Updated: Apr 28, 2022
I make glass mosaics for all sorts of different reasons.
But what they all have in common is that I like to give myself a challenge. Like in this case, sometimes an image just strikes me, and I think to myself, what would that look like as a glass mosaic? Usually, after letting an idea percolate, it always comes back to, "can do this justice?" And there inlays the challenge.
This glass mosaic completed itself quickly.
I just sat down and started glueing.
I focused on tight grout lines, mixing different colours as I saw them and followed my intuition.
I always get to this point and wonder if I really need grout.
In the end, it always comes down to longevity, stability and the fact I want to be a good mosaic artist, and that includes grout. Just like laying glass, grouting is its own art. I’m never going to get better by going around so, I’m going to enjoy the journey through.
I had planned from the get-go that the primary grout colour I would use to grout would be brown.
I used Mapei UltraColour Grout in Mocha.
I like to mix my grout to a peanut butter consistency. While I sit and let it cure, I tape the sides and make sure I have my paintbrush and spritz bottle.
I like to put the grout on thick usually starting from the center and working my way outwards. I like to use a paintbrush and spritz my mosaic with water as I work. After the glass has been covered I re-wet the grout all over with the spritz bottle. I find that gravity helps the grout settle. I use the thirsty brush technique to absorb excess fluid.
I do this over and over until I have the slightest film on the glass creating the most flush grout I can. It takes time. The below time-lapse video is a 3-hour session in my studio and I repeat this technique six times. Then I let it dry.
Grouting Time Lapse
Why do I not clean off the grout and let it dry on my piece?
Because I am innately a lazy person. Therefore my goal is always to grout once.
I also want to ensure that my mosaics are as safe as can be, so I try to make the grout as flush with the glass as possible.
You can tell you have done this process right if, when the mosaic has dried a simple smudge of a finger will remove the grout film without any problem like below.
Pick and Polish
Every mosaic has a pick and polish phase. You can do this dry but then it gets really dusty. I wet the mosaic and give it a bit of a scrub with a toothbrush and use a cloth to wipe away the excess bits. Then I take a bamboo skewer and pick off any difficult grout areas. I re-wet it down and wipe it with a cloth or a shop-vac works well too. I remove the tape, any pits of dust or grout and polish it up.
So this looked ok but I wondered if it needed more. The bear just doesn't have the same loud effect it did before the grout.
After looking and contemplating for a while I decided the grout lines of the bear needed to be changed. The light source comes from the back left of the composition so I decided that the bear would look better with more shadow.
Fresh Catch #013122
I am proud of what I made and do think I did my original idea justice. I'm glad I changed up the grout colour as it makes the bear more the focus and seems to be something I am doing more and more in my work.
What do you think? Have you ever seen this grout technique before? Do you like my decision to change the grout colour on the bear?
Any constructive criticism is welcome as I am all about growth.
On to the next challenge.
As always, incredibly grateful to continue learning, creating, teaching, and inspiring.
Artist and Instructor