Saturday, June 27, 2015


Hey there campers.  Here is what I am working on today.  A sunflower mosaic. Mary grew a few sunflowers in her garden this year. they inspired me to do a mosaic.

Sunflowers in Mary's Garden
Next I sketched the drawing on a frame.  I'm using my 2.0 frameless frames for this piece.

Sketch on Frame
Then it was time to start gluing.  I started from the inside to the outside.

Center of Sunflower
Then it was just a matter of adding more little pieces of tile. This mosaic contains approximately 233 tiles cut into 1283 individual pieces. (1225 on the main surface with another 58 pieces around the outside edge)  I am trying a new technique of cutting the 3/4 inch tiles into much smaller 8mm size pieces. I like the way it turned out. There is much less wastage.

Main Flower Complete
After I finished the flower, it is just a matter of filling in the background. For this piece, I am using two different shades of blue. There is no particular pattern.

Background almost complete
And here we see the project after the gluing is complete.

Sunflower Gluing Complete
Did I say the gluing was complete. The only downside of the new frameless mosaics is that I now have to glue tile along the edges of the project. I built myself a jig to hold the piece upright while I am gluing the edges.

Edge Jig

In this project, I used the following colors

Center of Sunflower (The Seeds)
- P36 Henna, Hakatai (11 tiles),
- Tiger's Eye, Mosaic Mercantile (5 tiles) ,

Flower Petals, 
- Canary, Mosaic Mercantile (36 tiles),
- Pumpkin, Mosaic Mercantile (9 tiles),

Green Leaves and Stem 
- Kelp Green, Hakatai (12 tiles) -

Blue Sky
- A01 Lake Blue, Hakatai (40 tiles) -
- A02 Sky Blue, Hakatai (40 tiles) -

Outside Edge
- A01 Lake Blue, Hakatai (39 tiles) -
- A02 Sky Blue, Hakatai (39 tiles) -

And here is the final product

Sunflower Final

Just for giggles, I did another sunflower using the exact same tile colors.  The only thing I changed was the grout color.  Which do you like better?

Same tile colors, different grout color

Sunflower Facts (Source: Science Kids)
  • The sunflower is a large inflorescence, this means the flower head is actually made of many tiny flowers called florets. Central florets look like the center of a normal flower while the outer florets look like yellow petals and together they make up a "false flower". This natural design helps insects and birds to easily see the sunflower and after pollination every little flower or floret produces a seed.
  • The stem of a sunflower can grow up to 3 m (10 ft) tall and the flower head can be 30 cm (11.8 in) wide.
  • Sunflowers are very fast growing plants, in the right conditions they can grow 8-12 feet (2.4 m - 3.7 m) tall in six months.
  • As of 2012, the Guinness World Record for the tallest sunflower is 8.23 m (27 ft) for a sunflower grown in Germany.
  • Famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh did a series of paintings featuring and called Sunflowers.

Van Gogh Sunflowers

  • The flowers within a sunflower head are clustered in a spiral pattern whereby each floret is oriented towards the next by the golden angle of 137.5°. This produces a pattern of interconnecting spirals. The number of left and right spirals are consecutive Fibonacci numbers. Normally there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other. Very large sunflowers can have 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.
  • There are two kinds of sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil which is used in cooking and in margarines is made from black seeds and snack food is made from the striped seeds. The seeds can also be used as bird feed.
  • Sunflowers can also be processed into a peanut butter substitute called Sunbutter. In Germany, sunflower seeds are mixed with rye flour to make a type of bread (Sonnenblumenkernbrot).
  • The sunflower is native to the America's and was used extensively by Native American Indians for food, as oil, in bread, medical ointments, dyes and body paints.
  • Kansas is often known as the Sunflower state and the flower is in fact Kansas's state flower. The sunflower is also the national flower of Ukraine.
  • Sunflowers can be used to extract toxin such as lead, arsenic and uranium from contaminated soil. For example, sunflowers were used to remove toxins from a pond after the Chernobyl disaster and similar projects took place after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
  • It is a misconception that flowering sunflower heads track the Sun across the sky during the day. Young flower buds do display movement similar to this behaviour through a process called heliotropism. But a mature flower usually points in a fixed easterly direction.

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