I've just been going through some pictures from a few years ago and I came across my beautiful Lion 'Milsom'. It was 4 years ago in 2010 that I had the great honour of mosaicing this life size lion sculpture as part of the Lions of Bath project on behalf of Milsom Place. He was a complete labour of love. He took me 28 days non stop with each day being a good 10 hours. It was a race against time because I came to the project late, stumbling upon it whilst on a fleeting visit to Bradford on Avon. I remember walking into a shop/studio and seeing a half painted lion. My heart did a flip just like falling in love and I knew with every fibre of my being that I absolutely had to do one myself. The artist told me of the project but suggested I was probably too late as most had already been allocated and that the launch day was only weeks away.
The thing about me and that love feeling is once it's implanted in my heart it's pretty much all I can think of and my determination to be a part of this project became almost obsessive! Suffice to say I did not stop until I had successfully landed myself with a lion all of my own. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for as it wasn't long before I was overwhelmed by the enormity of what I had taken on! The hardest bit was actually starting. The fear of making a mistake, ruining it etc. These fears are all part of the creative process for me and I've learnt over time to just DO IT!
I used high quality italian mosaic tiles for this entire project as I find the cheap imitation tiles from China don't break well, they tend to shatter. If you are trying to achieve the delicate detail of flower petals then you need tiles you know will stand up to the rigorous demands of fine 'nibbling'.
Once the feet and face were finished it was time to tackle the main body of the beast!
Grouting the finished piece took a long time and there really isn't any rushing it. You have to do it in sections because the grout dries quickly and the last thing you want is for it to set over the tiles and mirror. It takes time and patience to clean it making sure that each individual tile is polished to perfection.
It was my friend, Ben who suggested glitter for the parts of the body that were left bare and I think his idea worked well. I mixed super fine iridescent glitter in with the varnish and applied three layers. Each layer added a depth of glittery colour that can only really be appreciated in the flesh so to speak! The gold mosaic tiles were actually made from stained glass and I cut each circle by hand...it took days!
And here he is, 'Milsom' my Mosaic Lion in all his glory before going off to be on display in the centre of the beautiful Georgian city of Bath for all too see!
I couldn't have asked for a more perfect setting than outside the entrance to Milsom Place on the main high street in the centre of Bath right next to a florist! I love the way the reflection of the glass sparkles on the wall.