I always fancied myself as a professional beachcomber. You know how that daydream goes - tanned, lithe, living on a tropical island (the food magically grows itself, probably), living in a driftwood hut and scouring the shoreline every sunrise and sunset for ocean treasures which are invariably useful and/or beautiful in some existentially meaningful way . I would make wonderful art and decor from it and there was probably a ruggedly handsome Spaniard somewhere in there doing some useful things on a boat. We would have no need for pah!, money, because th..

Ahem. Anyway, while I do live a stone's throw from a tropical beach these days, the flotsam and jetsam of my beachcombing reality is mostly plastic rubbish and aluminium cans, the driftwood hut is a studio underneath my parents house, lithe and I parted ways some time ago, the swarthy Spaniard is nowhere to be seen and appears to have been replaced by a spaniel with ADHD who has on occasion been known to faceplant into sand dunes.
To offset the casual disappointment that comes from constantly fishing trash off the beach, I do try and seek out whatever charming treasures the sea provides - mostly in the form of corals, shells and sea glass (which is of course just regular broken glass but with a nicer personality). After compulsively collecting a hoard of clear, brown, green and blue trinkets I figured I should probably do something daydreamesque with them, so I started making mosaics.

My first piece was a mix of glass decorative beads that had been sitting around for a dozen years doing nothing especially useful, clear coloured sea glass and store bought pieces of paua shell I picked up in New Zealand a while back, all mounted on a paver purchased at the hardware store. Total cost to make was about $20. My next two pieces were pure recycling however - I picked up the pavers from the tip and the glass is from the beach. Total cost here was around $3 each (these aren't quite complete, I still need to add grout).


Of course mosaics can be made from any old thing. As well as the traditional ceramic pieces (either store bought tiles or pottery fragments), I've seen plastic toys, coins (were you planning on doing anything with that collection of pennies from 1956?), buttons, beads and shells. Here's a couple of great examples I've seen on my travels...
Gaudi's famous mosaics, Parc Guell - Barcelona
A scene from the surprisingly fantastic and deeply mysterious mosaic grotto in Margate - UK...it's not actually known how old this is or who made it, go figure

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