Craftsman of the Month
"For several years, I lived at Yuma Test Station and spent many hours roaming the desert collecting "stuff." Oddly shaped rocks were among my favorites. Having gathered these interesting rocks, I decided I'd better do something with them. I had access to a crafts shop that housed three large lapidary saws. I learned how to use them, and I went to work cutting my rocks into slices 1/8 inch thick.
"I was really quite delighted with the many beautiful colors of petrified wood, azurite, amethyst, rose quartz, jasper, chalcedony and more. Some looked like luscious strawberry ice cream, and some looked like cream with blueberries. I didn't know the names of the rocks. But as I washed the slabbing oil from those thin slices, I just knew I had to create something special and lasting: a mosaic.
"For the foundation, I used a 3/4-inch piece of marine plywood that was 26 inches wide by 57 inches long. I used pastels and colored pencils to sketch out a basic design of Indian-inspired thunderbirds, deer, quail, desert plants and clouds over the desert floor.
"The tools and equipment that I used were Elmer's glue, tile snippers, an artist's broad palette knife, grout, lots of rags, a 2-inch paint brush and polyurethane.
"I glued the chips and pieces of rock onto the plywood surface, following the designs to paint a picture made of rocks. For the grout, I left about 1/16 to 1/8 inch between each piece. I let an area dry completely, and then I pushed the grout into the spaces between pieces, wiping off the excess. I repeated this procedure until my mosaic was finished.
"When the entire thing was thoroughly dry, I painted it with the polyurethane.
"I display the mosaic on top of an antique maple buffet with an edge resting against a wall."
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