THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – Brasilia tenth week

I decided to employ our gardener to help cutting tesserae one day a week. I observed that he is a gentle and careful worker and might be able to pay the necessary attention to detail. My observation is right, he learns fast. With his help at least the stone breaking and shaping into pyramids is going ahead well.

There is still little progress in laying the tesserae onto the design which is my work and I can not concentrate well! There are too many things at the house that disturb my concentration.

The renting of the studio is going ahead. I went again to look at the available studios next to Cida Carvalho. There are 5 rooms available. All with large windows and equipped with lights, plugs and a small bathroom with toilet and shower. So best conditions for a mosaic studio and working with stone and mortar for which I need a small wet space to establish my  sintering system in order not to clog the drain.

I also learn that there is a ceramic studio on the same floor. A nice prospect for my works decorating ceramic frames and  bottoms of vessels with mosaic\ .

It is not so easy to rent something here in Brasilia when you are a foreigner with no regular income. My husband has to rent the studio for me and a colleague of Martin  is willing to be our guarantor which is a requirement for a rental.

When we go to the realtors office to hand in our documents we walk past these interesting mosaics by Martha Poppe, a plastic artist from Rio. Isn’t that a good sign?

mosaic mural by Martha Poppe, at SCS QUADRA – 04 – EDIFÍCIO VERA CRUZ in Brasilia

THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – Brasilia ninth week

This week I start with the background tesserae. Its a mix of beige shaded stones and marbles.

Eda Crema Rosa marble with deep red veins from the quarry of Marmiro Stones near Sivrihisar
white marble not sure from where in Turkey but found on the waste heap of one of the marble dealers in Ayvalik
beige lime stone with black freckles from the bank of the Euphrates
a dark beige limestone, very hard, almost impossible to cut into tesserae, also from the Euphrates
An almost white lime stone from the Euphrates, very soft, almost like chalk

I cut them a bit larger than the tesserae for the fish figures, about 1-1,5 cm2 whilst the colored tesserae are around 0,5-0,8 cm2.

The rocks have been precut into stripes of about 1 x 4 x1 cm by the marble cutting workshop. The steps to prepare them until they are ready to be glued onto the design are:

  1. breaking the precut sticks into 1cm cubes, for this I use the hammer and hardie or the hydraulic stone breaking machine
  2. deciding which side will be the best to be the one that will be visible in the end
  3. cutting the other sides with nippers so that the tesserae looks a bit like a pyramid
  4. as some of the marbles had a plastic mesh glued to them they have to be sanded so no residue of glue is entering the mosaic and might disturb the cement sticking to the tesserae later
  5. then its like a puzzle to find the right cube to fit in the line

So all-together: each tesserae goes through my hands at least 5 times before it has the right form and is free of residues and little edges that could break off in the mortar bed. This is very important as not to endanger the stability of the mosaic by cracking.

It takes so long! I have to get help!

My husband and the kids which are great supporters of the whole project help one Saturday for a couple of hours.

The tesserae that the 4 of us manage to prepare in 3 hours last that far:

THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – Brasilia eighth week

This week I started to discover mosaics in Brasilia!

We went for a nice delicatessen shopping at the Mercado Municipal and by the fruit stall there is a mural with these lovely mosaics:

Poems at the pavement near Mercado Municipal in Brasilia

My friend Alina, a Brasilian visual artist currently living in Brasilia, had the fantastic idea to google if there are any mosaic artists resident in Brasilia. And we found one! –  Cida Carvalho.

On Tuesday we are meeting Cida in her studio. The studio is in one of the commercial streets which are placed in between every block of flats in the plano piloto. Brasilia was designed by city planer Lucio Costa, in the shape of an airplane and therefor some names refer to aviation.  The main construction was done only with in 5 years (between 1956 and 61). So the lay out is very regular and somehow artificial as it did not grow and develop with human chaos over time like most cities are.

In between every  quadra (block) there is a commercial street in  which it was planned to have everything people needed that live in the nearby apartment blocks. But these days its an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops in those streets.

We (Alina comes with me to help translate) meet at the well known french cafe and restaurant Daniel Briand. From there Cida’s studio is just in the next building. The entrance to the first floor is from the back of the building. Cida lets us in via an intercom and we go up the perfectly white tiled stairs to her studio.

Cida’s studio is in the left hand corner of the first floor. Both outside walls are windows looking into wonderful big trees.

Cida receives us warmly. She explains her approaches and techniques. Her material is mainly glass and tiles, she describes her style as inspired by  Gaudi. I like her series of birds and plants from the serrada, the savanna type surrounding of Brasilia. They are framed in fat black wooden frames which brings the almost miniature mosaics out nicely.

She had a solo exhibition 2 years ago.

Her newest creation are patterns of her mosaics printed on fabric and made into clothes. Very creative! I love it. Tried a skirt but it was to small (I again am living in a country where I am quite tall for a woman and have to buy XXXL for my sizef, it keeps a lot of rational believe not to feel fat)

I came to Brasilia with the plan to rent a studio for my mosaic work outside of the house. When I asked Cida how she found her studio she mentions that there are several empty places in the same building. She even shows us one room which she uses as storage facility.

It is not as nice and bright es hers but clean, looking out into the trees and still has enough natural light coming in at the window for a good workplace.

I am excited and leave with the plan to rent a studio next to hers.

In this week the first Brasilian fish for the  Ayvalik Mosaic  is finished: