Monday, November 16, 2009

Molly's First Communion Cross

Molly's First Communion Cross
Size: Medium Cross Base; 9" x 13"
Materials: Transparent art glass, True blue stained glass, Sapphire crystal beads, Flat glass beads in various colors, White and blue grout, Wood base painted with blue metallic and copper paint.

This beautiful cross has been a long time in the making. Molly's mom, a former client, contacted me several months ago about making a special cross for Molly's First Communion. Two years ago, I made a First Communion cross for Molly's sister, Grace (click here to see Grace's cross), so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to create another special cross for their family.

My client wanted the design to be bright and fun. She also wanted the cross to be similar to - but not matching - Grace's and have stars in the background. I think we accomplished that! I found some awesome flat beads, and the design came together quickly. I painted the base of the cross metallic blue and scattered hand-painted copper stars throughout the background. I used clear glass so the stars would show through the glass.

I have such a love / hate relationship with clear glass. I love that it gives me flexibility: I can paint the base of the cross and whatever I paint shows through. Amazing possibilities. (Two other examples of this technique are my Everlasting Covenant (see it here) and Calm My Anxious Heart (see it here) crosses.) But clear glass also requires absolute perfection in cutting. Glass tends to fracture when not cut perfectly. These fractures are hidden in the glass in non-transparent glass but, with clear glass, any fractures in the glass are obvious when placed on the base. Therefore, my cuts have to be exact; using my nippers to help "fudge" a cut is not an option. The good news is that results are always more than worth it.

The cross is grouted in two different colors ~ blue in the heart and white in the background. I’m out of practice on two color grouting and was a bit concerned about how it would go. The process is tricky and, if it’s not done just right, you can end up with a huge mess instead of a beautiful cross. All of the beads complicated things even further. Luckily, the grouting process went smoothly, and I’m so glad I went for it. Here’s a closeup that shows the different grout colors:

Molly's Cross ~ Close up

To my client, thanks for giving the opportunity to create this mosaic cross for Molly, and thanks for your patience. I wish Molly so much happiness and joy!

In Him,

Marymaking Designs

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Anniversary Cross

I'm excited to share my newest mosaic cross:

The technicalities: This mosaic cross was made on my small cross base (roughly 7.5" x 10"). I used aqua iridescent and deep red stained glass as well as beautiful, sapphire blue glass beads. The cross was finished with bright, white grout.

The juicy details: This mosaic cross is chock-full of great symbolism. My client ordered the cross as an anniversary gift for her husband . . . so the heart symbolizes their love. The "C" is the first initial of their last name. Even the color scheme has meaning as their wedding colors were aqua, sapphire blue and deep red. I just love it when a cross takes on so much special meaning!

The tricky part: For some reason, I have the masochistic tendency to design a cross before I fully figure out how to execute the design. This cross is no exception. I thought a line of beads around the outside of the heart as well as a beaded initial inside the heart would be lovely. (And it is!) I suggested these design elements to my client, and she agreed. What I did not fully think through was how I was going to grout the cross without getting grout in the small and curving bead lines.

The process: I have used similar beaded design elements in my mosaic crosses many times, so I've created a quasi-process for grouting in this situation. At the risk of boring y'all, here are some pictures and a quick explanation of the process:

1. Ready to be grouted.

2. I masked off the beads with painter's tape to try to keep the grout away from the beads.

3. Then grouted inside the heart . . .

4. Cleaned the grout with the tape still on but forgot to take a picture! I did take one once I removed the tape. Sorry for the blurry pic. My camera didn't want to focus!

5. Grouted the rest of the cross. I covered the outside beads with tape again . . . although this picture shows the beads after this tape was removed.

6. This is where things get dicey. Inevitably, no matter how careful I am, grout gets in the bead lines. It's a bit hard to make out in the picture above but the biggest problem area was in the lower left part of the heart. Even after I cleaned everything, there was too much grout left in the bead line. Obviously, my masking method is far from foolproof!

I ended up pulling up about 6 of the beads, cleaning the area under and around the beads, repainting this area and then carefully, relaying the beads. This picture was taken right after I removed the beads:

7. It's definitely an exercise in patience! But the results are always worth it. Or at least I like to think so. The final product:

Thanks so much to L and her husband for their patience and trust. I hope you enjoy your beautiful cross for years to come!

In Him,