Monday, February 21, 2011

SAMA, Now With More Tesserae (Incontro di SAMA)

Last week I went to the SAMA conference (mosaic stuff). It turned out better than expected because they had dropped me from workshops which I had registered for months before, so the legendary 'bar of expectation' wasn't set too high. Speaking of bars, that's how my family became so wealthy you know, we invented the bar that people set on the grocery conveyers to separate sales, it's all very lucrative.

On Wednesday, I took a class on micro mosaic taught by the famous Antonella Gallenda. The entire result was only about 4cm x 4cm. I like to think of it as the 'microfilm' which Roman spies had used thousands of years ago to smuggle out important state secrets. I've seen good results from some of my friends, but really, it was a major fail for me (partly because I picked an ambitious project, a copy of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo, and there was not enough time to finish).

On Thursday, a silent auction occurred. This is the one time I like to do my own bidding, especially when I actually win something. I've done some auctions at the DMA in which the sheets get filled up too quickly, and with entirely too many zeros at the ends of the prices.

This is the work that I was able to win, 'Texas Souvenir' by Julie Richey. It's going in a bar area on the wall with a museum quality plaque(not just precariously leaned up as it is now).

On Friday night, there was a gallery presentation at the Mexican American Cultural Center. It was closed the day before and events were cancelled. They said something about not being able to find enough workers to scrub the floors. But, the floor was absolutely sparkling for the exhibition, so hats off belatedly to MACC.

Below, someone is tickling the toes of Carol Shelkin's work. The girl depicted in the mosaic seemed to laugh at this.

Besides good rendering, Carol does a good job with tonal relationships even though the hue choices are far apart. It's one of the things that makes her work interesting to me and I'm sorry that I missed her workshop due to the evil SAMA computers.

I also saw glass flavored ice cream...

Here is Julie Richey's 'La Corrente' behind bulletproof glass. The Declaration of Independence was over to the left of it as I recall.

The vendor fair was great, with good selection. I backed my chariot up to the entrance and loaded it all down. I had an opportunity to speak with the lady who formulates a new glass smalti from China, imported by 'Peace, Love and Smalti' in Dallas. Or, was that 'Piece, Love and Smalti'? I'll have to check, but anyway the glass scientist really knew her stuff and it's an exciting product.

Disturbed hand drawn general presentation notes of mine will follow...


  1. welcome back! I enjoyed reading what you had to report from the event. I liked the gelato ! Certainly JR dress is superb mosaic work. But I did not get it when you said about the bar invention. Is that true? Let us have an update on the Chinese lady..?

  2. Hi Mag,
    I was joking you about inventing the separator bar. In the US, people buy so many groceries at one time, there is a need for a bar between items. This is so the cashier (comissa?) can understand when to stop.

    The Chinese lady was discussing with me the low and high oxidation for color generation, and other effects of impurities. I want to get her to make me some material with the same composition as the ancient Roman tesserae.

  3. I'll bet mosaic conventions must have been pretty popular back in ancient Rome, but I didn't realize they were still happening. That is pretty cool stuff.

  4. Phew, I didn't know you could do so much with mosaics. That photo of the girl in the water is amazing.

  5. Tom,
    I'll bet they were... I'll bet they were, my friend.

    Yeah, Carol (and so many other artists there) are really special (and not in the 'short bus' sense).

    Dutch Donut Girl,
    Well, the shells on the bottom of the dress are very fragile, she said. Since it will be there for a few months, the owner that she sold it to doesn't want damage (understandably). Nice to see you blogging again!

    You mean NOW? Or when you wrote this comment. I richly approve of your enjoyment, Deborah Harry. ;)