A handy aspect of mosaic is that its basic elements are available pretty much anywhere. Where there’s a construction trade, there’s some version of cement mortar and substrates. And since anything that’s not nailed down can be processed into tesserae, where there’s a thrift shop, a beach, or a gravel parking lot, there’s material. Why then, for the love of dog, do I have a month’s worth of personal belongings strapped to my back so that I can check 50lbs of mosaic gear through to Ireland this morning for my residency in Listowel?

Because that 50lbs of gear is my security blanket. Because as much as I embrace and grow from (notice I don’t say “totally dig”) the exciting unknowns of working away from home, this girl needs her some knowns.

First off, the tool roll I mentioned in my last post. Seriously, if you dropped me anywhere on the globe with my Montolits and steel spatula, I could happily take care of business, but in the same way flick lighters get you to fire a lot quicker than two sticks rubbed together, it’s easier to have tweezers, a chisel, china markers, brushes, glass nippers, a martelina, and a screw-in hardie as well.

Of course Ireland has cement mortar, but such is the blessing and curse of 14 years of experimentation that I feel I’ve hit on the holy grail of mortars (Mapei’s Adisilex P10, for you mo geeks), and would rather hump 18lbs of it - and a couple liters of Keraply admix - halfway around the world than risk not having it or spending valuable studio time foraging for it. Then of course there’s the black pigment and some super colors; Ireland may inspire vividness!

And speaking of holy grails, 1/8” Wedi is just that for an easy-cut, rigid lightweight substrate when there’s no time for (or desire to spend mortar on) building them from mesh and mortar.  It isn’t as readily available as the thicker versions, so in went five or six square feet of that. Oh what the hell, let’s throw in some mesh yardage just in case...and a bunch of hanging hardware...

Thats how it started.  The vital basics. Then I got to thinking about continuing the experimentations I’ve been doing with epoxy putty, oil paints, and gilder’s paste wax, and in went several pounds of that. 

Quite a quantity of knowns, this. It’ll be a bitch to haul on and off the bus in Ireland, especially with that other 25lbs on my back (there will be no video) but it’s the foundation that’ll have me up and running as soon as I’ve nicked some gravel from the carpark behind St. Mary’s.