The Timeline Mosaic Project



Despite what it seems, the Timeline Mosaic Project has not fallen off the the face of the earth.  It has just taken a break.  A "Luke Project" break, actually.  Right now I am in the process of finishing up the started pieces that I have here at the house.  I also need to go through the blog and make sure all of the past related posts are all under the "Mosaic Timeline" tab above. 

But for now, I will just show you Saul in his pre-grouted form.  I am especially pleased with how he turned out.  ("The light - it burns...")
I have several more very close to completion, so hopefully I can post more soon.


This week I hosted our monthly "Girls' Night Out" at our house, in order to get some extra work on what we had already started.  This was the scene after everyone left:

It was great to have some extra hands working on them, and plus it was fun to just sit around the table and visit. 

I have to admit that when I think about all that needs to be accomplished on this project I begin to feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of it.  However, with more evenings like this plus some more"mosaic workshops" with the kids, we'll get it done!


I am SO excited to show you the latest pictures from the Timeline Mosaic. That's because these show some squares in their almost-finished form! Yes, my friend Estela (and/or her husband Cory) grouted them a week or so ago. And after a little grout color adjustment, here they are:

I really like how the "bumpy" glass adds definition to the ark, but it unfortunately is a grout magnet - I still need to do some scraping-off-of-grout on this one.
Poor Adam.  So troubled.
Abraham's eyes are looking pretty good here, but only after he had a little eye surgery. Unfortunately, one of his eyes fell out during the grouting process (See picture below). Then when I put another in with superglue, the new eye was much bigger then his old eye. It gave him a very distinctive, mildly disturbing look. However, I cut the eye-bead down and now he looks a little more...normal

This is only the left two-thirds of the 7 days of creation.  That's why the "Genesis" is off-center.
 As you can see in the "One-Eyed Abraham" picture, the first grout was much lighter.  However, I decided to try a darker color to see how that would look.

Do you want to know how to change grout color without redoing a piece?  Well, I can't guarantee that this will work in all instances, but I used acrylic paint after reading something about it online.  The website I saw said you could paint the grout with acrylic paint if the grout was "sanded".  I wasn't really sure whether ours was or not, but I decided to try it anyway - and it seems to work just fine.  I just painted over each piece with the paint, let it dry for awhile, and then took a damp rag to the glass pieces.  Since they don't absorb the paint, it comes right off.  It's also very fun to see the vibrant colors come through all that gray - very gratifying.

I did this one half with the original grout and half with the darker coloring to see the difference.  I've had some different opinions, but I really do like the the darker grout.

So, that's our progress so far.  I'm working on moving all of the mosaic posts under the "Timeline Bible Mosaic" tab up at the top of the blog.   I have several ones on there, but still need to add more.  Perhaps after school's out...
I have a whole new set of Timeline Mosaic drawings to show you.   Friend Gay and I decided to go ahead and draw up some new ones, even though the last set is not completed yet.  The main reason to do this was to begin the scenes from Acts, since that's our big focus these days at church. 

Here's what we came up with:

Here is the ascension of Jesus.  Now I'm wondering if we should have made his feet sticking out a little below the cloud.  It looks like he lost part of this lower body in the cloud somewhere.
Paul and Barnabas sent off, although it kind of looks like both of them are only single-armed.  Hmmm.  Might want to fix that little detail.
Peter is released from jail by an angel.  Doesn't that angel look very joyous?

Paul is arrested.
Paul is shipwrecked.  He does look quite forlorn, doesn't he?
The Jerusalem Council.  Now, I know what you're thinking on this one - that there's no way that one could tell that this is the Jerusalem Council.  But to that I would say just try and think up a simple story picture about a meeting where they were talking about whether people should be circumcised or not.  Yep.  Enough said on that one.
That's it!  Seven more pictures for the kids to get started on.


Just a few minutes ago, I was sitting on the back porch, snipping squares of glass for our Mosaic Timeline Project.  The snipping of the glass is not my favorite part of the project, but it's fairly important.  Not only do you need to reduce the larger pieces of glass that you sometimes buy, but I have also found that it is good to cut the small, uniform squares of glass into more random shapes.  If you provide the kids with squares, some of them tend to use the squares on all manner of shapes - even covering small, more detailed shapes with one square of glass...kind of like this:

I call this picture "Abraham with Square Hands".    Sometimes you have to challenge the kids to use the smaller pieces to make more of a - not square shape. 

As I result, I try to snip all of my pieces this way.  But it is kind of boring, and I was not enjoying it so much today.

But then I got some pictures from my friend Cathy.  Cathy is the person who dreamed up and started our mosaic projects back in Morgantown, and is the one who taught me everything I know today about mosaics.  She sent me some pictures of some a mosaic timeline that they are working on there about the life of Jesus.  

Cathy is more into "mixed media" mosaics than I am, which simply defined is that she really likes pieces of the art to stick out in some form.  I am more a fan of "flat" mosaics, but I still think what they have done is wonderful.  Here are some pictures.  They are taken with her iPhone and some are a little blurry, but you can still see that they are fantastic:

Garden of Gethsemane

Pilate washing his hands - ungrouted -  I think the scrolls and the marble pieces on the wall in the background are an especially nice touch (not to mention the sandals).

This hand was cast from one of the church members there - the one who did the carpentry work for this project, incidentally.

The whip and the crown of thorns - wonderful purple background.  Notice the red glass in there to signify the blood.
I especially love this one, and am looking forward to seeing it grouted and finished.
Jesus in the tomb - ungrouted - I especially like the swirl above Jesus - very nice.

Jesus in the tomb - grouted

Jesus on the cross

Closeup of Jesus on the cross - amazing.
Aren't they wonderful?  Plus, they're such powerful reminders of this weekend. 


 On Tuesday, my friend Gay came over and helped me make some new picture boards for the church mosaic project.   As you might remember, we are making a Bible timeline in mosaic form to put up in the church building.  While exciting and grandiose in idea-form, this project has already been a learning experience for me in real life-form. There's nothing like handing young children pieces of plywood and 20 or so containers of small glass pieces to challenge any grandiose plans one might have.
However, we are making it through, and I must say that it's shaping up nicely.  I have several different groups of kids working on the project.  The sixth graders at church are trying to work through as much of the Bible as they can this year in their class.  Therefore, they've been the group to work on the more chronological pictures of the Old Testament.  They got these pictures to work on:

These pictures are actually almost finished - hopefully I will have pictures of them in the next few days.  As you remember, I had to do a little, um, corrective additive work on them to shape them up a little bit - largely from my failure to make the project a little easier for them at the outset.

The second group to work on the pictures are the third through fifth graders.  On Wednesday nights, this group is learning about various stories throughout the Bible, so I am working with them to do pictures of the stories they have had recently, and will have soon.  Last night they got these pictures:

Do you notice any differences between the first and second group of pictures?  Yes, the second batch is much simpler.  That's one of the first things I realized when the kids started working on them - I made them way, way too detailed.  I also discovered this week that Gay is wonderful at simplifying and drawing the pictures, so guess what?  That's her job from now on!

Not only that, but I also learned quite a bit after the first group of the best way to tell the kids to work on them (how to stay in the lines better, how to not put a huge square of glass right on top of a small circular shape, etc.), and these kids did wonderfully. Here is their progress so far:

I think one of the more gratifying parts of doing this so far has been seeing how some of the kids that you wouldn't expect to take to it thrive at it.   For example, I had two kids working on on Jacob's coat last night  that I had my doubts about when class began.  These are kids that usually have a really hard time sitting still and paying attention for long to any lesson.   In fact, it's hard to even keep them in their seats for too long.  However, last night there were meticulous in the their work, and did a wonderful job (see picture above).  The yellow stripe was done by the student who has the most problems with attention, and I think he did the best out of any student so far. It brought out a whole different side of them that I wouldn't have even seen without this project.

So, as I said, it's coming along nicely.


We finally have three of the mosaic boards completely done.  Well, except for the few pieces that just fell off when I was moving them to take the pictures...ah, well.

Now, just remember when you see these that this first group was my "trial run", meaning that I learned several things not to do in the process, and ending up filling in a lot of the pictures myself.  I expect (and hope) the next batch to come out much more child-created.

Anyway, here they are:

Note to self for future:  Do not use clear glass, because when you do, the background lines show right through, and to avoid seeing these, you have to take a lot of the ark off and do it over...The raindrops are mirrored pieces.

I thought it was kind of funny how Adam came out looking a little worried...  I had to make a special trip to the glass store for the serpent's color...He had to be both beautiful and wicked at the same time...Someone else decided that Eve should definitely have red hair - it wasn't me, and I'll never tell...
I got a little carried away on the faces on this one...

Obviously, they are not grouted, but my wonderful new mosaic-making friend Estela said she would do that part.  We're thinking about a darker grout, perhaps a dark gray?
Well, it didn't take long for the Mosaic Bug to hit me again. In the last few years before we moved from Morgantown, I was lucky enough to be able to work on two large outdoor mosaics there at our church. You can see one of them here. Through those experiences and a few resulting smaller projects I discovered that I really do love making mosaics. There's just something about arranging the smaller pieces to make a bigger picture that I really enjoy. It's kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, in a permanent kind of way.

Well, it didn't take long for the Mosaic Bug to hit me again. In the last few years before we moved from Morgantown, I was lucky enough to be able to work on two large outdoor mosaics there at our church. You can see one of them here. Through those experiences and a few resulting smaller projects I discovered that I really do love making mosaics. There's just something about arranging the smaller pieces to make a bigger picture that I really enjoy. It's kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, in a permanent kind of way.

Of course, at the same time, I discovered that planning and executing a wall-size mosaic is a huge project that you don't want to undertake every day - or every year, really. I liken it to childbirth - when you're done with it, you vow that you will never do it again. But like childbirth, after you let some time pass, you find yourself at least considering it again, if only for the end benefits.

While it took me about a year to start thinking about making something on a bigger scale, I have kept some degree of mosaic interest since the very first project. This usually comes in the form of "Oooh, I Could Smash This" thoughts when seeing interesting plates and cups in different settings. (I do feel that I should let my friends know that this feeling only comes in thrift stores and garage sales - I have yet to feel any strong urges to smash any of their good china or Fiestaware.)

Plus, it has been a comforting thing when I have accidentally broken any plates or cups (salt shakers, etc.) in our recent move. Instead of just mourning the loss of something valuable, I can put it in the "Mosaic Materials" bin and know that it will be represented in some way in my next project.

Of course, this new project is not going to be made of broken dishes or tiles - we're working with all glass this time. It won't be as massive at the previous mosaics, but it will run down the length of a wall - about a foot high and 75 feet long.

Yep, I'm excited. More details will be coming soon.


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