Collage Meets Glass: Braque and Gemmaux

La Aquarium au verre by Georges Braque with Roger Malherbe-Navarre(1954).

La Aquarium au verre by Georges Braque with Roger Malherbe-Navarre(1954). Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

This piece caught my eye at the Corning Museum of Glass.  It was mounted in front of a lightbox and the colors of glass emerged in glowing layers.  Before I started making mosaics, I made collages with magazine paper and the Gemmail technique is like having those scraps of paper turn to glass.  Artist Jean Crotti wanted to incorporate light into his paintings in a new way and began working with thin glass glued and then fused, and called it Gemmail from combining the French words for gem and enamel(Gemmaux in the plural).  

Crotti sought advice on the logistics of his technique with his neighbors, the Malherbe-Navarre family, physicists studying light and fluorescence.  Eventually Roger Malherbe-Navarre became the primary maker of Gemmail, and artists like Braque and Picasso were enchanted, and wanted to translate their paintings into glass and light.

A reviewer of a set of Gemmail windows, Winefride Wilson from a 1964 issue of Tablet, was ambivalent, torn between the wonder of the effect and concern that it reminded her of childhood kaleidoscopes, and hard to take seriously.  I have no such reservations ~ I am on the side of wonder.


Jean Crotti and Georges Braque, ca. 1956 / Guy Suignard, photographer. Jean Crotti papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


Pablo Picasso: Le Gemmail

A Brief History of Gemmaux, Corning Museum of Glass

Jean Crotti Papers, Archives of American Art




Poetry Four Square at Poets Walk in Rochester, NY

Poets Walk Selfies: Rochester Memorial Art Gallery.

Poets Walk Selfies: Rochester Memorial Art Gallery.


Finding Your Edges

Tangerine Orange Mosaic Mirror by Margaret Almon

Tangerine Orange Mosaic Mirror by Margaret Almon, glass tile, stained glass, gold smalti and dichroic on wood, 10×10 inches.

With my square mirrors, I imagine I am walking the middle path; I am centered between my edges. Establishing the edge provides security that it will all fit.  If I let the glue dry before moving onward, then I don’t have to worry about nudging a piece out of alignment.  With this one, I chose the outer tiles first, with their creamy tangerine smoothness.  They are made from recycled broken bottles and windshields.  They are orange, through and through.  Then the innermost tiles, smalto from Italy, with a creamsicle swirl.  Then I anchor the corners before traveling that middle path, less orderly than the edges, but still more linear than some of my other work.

When I first took a mosaic class and began a project making coasters, I started in the middle and didn’t give myself enough room for the edges. Not every project requires an edge or an anchor, but I am grateful for learning when to make it easier on myself.  This happens in my life as well as in my art.


Tangerine Orange Mosaic Mirror at Nutmeg Designs Etsy Shop.

Film Noir Dove Pendant


A Cure for January: Orange Daylillies and Tumeric


For the third year, Stratoz and I are doing the January Cure at Apartment Therapy, a kind of Spring Cleaning in the winter time. My favorite task is buying flowers.  It had never occurred to me to buy flowers when there were none in the garden, and the infusion of color does me good in the […]


Listening: Gift for a Spiritual Director

Listening by Nutmeg Designs. Glass on slate, 6x15 inches.

Listening was my natural state as a child.  Listening to the adults tell stories to me, or talk to each other above me.  I became a writer with my storehouse of listening. Stratoz and I had a Christmas commission to create a sign with the word Listening for a spiritual director.  Listening had become a […]


An Orange Star on a Wall of Lights: Glad Tidings

Orange Stained Glass Star by Staci Klemmer. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

A surprise gift for me from Staci Klemmer, client and friend ~ a stained glass star, in orange of course! I hung it from the Wall of Lights, which keep me infused with color during the long winter months. Staci used to live around the corner from us, and we discovered she is a colleague […]

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