Finished Art Glass PortraitRecently, I had the opportunity to work with students at the Arts Academy to create some unique fused art glass mosaics projects for the school annual fundraiser.

As the class is studying the Renaissance at this time, the teacher Susie Mizerak led the students through a search process to identify paintings that we could then reproduce as a mosaic.  After the class selected several, the students voted on their favorites and the game was on.

The paintings that the students selected were Detail of a Landscape, 1471-1474,  by Giovanni Bellini, :

Painting of castle


and the detail of a figure from the painting “Tobias and the Angel” by Verrocchio and Leonardo

Detail of Tobias Tobias and the Angel

The process was fairly straight forward, although a tad bit labor intensive.

First, I cut up around 25 pounds of fusible art glass (in this case system 90) into smaller than 1/4″ squares, separated by color.

cut fusible glassThen the students were divided into 6 teams of 4-5 students each and given a piece of the painting to reproduce.  The painting pieces were taped to the back of a clear piece of fusible glass.  The students selected colors and glued them on top of the clear glass in an effort to reproduce the painting as closely as possible.  The grid is intended to be used as a guide, and is a clear piece of plastic sandwiched between the painting and the bottom of the glass.

Students WorkingStudents workingCorner of PortraitCorner of portraitPortrait detailPortrait detailPortrait DetailPortrait DetailAfter all of the individual parts of the portrait were finished, they were assembled on top of a sheet of fusible glass.  The seams between the squares had to be filled and some color continuity was adjusted in adjacent squares.

Assembled PortraitFine black frit was then brushed over the entire piece to fill in the gaps between squares and then the entire piece was fired according to the glass manufacturers recommendations.

Finished Art Glass PortraitHere is the final piece after a custom made walnut frame is added.  The frame has hangers on the top corners so the piece can be hung in front of a window, or an a wall.  The final size of this piece is about 18″ x 24″.

The second class did a similar project with the Bellini painting,  also about 18″ x 24″:

artsacademy4Overall, an interesting experience for the teachers AND the students.  These pieces will be on view at the Arts Academy Gala later this spring.