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Celtic Cross Mosaics: Circle of Light

Mosaic Cross for Wayne by Margaret Almon
Mosaic Cross for Wayne by Margaret Almon, glass and ceramic on WEDI board.

From the first time I thought of making a mosaic cross for my husband, I was drawn to the Celtic Cross, with its circle of light juxtaposed at the heart of the cross.  This particular form of the Christian symbol has many layers of folklore as to its origins, from remnants of an old sun god joining his disc to Christianity, to the circle representing eternity and God’s love.  Stephen Walker, metalsmith, has an interesting article on Celtic Cross History and Symbolism.

The cross I made for Wayne is unusual with its crazy paving.  I had a scrap of stained glass with a graduated shading from red to magenta to purple, and irregular pieces were the best way for me to preserve the color progression.
Putting the iridized glass together for the circle was a powerful experience, as the glow was intensified by the teal glass background, and incarnating the hope of a light shining in the darkness.  The cross below is a commission, which incorporates the same iridized glass into the circle, but this time the glass is in a less linear form, emanating like one of my mandalas.  I experimented with some of the many offcuts from nipping glass, to make a patchwork cross on slate which has tremendous light catching abilities.

Mosaic Cross in Red by Margaret Almon
Mosaic Cross in Red by Margaret Almon, glass on slate.

My mother, who is a minister, suggested a cross with interlocking rings, for weddings.


Wedding Cross by Margaret Almon
Wedding Cross by Margaret Almon, glass on slate.


Commissioning a Mosaic: 3 Questions to Consider

Rainbow Celtic Cross

A Celtic Cross Finds the One it was Meant For

Celtic Cross in Green and Amber
Over on Stratoz:
Wordless Wednesday: Bird in the Center(of a Celtic Cross)

Commission Cross for Mimi and John by Margaret Almon

Commissioning a Mosaic: 3 questions to consider

Commission Cross for Mimi and John by Margaret Almon
Commission Cross for Mimi and John by Margaret Almon

Writing about mosaic improvisation led me to reflect on the process of mosaic commissions.  When someone asks me to make a piece for them, I feel honored that they want to enter this process of creation with me.

Commissions inspire new ideas by the dialogue between the artist and the commissioner.  I thought it would be helpful to discuss three questions that are important to ask yourself if you are commissioning an artist to make a work.

1.  What aspects of the artist’s work speak to you?

There was a saying in the Moravian church I grew up in, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty and in all things love.”  What are the essentials?  The colors, the size, the texture?  What means the most to you about this project?  Is there a color you love?  A particular shape?  If you want aqua, put it out there.

My work has topographic relief, a tactile textural quality where pieces are at different levels, and one of my first clients exclaimed that she loved the bumpy surface, and helped me create something she loved and gave her delight.  Communicating what draws you to the artist’s work will help put you both in the same room.

2.  How much uncertainty can you tolerate?

Commissioning a piece is by nature about uncertainty because it starts as an act of the imagination. Some clients are familiar with my range of work, and assume with some basic parameters, that they will love what I make for them.  Others want sketches, samples or check-ins as the project progresses.  The important thing is to communicate to the artist what your tolerance level is, and ask for what you need, such as photos of previous work or whatever else makes you more comfortable with the process.

Commissions are like a jazz set, where the tune goes in all sorts of unexpected directions, and just when you think you’ve lost the tune entirely, it comes back, and this can be immensely exciting.

3.  What is the story behind the work you want to commission?

Is there a narrative or memory that gives this work meaning for you?  Is it a frame for a photo of someone you love?  Does the work remind you someone or something?  The story can help the artist envision how this commissioned piece will fit into your life.

What questions do you really want to ask the artist?  Please ask!  Commissioning art is not something that happens in most people’s lives.  It’s unfamiliar territory.  A professional artist will help make you feel at ease, and answer your questions.

On my website, Nutmeg Designs Art: Commission FAQ’s and Process 

Over at Stratoz’s Blog:

Crafting on Thursdays–Commissions don’t need to be huge, and can be blue