41. Homage to Fallen Maple

Homage to a Fallen Maple, cut glass mosaic on plastic drainpipe. 2012

Over the past thirty years the Big Leaf maple in the backyard had wrapped itself around an old iron fence.  After decades of neglect the diseased and dying tree had to be cut down.

This mosaic is an homage to a fallen friend.

As the tree had so thoroughly embedded itself around the fence and fence post, much of the stump and the fence post remained.  So I decided to create a glass mosaic onto a base of a four-foot section of black drainpipe which would sleeve over the rusted fence post.

A Seattle-based recycling center–Bedrock Industries–manufactures glass tiles from recycled glass. For this mosaic’s tesserae, I hand-cut the tiles using glass nippers, and deliberately choosing to expose the cut facets of the glass, rather than the smooth surfaces of the original tile.  I affixed the tesserae using a silicone adhesive.

The upper portion of the mosaic captures the images of overlapped red, orange and gold leaves and stems. The images wrap the entire circumference of the pipe.

Before I began gluing the tesserae onto the tube, I prepped a study of the design by placing fallen maple leaves beneath a tabletop glass–I dry-arranged the tesserae on the glass.

Homage to a Fallen Maple (detail); cut glass mosaic on plastic drainpipe. 2012.

This detail shows the mosaic work on the lower third of the piece. I use a palette of greens and earthy browns arranged to suggest the intricacies of the soil and roots.

I think of these structures as the living essence of every tree, the part which remains out of sight to the human eye.

I worked on this piece for nearly one year (the autumn of 2011 to autumn 2012). I’d originally thought that this mosaic would need only a few weekends of work.  Uh, no.

A four and a half foot section of  four-inch pipe absorbs massive amounts of glass, the equivalent of 200 x two-inch tiles, a figure that assumes every piece of cut glass would be usable.

I loved working with a curved substrate–it gave the final piece an organic structure that would have been absent had I been working with a flat surface.

~ by Delfino on 2012/11/22.

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