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August 2015
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October 2015

September 2015

Third time's...not it, either.

Each time it's offered, my friend Dan and I enter the Austin Art Boards competition, which is run by Reagan Outdoor Advertising and promotes local artists by putting their work up on billboards.

Each year, we don't win. I got two honorable mentions in years past, and Dan got honorable mention last time as well--go us!--but this year: bupkis.


My first entry. It got honorable mention.


The next year I tried again with a similar design. I tried to make it a little fancier by doing a three-color block print. Another honorable mention.


This year I didn't hear about it until a couple weeks before the deadline. I felt like the superhappy motif had maybe run its course, so I pasted a block print I'd done of a friend's cat onto a photo of the Texas sky as seen from one of our fine, sweeping overpasses.

The idea was that in the right conditions the billboard would blend into the background and it would just look like a giant cat head floating in the sky. I don't know, maybe that didn't really come across. It's also possible it just isn't that great of an image.

I still like it, though. I'm going hang the matted entry in my office at work and use it to help me think about what I should enter next year. So help me, I'm going to keep submitting these until they discontinue the contest, I win, or I die. 

About some grout

One of the first things they teach you in mosaic class is how much of a difference grout color makes.* It's almost freaky.

I mean, look at this! I used the exact same pattern and the same tiles on these two mirrors. The grout color makes a huge difference in how the tile colors appear:

Light and dark

I can't decide which one I like better.

I was finishing up the earring display I was making for my friend immediately after I was freaking out at the color differences above. I decided it would be fun do an experiment with the various shades of gray grout I had sitting around before I settled on a color.

I made a little test board:

Grout test

Even a slightly different shade of the same color can make a huge difference. I liked the darker one in the top left, but since this is supposed to be for a display I wanted the background to be a little less contrast-y. I chose the bottom right, which is actually the two colors on the left mixed together.

Open display

I need to find better lighting for these pictures.

The grout color ended up being a little lighter when it dried, but it turned out about how I wanted it to. The person it was for seemed to like it too, which is the important thing. 


I also need to slow down and take better pictures. NO TIME FOR COMPOSITION MUST BLOG NOW AAAAAHHHHH

After that, my worktable is clear. I'm on vacation now, hitting the road tomorrow to spend time with friends and family, eat a bunch of food, and see cool shit and get inspired.

*We were also advised not to use white grout unless you're going for a very specific look, say white on white. It tends to look less polished than other colors, or so they say.

Tiny troubles


I made this little pendant out of tile scraps from the mirror frame I did last week. I see some spots where I could have fit the glass together better, but I still really like it and would like to make more.

Unfortunately, the pendant blank I used is silver plated, which means after I wear it maybe twice the finish will wear off and look tacky, plus the copper or nickel or whatever crappy metal is under the silver will turn my skin green and bumpy. 

That is such a bummer, given the amount of effort and squinting it took to fit those little pieces together. Ideally it would stay nice for as long as possible. I'm going to try painting it with clear nail polish, but it would be better if I could use better materials in the first place.  

I looked all over the damn internet for square stainless steel blanks that would accommodate the tiles I use and came up empty. My intrepid coworker Sam suggested trying to find wood blanks instead, and I totally found some. I think the wood will actually look pretty killer with the glass, so I ordered some to try out. 

Also in my searches I ran across these, so if you are into embroidery I think you should get a bunch and embroider everyone some beautiful jewelry.  Ok, great, thanks so much! You can mail mine to me when you're done.