How to: Technique for Using QuikStik Mosaic Mesh in the Reverse Method
We are pleased to have Staci Edwards as a guest writer. She is sharing her surprising technique for making mosaics in the reverse method. This is her step-by-step process. To see more of Staci's mosaic art, visit her website Collidescopes.
So first off, I have seen on other blogs when the artist uses a product there is a little statement about endorsements and money and other icky things. So I am just letting you know, I am not getting paid by anybody, I just LOVE this product. The company was asking for tips and here is mine!
I use QuikStik mesh from Skeew Mosaics all the time.
It's sticky, and it's mesh! I like it because I work pretty instinctually–I don't use patterns, I just draw and go. The sticky mesh makes that very easy for me.
One problem I run into is what happens with transparent glass. I can see the mesh through it, and I don't want to have it marring the beauty of the glass. But I also don't want to try to place an intricate design down into wet mortar, piece by piece, and then have it not line up.
For example, I created this sea anemone for my large scale wall mosaic. Lots of transparent pieces, complicated design to transfer.
This is how I get around the issue–it's a few more steps–but for me, worth it to not have to deal with patterns or numbering glass bits. Here the mesh is underneath–it allows me to work on it and move it around easily. I put the design down on a piece of cardboard. (I realize this is a strange shape. But there are things that are attached to other things on this project that haven't been completed so sometimes I have to get creative on how I mortar my art down.)
Then, I put another section of QuikStik mesh on the top of the piece.
Then I sandwich it with a second sheet of cardboard (white).
Then I flip the whole thing over! (The white cardboard is on the bottom now.)
My design is now in reverse. I peel OFF the mesh that used to be on the underside, that is now on the top. I work carefully–some smaller pieces might come up, and I just reposition them. Then I press down firmly to make sure the tesserae are attached to the new mesh.
I cover it with cardboard and flip again!
Now I have the design back in it's original position, right side up, only with the mesh ON TOP OF the mosaic.
I lift it carefully to make sure everybody is still attached. Good to go!
I mix the mortar a little on the dry side. Soupy mortar is a mess to clean up when it oozes out from under the tesserae!
I apply my mortar in it's goofy shape and then I lay the design in carefully.
It's kinda like sliding a pizza off a tray–I just pull the cardboard away slowly as I guide the mosaic in to place. I start in an area that fits together like a puzzle to help me line it up correctly.
I press gently and evenly–I don't want to create a lot of oozing up between my bits and pieces, but I definitely want to make sure the mortar has got everything!
Then I carefully peel off the mesh. I do this while it is wet, because I like to make sure my joints are clean, to be ready for grout, before the mortar dries.
I might have one or two that come up with the mesh, I just reposition them where they are supposed to be.
I use a float to gently even out the surface, then work on the grout joints. Mortar that is up too high between the tesserae will pop up through my grout.
Resist the urge to clean the horizontal surface while the mortar is wet. You just end up moving your tesserae around. It comes off the surface of the glass easily later with a little water.
Then I make sure my edges are super clean so that the next section will butt up against it nicely.
All done and ready for the next section…when I get to it!
I hope that this helps. Understand that with opaque glass it is just as easy as: set your pieces, mortar, clean your grout spaces and go.
I highly recommend this product. I have done mosaics for years and felt frustrated transferring my design to the mortar and not having it fit the way I intended. This product allows me to spend more time playing, AND helps me preserve the work I just created when I install it.