Make splashy gar­den and other keep­sakes with mo­saic stones

The Progress-Index - At Home - - GARDEN - By Jen­nifer Forker

Anne Marie Price taught her­self mo­saic art, cre­at­ing in­tri­cate de­signs and por­traits with cut pieces of stained glass.

Re­cently, she be­gan bal­anc­ing her usual large projects with smaller ones: She turns her mo­saic touch to smooth stones that she picks up on beach­comb­ing and moun­tain hikes near her Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, home.

“I’ve al­ways been a col­lec­tor of things, of small ob­jects, of rocks,” says Price. Now, “I’ve found a use for all those lit­tle things I’ve picked up.”

Price com­bines tesserae — mo­saic-speak for the glass and ce­ramic pieces — with other ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing peb­bles, shells and glass beads. On the stones, she keeps the de­sign sim­ple with a sin­gle, vivid flower shape, spi­ral or leaf. The works can be dis­played in­doors or out.

Chris Em­mert of Eu­gene, Ore­gon, cre­ates mo­saics on a va­ri­ety of sur­faces, in­clud­ing mir­rors and pen­dants, but pri­mar­ily en­joys craft­ing mo­saic rocks.

“I still en­joy do­ing it be­cause I like the rocks. There’s never a bad rock out there,” she says with a laugh.

Em­mert mostly uses Penn­syl­va­nia blue­stone; it’s dense, flat and can en­dure both hot and cold weather. That makes it per­fect for mak­ing gar­den art and her cus­tom-made pet me­mo­rial stones. Em­mert sells her mo­saic stones at her shop, Chris Em­mert Mo­saic.

Gar­den de­signer Kathryn Boyl­ston also makes mo­saic stones, and sells them at Sun­dance By De­sign, a shop she man­ages in Ever­green, Colorado.

“It’s a con­ve­nient, read­ily avail­able sur­face that’s not go­ing to blow away in the land­scape,” Boyl­ston says. Also, “it’s just a pretty lit­tle thing to have in your gar­den.”

The process may be sim­ple — ad­here glass and other pieces to the stone with a wa­ter­proof, sil­i­cone ad­he­sive and then fill in the spa­ces with grout — but there’s still a learn­ing curve.

“Don’t stress on the de­sign. The first one is not go­ing to be your mas­ter­piece,” Em­mert ad­vises. Ad­di­tional tips from these ex­perts:

You can take a class — Em­mert and Price teach them — but the process is also learn­able from YouTube videos, each says.

As­sem­ble your sup­plies and clear sev­eral hours for the pro­ject. There are few tools: tile or glass nip­pers and pro­tec­tive eyewear.

Ask for scraps at a stained-glass shop. The glass and va­ri­ety are great, and it’s less daunt­ing than buy­ing an en­tire sheet of col­ored glass at spe­cialty and online stores, says Boyl­ston. Keep an eye on Craigslist’s online clas­si­fied ad­ver­tise­ments for sup­plies, says Em­mert, who looks for artists who are re­tir­ing. “When I find some­one get­ting out of it, it’s a lot of glass,” she says.

Ac­cent your work with found ob­jects, jew­elry pieces, peb­bles, glass beads and more. “Look around you and see what you have just right there,” says Price.

Out­line sim­ple shapes with a string of small ball chain for a strik­ing ef­fect, says Boyl­ston.

When fin­ished ad­her­ing col­or­ful ma­te­ri­als, out­line the de­sign with pain­ter’s tape, leav­ing ⅛-inch around the piece. Af­ter grout­ing, and be­fore the grout thor­oughly dries, re­move the tape. This will cre­ate a clean grout line, says Boyl­ston.

Use an epoxy grout and you won’t need a sealer to pro­tect stones left out­doors, says Em­mert. “Once you master it, you don’t have to worry about it crum­bling or crack­ing. It holds its color very well,” she says.

Mak­ing mo­saics soon be­comes sooth­ing and feeds the cre­ative spirit, Em­mert says: “You’re cre­at­ing rub­ble and then putting it back to­gether again.”


This un­dated photo shows a se­lec­tion of mo­saic stones hand­crafted by Kathryn Boyl­ston, of Ever­green, Colo. Boyl­ston, an in­te­rior and gar­den de­signer, says this is an easy and fast craft that any­one can do in a few hours. “It’s just a pretty lit­tle...


This un­dated photo pro­vided by Anne Marie Price shows a mo­saic stone hand­crafted by Price, of Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Calif. Price pri­mar­ily cre­ates in­tri­cate, time-con­sum­ing works of mo­saic art but turns to the sim­pler, smaller rock form when she needs a...

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