How to Imitate Tiffany in Your Mosaics

Tiffany mastered the art of creating stained glass that imitates life. Today's stained glass offers so many color variations and textures, it is amazing. So in order to imitate real life in your mosaics, you need a tesserae that gives you different lighting conditions. Then, you need to know how to not only choose the right glass, but the right parts of stained glass, to achieve the color variations, textures, lights, darks, movement, etc., that is so perfect for your mosaics.

This project was inspired by Tiffany. I am using a ClearBack for my backer and gluing all my pieces down with Gorilla Glue clear, no foam adhesive, which dries very clear. This project calls for some unique glass and glass placement and manipulation of grout, which I describe below in Techniques 1 and 2.

Technique 1: Choosing Glass

I choose a sheet of stained glass by first looking for one that has a lot "going on" and what I mean by this is, I want a lot of wispy, light, and dark colors running through the sheet and sometimes I prefer one with textures. Then I am able to choose the particular part of the glass that has the precise characteristics I want for individual elements in my mosaics. Of course this all depends on your pattern. For instance, I wanted my flower petals to have different hues, so I selected areas in the glass that offered different tonal values like this:

For achieving dimension, I use darker glass for backgrounds, imitating depth and shadows. So for this project, I chose different greens, as the lighter ones come forward, the darker ones move to the back.

Technique 2: Manipulating Grout

I like to place my GOG pieces real close together because when it is backlit, your shapes will be clearly seen. When you grout your piece, it fills in all the spaces you have left open, and can sometimes block the light and misrepresent the shape you intended. Here is an example. Below is what I intended – a rounded loop in the vine:

Below is an example of what happens when you don't place pieces close enough. You can see how the grout filled in around my triangles and changed my rounded area to a square.

Here I intentionally left gaps between pieces so the grout would fill in and become "outlines" in areas I wanted like between the leaves.

So it is very important to choose the right glass and use those special areas of the glass for elements of your mosaics. Take advantage of all the wonderful textures, colors, swirls, lights and dark streaks that are available to us in stained glass sheets. And remember, grout is your friend, so use it to your advantage!

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