A Peek Behind the Mirror
(Step by Step Custom Mirror)
This edition of “The Mosaic Husband” blog is written by me, Paula (“the wife”). We thought it would be insightful to relate how I work with a client to create a custom mosaic. So I’m going to go through the process of working with Paula S. (yes, her real name) to create a mirror for her bathroom.
Paula was re-decorating a bathroom in her home and had been thinking about a custom mirror accent over the sink. After talking about what she had in mind, we met in my studio to explore the possibilities of a mosaic mirror.
Our first decisions were about the size and shape of the mirror. The space for the mirror is limited, so the overall size needed to be proportionate to the wall and sink space. We agreed on 22” x 28” overall, mirror size 18” x 22”, with rounded corners.
After the practical issue of size was decided, we talked about what type of design she would like—colors, type of glass, themes. For ideas, I brought out several of my own books and we looked through my sample boards of specialty glass. Paula particularly liked the millefiori glass (Italian “thousand flowers” glass made in canes and sliced), so I kept that in mind when I sat down to come up with a few sketches.
A pheasant design in a Martin Cheek book caught her eye, so I used that as a basis for one of the sketches, which she liked best, and I could incorporate the most use of millefiori.
After deciding on the size, shape, and design, I ordered the mirror, glass supplies, and wood for the panel.
Before I began work on the actual mosaic, I visited Paula’s home to take a look at the space for the mirror. I noticed that the space over the sink seen from the hall is very short and the wall would obscure seeing the pheasant from the hall if it were on the right side (originally in the sketch). I put the pheasant on the left side when I transferred the design to the panel. This way, if the door is open, you can see the colorful mosaic. I also incorporated copper-leafed glass to complement the earthly tones in the feathers and pick up flecks of light.
Paula was very excited about remodeling her bathroom from selecting paint color and lighting to the mirror. The finished project is very successful and she thinks that the colors of the mirror make it versatile for other areas in her home if she chooses to move it sometime in the future.
Here’s a quote from Paula:
"I am redoing our powder room and I had been looking for an interesting mirror. Once I saw Paula's portrait work (it is fabulous!) I got the idea to have her make me a mirror. We started with the dimensions and shape. I had in mind some design that would start on the longer vertical side and continue on the bottom. She gave me some sketches--a flower, a bird--and we settled on a pheasant design. Paula used the medium to create a most beautiful pheasant. I especially like the millefioris of different heights that give a 3D effect."