxes (SHARP GLASS – ART SUPPLIES) to allow items to be opened and closed easily by TSA.

4. If using one piece of luggage, pack shoe boxes on top of clothes for TSA’s easy access.

5. Smaller substrates can be packed in the bottom of your suitcase or carried on board. It is not recommended to pack a sheet of TG in luggage, but I’ve brought TG on board many times. Making certain the glass is within the height and width restrictions for carry-ons, simply wrap it in bubble wrap and place in a canvas bag or carry-on luggage.

6. If you work with Silicone, Weldbond, DAP or any adhesive that is not in a powdered form, keep these in the original containers, and again — place them in a zipper bag, clear shoebox bin and small trash bag in case of leakage.

Containers for Travel7. If you’re traveling with thinset, grout, colorants, or anything in powdered form, place these in a heavier weight zipped plastic bag, place the bag in a storage container (see photo), place that container in another zipper plastic bag, in a shoe box and lastly, place the shoebox in a trash bag. Mark the bags and plastic containers: ART SUPPLIES and list the contents (grout, thinset, etc.). Then, place these items in a shoe box (if it fits) also marked ART SUPPLIES. Secure the bag and containers with painters’ tape, since it’s easier for inspectors to open and close. The painters’ tape will adhere each time.

Packing Glass for Travel8. Stained Glass is easier to transport if cut in small 3″x3″ pieces (see photo). It’s suggested to wrap four – five pieces in bubble wrap (small bubble size) and then place them in a shoebox. Mark the shoebox “ART SUPPLIES — SHARP GLASS.” Wrap smalti in bubble wrap and place in shoebox, along with any desired embellishments.

9. Place your name and destination on the outside of each shoebox. Often, inspected items are taken out of luggage and mixed-up, dropped, etc. Let’s make sure they get to you.

10. Make a list of enclosed supplies for your records.

LUGGAGE SUMMARY

The best way to transport supplies is to place them in zip-locked plastic bags or waterproof bags, place these bags in shoe boxes or storage bins, wrap the bins in a  larger plastic bag, and place these in your checked luggage. Substrates packed in carry-on luggage must be able to fit easily in the overhead bins or in the space provided under the seat. Carry-on luggage must not exceed dimension and size limits; check with your airline. You may bring some tesserae on board, as long as there are no sharp edges. Tools may not be brought on board, ever. Keep checked luggage unlocked and at 40 – 50 pounds. Check with your airline for domestic or international flights weight and size limits.

SHIPPING

If you choose to ship items to your overseas destination, allow a month for travel time and be aware of tariffs and taxes. Place both your name and the retreat name / host’s name on the address label and don’t forget to inform the retreat location that you will be shipping supplies. Ask them to contact you when the package arrives. Some retreat locations charge a holding fee if they need to store your supplies for more than three days. This can get tricky and expensive.

You may also call your materials supplier to see if they ship direct. Check the prices, as it might be easier and less expensive to simply pay the “checked baggage” fees when traveling. FedEx or DHL will expedite the supplies, but this can be very costly and is not recommended. Get quotes in advance if you decide to go this route.

COMING HOME

Some airlines do not allow you to check “artwork”, so plan on bringing your work on board as a carry-on. Place a soft towel on top of the mosaic, then wrap in bubble wrap and place in a canvas bag or carry-on luggage.

There you have it: Tips from a Master! If you have additional suggestions or questions about traveling with art supplies, please use the comment section below. And thank you Carol Shelkin!

Sourcing Local Stone Retreat: May, August 2013

14 Nov

Note: May Retreat is 3/4 Full!

Mosaic Retreat: Pennsylvania
What Lies Beneath Our Feet:
Sourcing and Working with Local Stone
with Rachel Sager
May 17 – 20, 2013
August 18 – 23, 2013

Rachel Sager Mosaic Art RetreatsJoin award-winning and internationally exhibited mosaic artist, Rachel Sager Lynch, in her journey into the magic of sourcing local Southwestern Pennsylvania stone and turning it into elegant tesserae, the building blocks of mosaic. This 5 day intensive will cover building a sturdy substrate, mixing and applying high-quality thin-set mortar, cutting with hammer and hardie, the classic tool of the Italian mosaic maestros, learning the nuances of andamento, the flow and pathways of mosaic. The field trip part of the workshop will include Rachel’s singular process of hunting and gathering for her material. This will be a challenging but also contemplative workshop and students will learn valuable cutting skills along with mosaic philosophy. You will leave with a 12” x 12” mosaic but more importantly you will take home specific knowledge of an ancient medium translated into a contemporary format.

Rachel Sager Mosaic Art RetreatsMaterials: Students are asked to bring work clothes, good walking shoes for field trips, an apron, safety glasses, and a stone hammer and hardie if possible. If you are serious about learning to work with stone, you are highly encouraged to invest in the hammer for this class. If not, you will have to share with others. Contact Rachel for information on where to purchase hammer and hardie. Logs to set the hardie into will be ready for you when you arrive. Students are also invited to bring some stone from their own native areas for identification and experimenting.

Details:

Extended Weekend Workshop: May 17-20, 2013
Friday: 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Orientation
Saturday: 9:00 – 5:00, Programming
Sunday: 9:00 – 5:00, Programming
Monday: 9:00 – 2:00, Programming

Weeklong Workshop: August 18-23, 2013
Sunday: 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Orientation
Monday: 9:00 – 5:00, Programming
Tuesday: 9:00 – 5:00, Programming
Wednesday: 9:00 – 5:00, Programming
Thursday: 9:00 – 5:00, Programming
Friday: 9:00 – 5:00, Programming and Clean-Up
Saturday: 10:00 AM Check-Out

Lodging and Meals: Touchstone Center offers full room and board in residence halls or cabins. More information is available here.
Cost: May Workshop Fee will be $300 + $100 Materials Fee + Your Choice Lodging/Meal Plan
August Workshop Fee will be $500 + $100 Materials Fee + Your Choice Lodging/Meal Plan
Registration: Official registration and lodging selections will be available soon through Touchstone; however, students are strongly encouraged to pre-register directly with Rachel.

Rachel Sager Mosaic Art RetreatsMore About Rachel: Rachel Sager Lynch, a Fayette County native, works on the cutting edge of the contemporary mosaic fine art movement. Her work has been represented in cities throughout the U.S. and internationally and has been awarded multiple Bests of Show in juried exhibitions. Her Marcellus Shale Series stands as a true Pittsburgh success story and her work is collected with passion by private clients and corporations all over the world. Her time spent studying with Italian maestros has shaped her mosaic philosophy and she brings these classical techniques home to her native Southwestern PA with its sandstone, limestone, slate and coal seams.

Registration or More Information here.

Rachel Sager’s Website is here.

Touchstone Center’s website is here.

Mosaic Art Retreats: More Mexico 2013

27 Oct

Mosaic Art Retreats

What’s Up in Puerto Vallarta? SIX mosaic retreats at Hacienda Mosaico!

12/2 – 12/8, 2012 Carol Shelkin, Faces, Flowers & The Human Form in Mosaic

2/10 – 2/16, 2013 Woulterina “Riana” de Raad, Life-Size Mosaic-Covered Concrete Sculpture

2/17 – 2/23, 2013 Shug Jones, Fun with Figurative Mosaics

3/3 – 3/9, 2013 Susan Wechsler, Spirit Houses

5/5 – 5/11, 2013 Bonnie Fitzgerald, Large-Scale Mosaic Murals

Read more about Hacienda Mosaico here.

New Worlds

25 Oct

Mosaic Art Retreats

Gotta say — I love this quote. I was 41 before I left home alone on my first international trip, and 42 when I arrived solo for three weeks in a country whose language I couldn’t speak. In fact, I didn’t even know the alphabet! I still remember stepping onto a bus in the dark after 15 hours of travel and being dumbstruck by the reality of what I was doing. How could I have been so naive totally lacking in good sense?????

And I am eternally grateful, because those three weeks alone in Crete taught me more about myself than 42 years of living, and worlds about “foreigners”, adventure, and the biggest risk of all — opening the eyes and heart to new experiences.

More, please.

%d bloggers like this: