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Art Deco Spiral Mirror Makes its Way

Art Deco Mirror by Nutmeg Designs
Art Deco Mirror by Nutmeg Designs with Wayne Stratz Selfie, $341. SOLD.

Our visit to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton NJ was on the way to deliver the Art Deco mirror to a client. Stratoz had drafted the design and cut out the black stained glass pieces, gluing them to the mirror frame. I then had the mirror in my studio for several months, waiting while I created house number commissions.

Collaborative pieces remind me of jazz improvisation ~ the listening between musicians.  What I heard in the smooth black glass, was a desire for silver contrast, for textures and speckling and mottling.  The focal point arch at the top spoke in white gold nails ~ offcuts that are considered seconds by the factory, but which had the right shape to fan out.

Our client had cleared a space for the mirror, got the nail ready for hanging, and she showed us the gray violet wall, and the vase of white peacock feathers adjacent, echoing the shape of the white gold.  Another conversation begins.

* * *

It was a day of spirals, with two cool ones at the sculpture park.

Karl Stirner Steel Sculpture
Karl Stirner Steel Sculpture, Untitled(1987-1992), Grounds for Sculpture Hamilton, NJ. Photo by Wayne Stratz. Inadvertent inclusion of Margaret Almon.
Urchin Bronze Sculpture by Howard Kalish
Urchin Bronze Sculpture by Howard Kalish(2001), Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ. Photo by Wayne Stratz(2015).

Getting Ready for Wilmington: Orange Ombre Mirror

Orange Ombre Mirror by Margaret Almon
Orange Ombre Mirror. Glass, gold smalti, dichroic, ceramic mosaic on wood, 8×10 inches, ©2015 Margaret Almon.

On July 25 & 26th, 2015, I will have my work at the Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair at the Chase Center in Wilmington, DE.  I am shepherding my mosaics out of the studio and down the stairs for staging on the dining room table.  I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s book on habits, Better than Before, and she describes people as tending to be “openers” or “finishers.”  Usually, I am an opener.  I like to check out large piles of library books, buy new art supplies, start new projects.  I used to feel obligated to finish every book I checked out, but after discovering the Reader’s Bill of Rights in Library School, (what Rubin would call a Secret of Adulthood), I now leave a book undone on occasion.

Stratoz gently advised that I not start any new mosaics the week before the show.  He is wise, though I did find a way to remake a commissioned project, under the guise that it wasn’t “new.”  Otherwise, I do enjoy a burst of finishing the week before a craft show ~ a reminder of the wonder of creation.

Are you an opener or a finisher?

Log Cabin Quilt Mosaic MIrror by Margaret Almon.

Log Cabin Love: Quilt Pattern Mosaic Mirror

Log Cabin Quilt Mosaic MIrror by Margaret Almon.
Log Cabin Quilt Mosaic Mirror by Margaret Almon.  Glass and Smalti on wood, 8×10 inches.


One of the pleasures of having an Open Studio is that people get to see an abundance of work on the walls, be surrounded by it, and have creative ideas percolating.  A visitor saw my Log Cabin Quilt Panel(below) and asked if I could make a mirror with the same motif.  With Stratoz’s trusty drafting skills, he drew a series of squares around the perimeter.

These glass tiles are from Italy, with swirled and mottled color.  My work table was a mountain of glass as I sorted tiles by hue and intensity.  These tiles teach me to look closely, to appreciate differences that at not discernible at first.

Log Cabin Quilt Mosaic Panel by Margaret Almon.
Log Cabin Quilt Mosaic Panel by Margaret Almon. Glass and smalti on wood, 11×14 inches.

Commission your Log Cabin 

Getting to Orange.

Getting to Orange: Round Rainbow Mirror in Progress

Getting to Orange.
Getting to Orange. Rainbow Mirror in Progress. Photo by Margaret Almon.  Historic Floorcloth by Tracy McCarron.

It’s awesome when clients commission something inspired by my previous work, and taking it even further. This mirror is 20 inches across, and I started gradating the colors in June, and worked on it a bit at a time, for Christmas delivery.  When I got to orange, I had this vision of it taking over half the mirror, but I pulled myself back.  More photos to come.

Between Orange and Yellow. Rainbow Mirror in Process. Photo by Margaret Almon.

Commission your mirror

Tangerine Orange Mosaic Mirror by Margaret Almon

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.


Mirrors at Nutmeg Designs Etsy Shop.

Umber Mirror by Margaret Almon

U is for Umber: A to Z Challenge 2014

Umber Mirror by Margaret Almon
Umber and Blue Mirror by Margaret Almon, glass, copper smalti, and unglazed ceramic tile, 10×10 inches.


Umber is an earthtone, an earth pigment.  It’s odd how I can hear the names of “raw umber” and “burnt umber” and not realize it meant that one was in its “raw” state, and the other heated, to make a deeper tone.  The outer tiles are Cinca unglazed ceramic from Portugal, and seem formed right out of the earth.

Earthtone Mirror by Margaret Almon

Nutmeg Designs at North Penn Holiday Craft Market, November 19, 2011

Earthtone Mirror by Margaret Almon
Earthtone Mosaic Mirror by Margaret Almon

Stratoz and I will be at the North Penn Holiday Craft Market in our same spot, booth #98, on Saturday November 19th.  I am rebuilding my mirror stock, since suddenly I didn’t have any left.   The Earthtone mirror allowed me to try out some new glass tiles, with a muted orange tone, almost stone-like.  I am also debuting some Sunshine and Shadow quilt block trivets to diversify the collection.  We hope to see you on Saturday!


The North Penn Holiday Craft Market of the
North Penn International Friendship Committee
North Penn High School
Saturday, November 19, 2011
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.