Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bits and Pieces

The wood-fired clay oven is being transformed into an elaborate, colorful artwork!

Today, our friends Stephanie, Laurel and Darin arrived to  begin creating this masterpiece.  Most of the tesserae (the term for traditional mosaic pieces; that is what I will call these mosaic pieces even though many are far from traditional) were collected by Stephanie and her husband Mike over the years.

We discussed our strategy and started by laying out designs on big tables.
Each side of the oven will have a different farm theme, tied together by a meandering  squash vine.  The front face of the oven has bees, small hexagonal tiles evoking honeycomb, and stylized squash blossoms.

An arch of black tiles and traditional glass tesserae called "smaltis" will  border the opening of the oven.  A smattering of the smaltis have real gold leaf  - nothing but the finest for this oven!
An alphabet of tiles with runes inscribed on them were coaxed to spell out "Pizza"
and "Bread" above the oven door.
The west side of the oven will have  a pond design,with fish and frogs and ducks galore. Many of the tiles have a little story. The four marble tiles Mike and Stephanie acquired in Italy were factory discards because a flaw in the stone made tiles with a missing corner - but placed together they will make a natural opening around a ventilation hole in the side of the oven.
When the oven is firing, smoke pours out of the hole, so we thought it was a good place for the "No Smoking" tile.
Darin spread mortar to begin affixing the tesserae to the front of the oven.
The  design begins to take shape! We finished tiling most of the front and the west "pond" side of the oven today. The south and east sides will have animal and garden themes.   Once the oven is completely covered with the tesserae designs, it will be grouted.
The tesserae team: Darin, Stephanie and Laurel. When this oven is done it shall be known as the Mike Podulke Memorial Oven, created from the tiny tesserae treasures Mike found, by family and friends who loved him.

More photos coming as this project progresses.


Gardeningbren said...

Excellent. Will look forward to more photos of this. How special and beautiful.

katiegirl said...

I can't wait to see the finished product!