Sophia Othman

Mosaic art & Concrete Sculpture

Posts from the ‘Glass’ category

The mosaic mural layed out on the studio floor in prepartion to cut it apart into pieces for installation
teal and green glass mosaic butterfly large mural iridescent teal stained glass COVID10 art by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist mosaic studio dog

Two views of same butterfly mosaic to show reflection and iridescent stained glass

The Piedmont High School graduating class of 2020 wanted to leave a positive mark of hope and beauty.  The design theme we developed for the project was of a swarm of huge glass mosaic butterflies flying off into the future.

Blue and green large butterflies with words Gift of class of 2020 mosaic mural design rendering by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Butterflies as symbols of transformation through the COVID19 pandemic & 2020 California Wildfires – students grow through adversity and fly into a brighter future

The students are all graduated and on to new wonderful endeavors.  They wanted the mosaic mural to represent transformation and evolution through the time of COVID19 and a brutal wild fire season in California.  So positive transformation out of calamitous change was a fitting healing design theme for responding to the fires as well.

COVID19 art project Gift of Class of 2020 Piedmont High School glass mosaic butterfly mural by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

A ribbon of cut mirror mosaic gracefully ties the butterflies together and provides a frame for the words.

full scale print drawing of butterfly mosaic mural elements by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

butterfly glass mosaic mural in progress by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Glass Butterfly with iridescent lime green & teal & turquoise glass

The mural will be installed on it’s concrete wall in March, 2022.  Here are images of the mosaic making process.  My dog, Jasmine, enjoys modeling for me.  Here she is a butterfly dog.

graduation art project class of 2020 butterfly glass mosaic mural in progress by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Glass Butterfly Mosaic – dog butterfly

mosaic butterfly dog graduation art project class of 2020 butterfly glass mosaic mural in progress by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Jasmine is the CMO – Chief Morale Officer for my mosaic art studio

teal iridescent glass mosaic butterfly large butterfly mosaic mural COVID19 art

This stained glass is iridescent at one angle and a gorgeous teal color without iridescence at other angles – magical

large mosaic butterfly green spiral iridescent wings by bay area mosaic artist sophia othman

This mosaic butterfly has long trailing swallow tails

green iridescent glass butterfly mosaic COVID19 art by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Detail of the smooth glossy glass surface and iridescent glass

cobalt blue glass mosaic butterfly large mural iridescent blue stained glass COVID10 art by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Iridescent cobalt blue mosaic butterfly

cobalt blue glass mosaic butterfly large mural iridescent blue stained glass COVID10 art by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist art studio dog

Iridescent cobalt blue mosaic butterfly – Jasmine dog supervising

mosaic art studio dog cobalt blue glass mosaic butterfly large mural iridescent blue stained glass COVID10 art by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Iridescent cobalt blue Cobalt blue iridescent mosaic butterfly – Jasmine dog taking a break

turquoise and lime green glass mosaic butterfly large mural iridescent green stained glass COVID10 art by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Iridescent green butterfly wings and a gorgeous turquoise to frame it.

COVID19 art project Gift of Class of 2020 Piedmont High School large glass mosaic butterfly mural by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

I love the iridescence on the lower wing and the sharp contrast of lime green against dark turquoise

Here is how it all begins with a printed full scale design on paper.  Here are a few pics of the process of making mosaics – the mosaic mural is entirely pieced in the studio before installation.

full scale print drawing of butterfly mosaic mural elements by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Adjusting the full scale print before cutting glass for the mosaic

how to make mosaics with fiberglass mesh COVID19 art project Gift of Class of 2020 Piedmont High School glass mosaic butterfly mural by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Fiberglass mesh is used to glue the glass mosaic pieces onto

Here the entire mosaic mural is sectioned up into small sections like a puzzle for transport to the installation site.  I have 2 sections side by side and another layer on top for each wood board.  The wood protects the glass pieces from bending and breaking during transport to the mosaic mural installation site.

how to pack and transport mosaic mural sections COVID19 art project Gift of Class of 2020 Piedmont High School glass mosaic butterfly mural by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Sections of the mosaic mural packed carefully and labeled so that they are easy to locate on the installation day.

Large mosaic butterfly with iridescent lime green stained glass tile.
stained glass mosaic mural of phoenix plant leaves wild fire art expression regeneration after wild fire resurrection hope Visions of The Wild themed art
blue green iridescent stained glass for mosaic mural by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist

Iridescent Glass Tile in Blues and Greens

How to choose whether to go with glass or ceramic for mosaic? Mosaic artists have used just about any material for mosaics:  ceramic tile, glass tile, stone, shells, found objects, broken crockery, wood, metal.  And in mixed media mosaics, anything goes, with delightful results.  However, if you are choosing mosaic material for an outdoor art piece in a frost prone climate your choices start to narrow and both ceramic tile and glass tile can stand up to freezing if they are chosen carefully.

Is glass tile more colorful than ceramic tile?  Yes! the array of color available in stained glass sheets is dizzying and marvelous.  Most metropolitan areas have stained glass retailers so glass is easier to source in general.  Ceramic tile is available in a wide range of brilliant colors as well but is not nearly as nuanced in the variety available of any one color.   Daltile makes a colorful line.  McIntyre does as well.  Heath Ceramics in Marin county has rich color. Since most consumers don’t tile their kitchen or bathrooms or floor with bright yellow, red, and orange, the retailers don’t stock these colors and they must be obtained by special order.  To obtain brilliant colored ceramic tile can take up to 8 weeks lead time for the manufacturer to custom make the order and ship it.  Also the cost is higher as there are often one-case (12 square feet per case) minimums per color.  If I am designing a mosaic mural with many colors I would have to order a case of the colors of which I need a small amount.

Reflection & Glassy Shine & Iridescence

Ceramic tile with a virtuous glaze will have a shiny reflective look to it. Vitreous meaning glass. However, most ceramic tile will not look as shiny as glass. Matt ceramic tile is deliberately manufactured to achieve a less slippery surface when used in bathrooms and other flooring. Glass tile by definition will have a lot of reflectiveness and look aglow in certain angles and less shiny in others, giving it a dynamic changeability that is expected of glass tile.  Some ceramic tile is available with an iridescent sheen but stained glass and other glass shapes can come with stunningly beautiful iridescent coatings.  Your personal aesthetic and the purpose of the mosaic  will determine the degree of shine, glassiness, reflection, and friction that you want/need for the project.

stained glass mosaic mural of phoenix plant leaves wild fire art expression regeneration after wild fire resurrection hope Visions of The Wild themed art

Stained Glass Mosaic showing shiny reflective glass surfaces and iridescence

Is it easier to cut shape glass vs ceramic tile? Ceramic tile is usually twice as thick as glass used for mosaic. Most commercial ceramic tile used for mosaic is approximately 1/4 inches thick and most stained glass used for mosaic is 1/8th ” thick. Any thicker and they are prohibitive to cut and shape with reasonable ease. It is physically easier to cut glass than ceramic tile. However, to shape either ceramic or glass tile with precision takes skill and experience. Still, glass faster to shape & cut.

ceramic tile mosaic mural tree of life memorial mosaic

Memorial Mosaic Tree of Life Mural

There are many types of glass tesserae used for mosaic, pre-shaped pieces in circles, triangles, rectangles, teardrops, & etc. These come in thicknesses from 2mm to 7mm approximately. Most glass mosaic is made of glass pieces 3mm or 1/8th” thick. Glass tile is generally physically easier to cut and shape than ceramic tile. If you want to shape glass tiles precisely it is easiest to use stained glass. Stained glass comes in large sheets that can be cut into smaller and more precise shapes to do their duty in your mosaic art.

Mosaic Weight or Load on Architectural Support – Another consideration when choosing between ceramic tile and glass tile for mosaic is that the thinner glass will weigh less per square foot than the ceramic tile.

What is the purpose of the mosaic? Backsplashes, walls, murals, fine art mosaics, all these don’t have to withstand people walking on them, so they can be made of thinner and less durable tile. But for floor mosaics ceramic tile is the more durable choice. Ceramic tile that is high fired (harder) is necessary when creating floor mosaics due to the loads floors must support as we use them in daily life. Often higher fired ceramic tile has less vibrant colors are available at that higher kiln temperature. A high gloss finish is usually not desired as it also means less friction and a more slippery floor. So a more matte finish is desirable in floor mosaics that use ceramic tile. Ceramic tile can be manufactured with added grittiness to reduce risk of slipping. All these factors can combine to make the color and texture choices for ceramic tile for floor applications less vibrant and less reflective. That being said, I have seen spectacularly beautiful floor mosaics made with small glass squares called virtuous glass tile usually 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 3mm. The smaller shapes are less likely to break under normal load than longer pieces of glass. Insets of glass tile such as medallions or other shapes can add beauty to a floor without rendering the entire surface in glass and retaining the strength of ceramic tile for the rest of the floor.

What tile to choose for community built mosaics? Ceramic tile is the winner here, allowing individuals to shape, texture, and glaze individual tiles that can then be incorporated into a unified whole community mosaic art piece.  The image below shows a ceramic tile mosaic mural incorporating handmade tile from hundreds of students & staff at a K-8 school.  Each student created one tile.  The second graders created the poppies, the kindergartner’s and several older grades created the oak leaves, & etc.  Groups of students worked together to created the larger creatures like the hawk and deer.

handmade ceramic tile school mosaic mural installation images from beginning to finished product showing fiberglass mesh mosaic sections

School Mosaic Mural using Handmade Ceramic Tile

Glass is used in community art mosaic projects as well by allowing individuals to piece their own small mosaic to be incorporated into the mosaic mural or allowing groups to piece mosaic together. The difference I see is that shaping clay and coloring it with underglaze and glaze is usually an easier & more intuitive creative process when involving inexperienced participants in a community built mosaic mural. Handmade ceramics allow more line work and nuance and colors on each individual piece than pieced mosaic with glass tesserae. The image below shows stained glass mosaic marine creatures each pieced by a family group or a staff member from the school.  This image shows vitreous glass squares in the background of the mosaic in white and blue.

glass mosaic school mural art project stained glass mosaic vitreous glass mosaic group art community built art

Glass Mosaic Mural

These are only some of the practical considerations in choosing between glass and ceramic tile for mosaic.  There is no clear choice as it depends on your specific project’s practical needs and your aesthetic. Happy creating.

red phoenix birds green leaves blue background glass mosaic mural youth community mosaic art lead by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist
Phoenix Mosaic symbolic of wildfire burning through green leaves and new life regenerating from the ashes.

This mosaic mural panel was pieced with the help of young artists participating in the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation (VCAF) Youth Summer Art Camp.  

sophia othman bay area mosaic artist teaches youth how to piece mosaics at summer art camp
Art Camp Youth proud of their mosaic work

The Art Camp included youth aged 7 years to 14 years.  All participated in piecing the Phoenix Wildfire glass mosaic panel. 

Detail of right side of phoenix glass mosaic.

The art camp kids used hand tools to cut glass and the older (11-14 year olds) kids even got to use a glass grinder and ring saw wet saw.  All kids helped piece the mosaic.

Detail of the left side of the phoenix mosaic.
sophia othman bay area mosaic artist teaches youth how to piece mosaics at summer art camp

The kids worked in groups on different parts of the mosaic and rotated to different areas to gain more experience.  Here Sophia is demonstrating how to cut glass with glass nippers. 

Production assistance by Kristina Fiorini. 

This glass mosaic commission was fun to make. The glass tile colors are a joy to work with.  The client’s home is built on stilts directly on the water just where the Napa River joins to top of the San Pablo Bay.  Pelicans are regular flyers in this area so the mosaic was a way for the client to bring the beauty of these creatures in the heart of the home, the kitchen.  

pelican sunset waves glass mosaic kitchen backsplash by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist
Pelicans flying into sunset over waves - kitchen backsplash for a home along the San Pablo Bay in Vallejo, CA

The pelican glass mosaic backsplash installed with tile trim.  The client installed the panel and added tile trim border around it framing it perfectly.  

Stained glass tile for the backsplash - finalizing the color palette for the mosaic.
Grouting the pieced pelican mosaic panel.
The pelican mosaic panel ready to be installed above the stove.
pelican sunset waves glass mosaic kitchen backsplash by sophia othman bay area mosaic artist
Glass Mosaic Pelican Backsplash - installed.

We had fun with the installed mosaic photo shoot.  I am an avid birdwatcher so it was a delight to create the pelican mosaic for this client.

Dragonflies have enchanted me all my life.  Their iridescent wings, their magical flight patterns, jagged, powerful for such a small creature, and yet still elegant.  They are formidable predators in the insect world, gorgeous yet deadly.  They eat mosquitoes so they are an important part of the natural abatement for mosquitoes and other flying biting insects we don’t find very beautiful.

The greens grays and browns of this garden mosaic rock seat blend gently with a natural setting.  The glass and iridescence add a touch of magic to the art piece.  The pebbles add a grounding element to the mosaic’s design.

My first degree is in Geology, i have a lifelong love of rocks and the natural world. I chose to decorate a natural rock with a mosaic that is an ode to dragonflies and their iridescent beauty.  I used glass tile in gentle green and gray and white colors, some with iridescence.  I chose a design mimicking the layering of sedimentary rocks and how animal fossils end up petrified in rocks.  The central green ceramic dragonfly was cut from a broken pottery plate i had been keeping to use in mosaic art.  It has finally found a home as a utilitarian geological mosaic art piece.  The rock serves as a soothing point of beauty in a garden and also as a small bench seat.

Mosaic Studio Tools

This rock weighed close to 200 pounds so i was able to work on it in my studio using a hydraulic heavy duty cart so.  This way i could stand comfortably while i pieced the mosaic.  A wet tile saw or ring saw is useful to make curved cuts in ceramic tile.

 

 

 

iridescent stained glass, vitreous glass, pebbles, shells, mirror, and small glass bead tesserae mimicking sedimentary rock layering.