Retro Colorplay No. 2 – 16″h x 8″w – merribeth

Materials – smalti, mosaic golds

Retro Colorplay No. 2 was inspired by my love for all things mid-century (forward-thinking design from the late 1940s and 1950s). I attempted to evoke that period with the composition and execution of this piece. Mid-century décor often featured mosaics, so I imagined a piece that might fit into a modernist ranch house with a boomerang-shaped coffee table and Eames chairs. The second in a “retro” series, this piece was created during a mosaic course at Orsoni Smalti Veneziani. As a mosaic hobbyist, the experience marked my first visit to Italy, and my first time using a hammer and hardie.

Retro Colorplay No. 1 – 12″h x 5″w – merribeth

Materials – smalti, mosaic gold

This piece was created for a mosaic exchange between members of an online mosaic group. We were given maximum dimensions, but no other constraints beyond that. I decided to use some lovely 1960s-era Orsoni smalti that I’d recently found at my local mosaic store, Mosaic On A Stick. With the exception of the red smalti and the mosaic gold, all of the smalti used in the mosaic is vintage. Interestingly, the standard size of the vintage smalti was smaller than today’s smalti…so I designed a piece that would incorporate the use of the whole smalti, and accentuate its brilliant colors.

AMP Piece – 12″h x 12″w – merribeth

Titled: “because I took a walk in Amsterdam” – smalti and textured wall paint
This piece was part of the SAMA (Society of American Mosaic Artists) “American Mosaic Project.”

Those 70s Flowers – merribeth

I used ceramic tile to mosaic 8 flowers & the background…then glued 7 more flowers on top of the grouted mosaic.

Those 70s Flowers – Detail – merribeth o’keefe

Here’s a close-up showing the dimension of the 17″ x 10 3/8″ piece.

After working primarily with smalti on 2D projects, I decided it was time to try something different — just for fun. And what’s more fun than sculpting and mosaicking a 3D form?!

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more about “Mosaicked Birds“, posted with vodpod

Materials: concrete over Styrofoam, stained glass, mirror, millefiori, glass rods, glass tile, beads, fused glass, contorno

I had a blast taking a wonderful sculpture class at my local mosaic store (Mosaic on a Stick), and enjoyed working with colors and materials that aren’t in my usual artistic palette.

The story behind the piece’s name? Well, the chickadee’s mating call is a sweet little two-note whistle that sounds like “he her.” My husband and I decided that we’d name the two bird sculptures I made “He Her Birds” — I’d mosaic one, and he’d mosaic the other. His “He” bird will hopefully be finished this summer!

Mosaic ArtistMerribeth O’Keefe

Merribeth OKeefe

Merribeth O'Keefe

I’m a mosaic hobbyist and enthusiast who came to the craft through my love of beads. I had always loved mosaics, but thought you had to get an art degree to learn how to do it (and to get access to the necessary materials)…until we took a trip to Europe just after 9/11. One day in Amsterdam, on a mission to find a bead store, I wandered into what I discovered was a mosaic store. It had everything a bead store has — excited customers, classes, tools, materials by the piece and in bulk — but it was all for making mosaics! That was the beginning of my new obsession. Merribeth O’Keefe

orsoni smalti


Mosaic Art Source mosaic definitions:

smalto (pl. smalti) – smalti is characterized by its dazzling range of brilliant opaque colors. Smalti is prepared by adding crystalline material (corpo) and coloured material (anima) to the colourless or coloured fused glass. Smalti is literally available in thousands of colors, is a very stable glass, easy to cut and very durable. m.a.s. glossary

orsoni mosaic gold

mosaic gold

mosaic gold – 24k gold-leaf tesserae are made up of a glass support layer (usually transparent, at times opaque red or coloured) less than one centimetre thick. The 24k gold metal leaf is then sandwiched between the support and a thin protective glass layer (the cartellina). In tesserae the colour shade is determined by the purity of the metal, the thickness of the leaf, the colour, if any, of the cartellina and of the support. m.a.s. glossary