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Surface pattern

Mandala mosaic garden table

When I went to a local junk shop to buy a mid-century sideboard, I spotted another glass-top garden table. I do love these. I don’t think they are much to look at in their original state but they are perfect for adding a touch of mosaic decoration!

As the table was circular, I wanted to create a mandala-style design.

I began by placing tiles around the edge of the table to create a border, varying the colours with each row. I then located the centre of the table, divided the circle into eight segments and began to fill out the pattern; playing with different shapes, sizes and colours to develop contrast and balance in the pattern.

I always like to use broken mirror in my work; I love the way light reflects on the broken pieces. The effect is magnified when the table is in the garden as it mirrors its surroundings and twinkles in the sunlight.

Once I’d finished cutting the mirror pieces and positioning all the mosaic tiles, I used a tile adhesive to stick each piece down.

The next step was to grout the tiles. I prefer to use a dark grey grout, rather than white, to give a dramatic contrast against the colourful tiles.

I used a powder grout that when mixed with water becomes water and frost resistant. I mixed it to a slightly fluid solution and used a palette knife, making sure the grout filled all of the gaps.

Once the grout had begun to set I used a damp cloth to wipe over the tiles to clean off the excess. The grout was left to dry overnight and then I polished the tiles using a clean cloth and scraped off any excess grout from the edges of the tiles.

This is the finished table…

Mid-century sideboard

In our design studio we’ve been looking to replace a rather large storage unit with something smaller. The room doubles up as a work space and a guest bedroom but space is of a premium. The old piece of furniture we wanted to replace, although useful, did take up too much space and was a good excuse to hoard ‘stuff’ that didn’t really need to be there. So we wanted to find something smaller, that was cheap and we could ‘do up’.

In the local area, there are a large number of secondhand, house-clearance shops that I regularly browse around. We visited one of these shops that has a huge amount of furniture stacked floor to ceiling. And it’s here where we found our mid-century sideboard.

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The top section had two shelves (which I took off to paint). The bottom sliding cupboard had shelves on the left and three drawers on the right.

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I began by mixing a chalk paint solution using plaster of paris and grey emulsion. I lightly sanded down the furniture and applied the paint to the back and sides.

Once that had dried I pasted wallpaper on to the top section and front cupboard door. The back cupboard door and drawer fronts were also painted in a chalk paint solution using colours to compliment the wallpaper.

As we’ll put the printers on the bottom shelf we drilled a large hole in the back to feed the cables through.

This is the finished piece…

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…and the drawers…

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…and in situ…

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We love it!

Creative journal course – autumn

I’ve now completed my third six-week creative journal course, which are held at Metal in Southend. As this session began in autumn, our work was very much inspired by the vibrant seasonal changes in the natural environment.

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Some of the themes we covered were decay, colour, form and repetition; developing our ideas with a range of mixed media including bleach, ink, pencil collaged with scrap paper…

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…mixing natural and unnatural colours with leaf rubbings…

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…making observational drawings with pen and ink.

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I particularly liked the skeletal form of the hydrangea petal and the shadows I created with the leaves…

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