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How to Create a Mosaic Sculpture out of Glass Bottles

Ever wonder what to do with those empty glass bottles in your home? Well, Kathy Alpert has found a really creative answer. She exhibited her mosaic sculptures at the Piece-by-Piece Mosaic Exhibition here in Orlando and graciously told me about her art. Here are some great tips she shared on working with glass bottles:

  1. Start first with a bottle that has either a flat surface or a good round one. Using small pieces of tesserae works best on round surfaces and eliminates sharp edges sticking up from the bottle. If you want to add a head or other items like a hat, etc., you can use ordinary objects like styrofoam balls, coffee creamer cups, juice jar tops, etc. In addition, rigid wrap will help strengthen these objects so they support your tesserae.
  2. Make sure you coat your bottle with a thin layer of glue and let it dry before you apply any tesserae. Your tiles will stick much better and slide less. Start with the head first, then create the face. You can use smalti or other tesserae around the face and back of the head and body. Other small objects can be added next like little shells, beans, jewelry, etc. Tile nippers, Leponitts, and a heavy emory board to knock off edges is what Kathy uses for tools.
  3. You don't need a pattern. Be inspired by a piece of jewelry or a small object and then build your theme from there. Kathy shared with me that she saw a pin in a store that prompted her to create "Thetis," mother to underwater sea nymphs. Notice all the great shells, crab, and underwater objects she chose to use in her theme (see the sculpture in the middle).
  4. "Lola Latte" (sculpture on the left) made me laugh when I noticed her hair. Lola was created with glass tile, coffee beans, millefiori, Van Gogh tile, coffee cups and jewelry. In addition, Kathy goes even further and learns the history behind her subjects. She told me about researching voodoo to create another one of her sculptures. Knowing more about your theme helps you incorporate the right pieces. Tip: Lapidary shows are great places to pick up unusual and fun items.

Kathy comes from a background in stained glass. She lives in Orlando and took her first mosaic class from Michelle Petno in 1994. Her sculptures are wonderful and I hope you will check out her store on Etsy and enjoy her art. It's so creative! Thank you Kathy!

1 comment

  • These are charming! How does she make the eyes?


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