News - New Designs, Custom Works, etc.

Designing a "Santorini" Blue Palmette Medallion for my Wife August 15, 2020 11:53

My wife has always liked clean lines and simpler styling when it comes to our home.  She has never been interested in me making a Texas Star or a Fleur de Lis for the entry of our home, nor for installation as a backsplash in our kitchen. 

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston several years ago, we were one of the many who were flooded.  For a time, I did not make any medallions so that I could focus on rebuilding our home.  As I worked on the house, I dreamed up several design ideas with the hope my wife would like one and that I could install it in our home as we were rebuilding. 

A few months after Harvey hit, we got new flooring installed in our home . . . but, it did not include any of my designs :(   Well, I began thinking about a trip my wife took with her cousin and friends to Greece.  She loved visiting Greece, in particular, her visit to the Greek island of Santorini.  The beautiful blue of Santorini Greece

She had mentioned that she would somehow like something in the kitchen that had the blue colors she saw in the ocean around Santorini and on some of the rooftops.  I got to thinking and started searching for Greek designs - I found a design called a palmette.  Just as there are many styles of fleur de lis, there are many designs of palmettes.  I showed her some.  She liked a few.  I made some alterations to one of the palmette designs she liked the most and showed it to her.  She really liked that design.  I then made glass samples in my kiln looking for just the right color.  Even though she liked the idea of a "Santorini" blue, she also liked the idea of using it with some white or gray.  I made several blue palmettes - though beautiful, they were not quite the right color.  Then I tried a new combination with white, blue and clear glass along with dichroic.  The result was striking and beautiful . . . and . . . the right shade of blue!

Houston Astros World Series Champions Mixed Media Art November 27, 2018 15:22

Houston Astros World Series Champions Art Piece

All three of my children have attended The Woodlands Methodist School at some point during the last 8 years.  We have loved having our children in a Christian school with a high quality education, which is what TWMS provides.  For several years now, the school has put on a fundraiser during the fall called Boots & Bling.  This year, Boots & Bling will take place at The Woodlands Palmer Course country club.  This event includes a silent auction for various donated items, from vacations to works of art.

Tracy working on Artisan Crafted Works kiln glass piece.

For several years I have wanted to create a work of art to donate to this event, yet have been too busy.  I was strongly considering doing this last year when Hurricane Harvey hit, and left destruction all over the Houston area, including flooding our home and almost every home in our neighborhood.  This event was life changing.  Three days after our home was flooded, numerous people came into our neighborhood, volunteering and helping us and our neighbors muck out our homes.  This army of volunteers included family, friends, brothers and sisters from our church and other churches, and complete strangers.  Our church as well as The Woodlands Methodist School helped us tremendously, in many ways, in the days and weeks after this event.

Glass piece in kiln

So, this year I made it a priority to make a work of art to donate that would be appreciated by those attending Boots & Bling.  I considered several options, but decided on making a piece celebrating the 2017 World Series Champion, the Houston Astros.  This work measures 15.5" wide by 20" tall.  It is made from kiln glass formed within my kiln, hammer and hardie cut marble tesserae for the mosaic fill along with Italian glass accents, and sawn marble for the frame.

Houston Astros Glass Art by Artisan Crafted Works

While I lost track of how many firings it took to create the half inch thick round glass Houston Astros logo - I believe it took 6 firings, each firing lasting a minimum of 8 hours, with several taking over 12 hours.  This circular piece was crafted using an assortment of sheet glass, frit, dichroic accents, and enamels.

Red hot glass in kiln.

Closeup of Houston Astros World Series Champions Art Piece

The marble tesserae were hand cut using mosaic tools, a hammer and hardie.  This gives each piece a natural rough texture.  Among the marble tesserae are various glass accent pieces, including Italian smalti and millefiori.

Closeup of Glass and Stone  Art Piece by Artisan Crafted Works

Closeup of Houston Astros World Series Mixed Media Art Piece

Closeup of Glass and Stone Art Piece celebrating Houston Astros World Series

Commissioned TCU Wall Art Piece (#3) April 5, 2017 19:02

I got busy and forgot to post pics of the completed TCU Wall Art.  Here are some pics of the completed piece.  It measures 24" wide by 17" tall and approx 3/4" thick.  It includes the needed hanging hardware.  Since it was hand delivered, I did not think to weigh it (as I would have for shipping).  I would guess it weighed 20 to 25 pounds.  This multi media piece included: marble, glass chips, Italian art glass accents, stained glass accents, and resin.

As I was nearing completion, one of our friends came by and saw the unfinished piece.  A partner in their business is also an enthusiastic TCU alumnus and fan.  Long story made short:  it looks like I will make a similar commissioned TCU piece.

Closeup of TCU Horned Frog Logo Art

The customer who commissioned me to create this piece agreed that I could make it again for someone else.  However, each piece I make will have different accents / colors to make it unique.  I think this would also look good with a lighter colored Horned Frog. 

Closeup of TCU Logo Artwork with mirrored accents

I am also able to make wall art pieces with the logos of other teams / universities.  Price will vary depending upon the level of detail required in the logo and overall size.  This multi media TCU Horned Frog piece in this size is $1700.

Creating New Style Texas Star Backsplash January 17, 2017 08:00

I have been working on a new style for some of my work which is a combination of mosaic art with terrazzo.  The first piece of this style was a commissioned piece, a TCU Horned Frog wall art.  Here is a picture of the ten pieces that make up this Texas Star sitting loosely in place.

Marble and Glass Texas Star

Commissioned TCU Wall Art Piece (#2) January 16, 2017 07:30

While My client wanted the "T C U" to be prominent in this work, he wanted the TCU mascot, the Horned Frog, to be the focal point of this piece; therefore, portions of the "T C U" are missing to allow the Horned Frog to be in the foreground of this piece.  

Here are a few more pictures of the commissioned TCU Horned Frog piece in the creation process. 

As often happens when us humans are working, mistakes are made.  Sometimes mistakes actually make beautiful art.  Well, I made a mistake that was anything but beautiful.  Thank God this mistake did not require starting over - it only required several hours of work to repair!

Here is a closeup of the OOPS:

I'll post some pictures and a video of the completed work in my next post.

Commissioned TCU Wall Art January 9, 2017 07:00

I recently completed a commissioned piece for a client that was purchased as a gift for a TCU alumnus and serious fan.  He knew that he wanted the TCU mascot, the Horned Frog, to be the focal point of this piece.  At first, he was uncertain whether or not he even wanted "T C U" to also be in the piece.  He finally settled on including the "T C U" in the piece as he believed the recipient of this gift would appreciate it.

In the initial planning stage, my client and I discussed which form of the mascot would be used, the size of the "TCU", and the vertical placement of the mascot versus the "TCU".  This is a paper illustration used to assist in this process.

We also had to decide on the coloring for the piece.  We knew that it would include TCU's color, purple and white.  The client also indicated that he wanted part of it to be dark, probably black.  Below are several sample pieces that were made as we were discussing the material / color choices.


See my next blog post for in progress pictures of this TCU wall art piece.

Creating New Design Fleur de Lis Back Splash (Part 4) April 14, 2016 07:37

My new Fleur de Lis Backsplash Mural is almost complete.  However, I realize that I need to make a change and place accents within the four grouted radials.  With only grout, these radials almost disappear into the background.  My plan is to remove the grout from these radials, fill them with hand cut glass accents (the same type I used withing the Fleur de Lis), and re-grout the radials.

Creating New Design Fleur de Lis Back Splash (Part 3) April 6, 2016 09:12

Here are a few new images of the new Fleur de Lis backsplash as it approaches completion.

Creating New Design Fleur de Lis Back Splash (Part 2) April 4, 2016 07:00

I began working on a new style of Fleur de Lis backsplash in September of last year.  I then had to stop work on it as I had a custom job I was working on.  Before I could resume work on it, I came down with pneumonia!  Then we had family in town over Christmas.  Long story short, I finally resumed working on this new backsplash in March.  It is almost complete.  All that is left, really, is grout.  Here are some pics and a video.


Custom Made Houston Texans Toro Mosaic March 22, 2016 09:31

This past fall, I showed a friend of mine a Fleur de Lis backsplash that I was working on.  This piqued his interest and he asked if I could make other designs.  This led to him commissioning me to make a mosaic style wall art in the form of the Houston Texans Toro logo.  Here's how it turned out.

Slate and ceramic mosaic Houston Texans logo


In Progress - Creating Houston Texans Toro Logo Mosaic Wall Art December 21, 2015 13:00

Here are some pictures of the Texans Toro Logo I'm working on.

Grouting the mosaic Texans logo

The eye of the Texans logo

Closeup of horn of the toro

Creating New Design Fleur de Lis Back Splash (Part 1) November 2, 2015 08:00

I've included some new images of my forthcoming Fleur de Lis Back splash.  The Fleur de Lis itself is made of approximately 700 individual black-pigmented limestone tesserae, and includes small glass accent pieces randomly placed within the Fleur de Lis.  Although I love the look right now, I will be coating / encasing the Fleur de Lis in a clear epoxy resin so that it will be easy to clean.  Imagine trying to clean this of food splashed on it from your cooktop!

Hundreds of tesserae used to make Fleur de Lis

almost finished placing the tesserae

fleur de lis with mosaic fill background