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The Universe of Cosmos Glass Tile: Speckled Loveliness

Red Blanket Flower Mandala by Margaret Almon with a Center of Cosmos Glass Tile.
Red Blanket Flower Mandala by Margaret Almon with a Center of Cosmos Glass Tile.

New materials are gifts to my creative spirit, and Cosmos glass tiles have a universe of possibility.  Said to made of 80% recycled black glass, with a metallic iridescence flashed onto the surface, looking like constellations of tiny stars.

Even better, in my love of the imperfect, the seconds, broken or oddly, are called “Meteorites” as if they burned through earth’s atmosphere!  The center of this Red Blanket Flower Mandala begins in coppery orange Cosmos.

The iridescence reminds me of when I looked longingly at the eyeshadows on the drugstore cosmetic shelves.  After high school, my eye shadow use dropped drastically, but I still love looking at the compacts of shimmering colors.  My attraction to adornment has moved to more permanent kinds.

Cosmos in Gold.
Cross by Margaret Almon Using Cosmos in Gold.

 

 

Film Noir Heart by Margaret Almon with Silver Cosmos Tile.
Film Noir Heart by Margaret Almon with Silver Cosmos Tile.

I is for Iridized Glass

yellow sunflower mandala: a glass mosaic by Margaret Almon
yellow sunflower mandala: a glass mosaic by Margaret Almon

 

I is for iridized glass, and its shimmering rainbow effect.  A thin metallic layer is bonded to the glass when a metallic salt solution is applied and then heated.  Dichroic glass, which means “two color” is sometimes confused with iridized glass, but it is a coating that allows the glass to toggle back and forth between only 2 colors. The pale yellow glass, second row from the outer edge in this mandala, is iridized, and you can see the subtle purplish sheen of the rainbow coloration.  Tiffany patented a version of iridescent glass called “Favrile” which was applied to his blown glass artworks. Here is an excerpt from Mark Doty’s apt poem, titled Favrile:

Glassmakers,
at century’s end,
compounded metallic lusters

 

in reference
to natural sheens (dragonfly
and beetle wings,

 

marbled light on kerosene)
and invented names
as coolly lustrous

 

as their products’
scarab-gleam: Quetzal,
Aurene, Favrile.

 

Suggesting,
respectively, the glaze
of feathers,

 

that sun-shot fog
of which halos
are composed. . .

 

Iridescence

Ruby Throated Hummingbird by MrClean1982 via Flickr
Ruby Throated Hummingbird by MrClean1982 via Flickr

Iridescence and I go back a long way. When my family visited my grandparents in Texas, I was plunged into an alternate universe from my home in Canada, clearly signaled by the red plastic hummingbird feeders that my grandmother hung in the backyard. Filled with red sugar water, the mock flowers enticed the Ruby Throated hummingbirds, and I was transfixed by the iridescence at their throats.

 

I didn’t know it was called iridescence, of a surface taking on different hues from different angles, just that my eye went right to it. We didn’t have hummingbirds in Edmonton, but I did have a supply of eyeshadow, and was particularly taken with one that flicked between gold and green. Eyeshadow was as alluring as the hummer’s throat. I didn’t really understand makeup as a way to attract boys, but rather a palette of color and sparkle and transformation.

 

And now it appears that bees are drawn to floral iridescence, concentrated in the ultraviolet range, beyond what our human eyes can see. So not only do they see “bee purple” but in iridescent glory. Perhaps I was meant for iridescence, since my name “Margaret” means Pearl, and pearls have layers that refract light like tiny prisms, bringing forth all the colors of the rainbow. The rainbow does not have to be bright; it can be subtle like this shell swirl by honey 77.