Emerge series

Emerge is an exploration of the constructive process of consciousness. By means of attending, a coherent conscious moment of being emerges from a fleeting, fluid background of neuronal activity. This moment fades and a new set of sensations come to the fore. These moments of attending take place within contexts--the internal contexts of personal history and perceptions and the external social contexts to which we are so keenly attuned.

Emerge4 full 16x10 Emerge4 (2009) each panel 24" x 24" glass, grout, acrylic spray paint on MDF

Foliage was arbitrarily chosen to create a coherent context. The forms of the shadowed foliage are reduced to their essence by the absence of light. The frame of glass can be read as illumination, parallel to the moment of conscious awareness. Light allows the perception of additional information: color, contrast, depth.

Emerge4 detail 16x10 Emerge4 detail (2009) each panel 24" x 24" glass,grout, acrylic spray paint on MDF

Emerge3 detail 16x10 Emerge3 (2009) detail 24" x 24" glass, grout, acrylic spray paint on MDF

Emerge lends support to my claim of the inherent symbolic capital of glass as a conceptual medium.  Glass captures and manipulates light, providing a mechanism for incorporating light (reflectance, absorption) as an element in the piece.

Two diptychs from the Emerge series were included in a juried group show in downtown Evanston as part of the Art-Under-Glass program. Different lighting conditions verifies the dynamic nature of the work.

Lit 16x7 art under glass Emerge4 and Emerge5 showing downtown Evanston

Unlit artunderglass 16x7 Emerge4 and Emerge5 showing downtown Evanston

More images of Emerge series can be seen on Flickr:

Emerge Photo Gallery | Slideshow

Impel splash2 project

Goal.  To create bold and modern mosaic elements for this compact farmhouse kitchen backsplash.  

A larger ceramic field tile was a great way to create a clean, modern, urban look with minimal grout lines.  The client and I both loved this 12.75" x 4.25" rectangle shape in the Dal-Tile Modern Dimensions line.  The 'urban putty' color provided us with a sophisticated neutral surround.  The color palette needed to integrate the mahogany of the cabinets and pull out the terra cotta, cinnamon and burnt sienna tones from the arandis rose granite countertops.  Transparent glass was incorporated to create a sense of fluidity and depth.  Blue color accents were used, invoking both sky and lake from the surrounding natural landscape.

Color palette

Concept.  Impel is all about movement and change.  Using three mosaic elements gave me a chance to explore this concept in a new way.  The two small insets are each essentially 'portraits' of a single element found in the central inset.  They appear in relative isolation in the small insets and then in a broader context in the center inset.  In the center insets, we see the changes that result from the inherent impingements, interactions and connections in context.


color patterns are developed

Fabrication.  All work is done in my studio.  For this project, I used the double reverse method to avoid using mesh--which would have shown through the transparent glass.  Pieces were individually cut and adhered to sticky shelf liner paper.  This was then face-taped for transportation to the project site.

Insets ready for installation

insets ready for installation

Installation.  Surround tile was installed by professional tile installer Michael Cozzi, Artistic Tile Concepts.  The ceramic surround tile and mosaic insets were adhered to the drywall with thinset.


Michael Cozzi finishing setting the ceramic surround tile

The surround tile was grouted with unsanded oyster gray grout.  I grouted the mosaic insets with sanded charcoal gray.


Grouting insets

surround tile is taped off while grouting the mosaic insets

Finished Project.  Proportions work well in this compact kitchen, adding bold visual elements that are in keeping with the scale of this backsplash.  The installation is dynamic dependent on lighting conditions.  Bold direct overhead light brings out the intense color and strong contrasts.  In low light and from angled perspectives the iridescent glass and 24k gold smalti literally gleams, creating a different visual experience.

Full kitchen 8x5

Impel splash2


Inset detail

Impel splash2 inset detail

Impel splash2 Photo Gallery | Slideshow



Bend splash2 project

  When I first spoke with this client on the phone, she explained that her kitchen was dark and that her elderly mother had trouble seeing in the space.

I didn't fully understand the extent of the issue until I saw it in person.  Having the same gloss granite on the countertop as on the backsplash made this kitchen a literal blackhole.  No amount of lighting would improve this workspace.  In addition to being impossibly dark, the kitchen was aesthetically out-of-sync with the rest of the main floor in this lovely waterfront townhome which has plenty of natural light, neutral wall coloring and interesting color accents.

The client chose 'Bend' as the starting point for the project.  She selected a neutral matte glass tile in 1" x 6" to coordinate with the wall color in the rest of the main floor space. Three circular mosaic insets were designed to "refract" the lines of mosaic glass and at the same time serve as floating visual markers along the long wall the backsplash.


IMG_4527 inset being fabricated on mesh in my studio

Final design work and individual patterns were created for the mosaic insets.  All cutting was done in my studio.  Each inset was fabricated piece-by-piece and adhered to a light-weight fiberglass mesh.  As in all my 'Bend' series work, threaded lines of 24k gold smalti are incorporated to define the forms and ensure the composition remains dynamic.  24k gold smalti is straight from the Orsoni factory in Venice, Italy.  This is the material you've seen on the unbelievably ornate mosaic ceilings of the Italian cathedrals.  And it has been used there for a very important reason:  it catches and reflects light like no other material on earth. This unparalleled reflective material has become an important part of my ongoing quest to create mosaic compositions that remain dynamic--changing with lighting condition or viewpoint.  It works so well in a backsplash which is at times brightly lit from under-cabinet lighting, and at other times, may have no direct light at which point the gold smalti catches whatever ambient light is there and truly gleams.

The circles for the insets were also cut out of the surround tile in my studio--here's where you want precision measurements.

IMG_4627marking the cuts in the surround tile for the mosaic insets

I worked with professional tile installer, Michael Cozzi.   For installation of glass over an existing granite backsplash, Michael roughed the surface and applied a thin layer of thinset in advance of installation.  Grouting was done on 2 separate days. The surround tile was grouted with a matching neutral grout.  I grouted the mosaic insets on another day with a dark charcoal grout, enhancing the strong contrasts within the piece.


IMG_4839 mosaic insets and line taped off and ready for grouting

At the time of the installation, the client agreed to extend the straight lines of mosaic glass around the other 2 walls of the kitchen.  This added another day to the project but made for a truly spectacular installation that integrated the entire kitchen.

IMG_4849Kitchen after completion of Bend splash2




IMG_4878 Bend splash2 detail

Impel splash1 project

In updating this kitchen, the client chose a gorgeous dark turquoise matte 1" x 3" glass surround tile and specified a palette of greens and blues for the mosaic inset. There are several interruptions and volume changes in this backsplash, so I wanted to develop one intricate, compelling visual focal point with hand-cut mosaic glass.

As I began sketching for this project, the 'Impel' series concept emerged:  the basic impulse to move forward and the consequent changes and evolution in form and contour from interactions, connections and impingements.  This idea of constant change both of ourselves and those around us has become important to me.  Specifically I have been considering the dynamic within a family and the constant change and movement that is inherent to that unit.

After developing the drawing and a pattern, cutting was done in my studio.  Each piece in the mosaic inset is cut individually and adhered to a fiberglass mesh.

IMG_4475_2 Impel splash1 7" x 7" inset ready for installation


The mesh is then installed directly into the thinset at installation.


IMG_4643_2 Impel splash1 mosaic inset and surround tile is affixed to the drywall with thinset


Grouting is the final step in the process and it is always so gratifying to see the whole project come together.


Final kitchen 16x10 Impel splash1 2009


Their kitchen has a completely refreshed and modern, urban feel to it with the custom functional art installation providing visual interest in a space where they'll spend a ton of time.




Pricing Guide for Custom Mosaic Backsplash

Pricing Guide

The two main variables in pricing an installation are the amount andthe complexity of hand-cut mosaic glasswork in the design. Consider the following project options, each with varying amounts of mosaic glasswork.  These are not actual compositions, just a rough idea of possible scale and price points.  We can find the right proportions for your space and budget.

The price points below are estimates based on a hypothetical 10sf kitchen backsplash.  These are strictly hypothetical projects. We can work to create a fabulous element that fits your unique space and budget.

Mosaic element cost includes design, materials and fabrication of hand-cut mosaic elements.  If you are not working with a designer, I can assist you with the entire project. Total installed cost includes entire project design, mosaic element, surround tile and installation.

Accent. Enliven an everyday area with a precision cut sparkling mosaic inset. 

Accent 2x1

Mosaic element only:    $1500                                                       

Total installed cost:       $3300 (includes mosaic element, surrounding tile and installation)

HighlightProvide a compelling focal point with a vibrant functional art element.


Mosaic element:        $3500

Total installed cost:    $5000 (includes mosaic element, surrounding tile and installation)

Feature.  Define the entire room with an sensational full-scale installation.


Mosaic element:      $6000

Total installed cost:  $7500 (includes mosaic element, surrounding tile and installation)