Thursday, September 18, 2008

How To Mail A Mosaic

Back in July my AZ sister wanted me to make a her a heart mosaic. It was to be a gift for a special friend of hers who lives in Germany. She was planning a trip to visit her and wanted to hand deliver it.

All went well and I packed the mosaic in wads of paper and shipped it to her in AZ. I thought that since it was thick plyboard and hard tile and thinset and grout it would be very sturdy. I didn't think I would need insurance for it. I was wrong.

My sister called to tell me it had arrived with two corners damaged. One corner wasn't too bad, maybe two of the tile pieces had popped off. But the other corner had about 10 or so pieces off. The only thing I could think of was that it had received some extremely rough handling and obviously I hadn't packed it well enough.

I told my sister to send it back and I would see if I could repair it. She carefully packed it in a thick layer of bubble wrap and then nestled it in shipping peanuts. She had the box marked "FRAGILE" and sent it back to me.

Here's what it looked like when I got it.
This is the other side of the box. You can even see one of the red "FRAGILE" stamps.
Fortunately inside the box everything was good, thanks to my sister's careful packing.

I was able to make the repairs needed and I don't think anyone's the wiser. This is the mosaic I made for my sister's friend. If it looks familiar it's because she wanted one like the one in this post.
You may (or not) recall that I said everytime I make another mosaic that I feel like I learn something new about the process. This time I learned to wrap well in bubble wrap, then packing peanuts, have the package marked "FRAGILE" and insure it just in case (it only costs a couple extra dollars to do so). This time when my sister got the package the mosaic arrived safe and sound. She has since visited her friend and reports that her gift was a huge success.

Shortly after I made that one a reader of my blog who is actually NOT a relative of mine asked about making a mosaic for her in honor of her dog, Joe. An e-mail correspondence ensued where we figured out a design and price and I went to work.

This one was a little more challenging for me because Carol wanted a silhouette of her dog, a laborador retriever. This wasn't my usual easy heart design but I really wanted to try it. In the end I was very pleased with how it turned out and Carol approved the picture of the finished product. (I had told her I would send a picture and if she didn't like it she wouldn't have to buy it.)

I told her it really looks better in person because the colors show up better and you really notice the difference in the textures and sheen of the tiles (some of the border tiles are matte and some are shiny). She had requested the silhouette of a lab wearing a red collar, a light blue background, and little hearts in the corners. At one point she had mentioned his collar has a heart tag on it. I shaped little red hearts out of the tile with my Rotozip and then got the brilliant idea to do the same with a metallic bronze tile to make the collar tag. Fortunately it worked out and I think it was a nice surprise for Carol. About the only other detail I made on the silhouette was I shaped the ear with tiles.

What I learned from this mosaic is to spray the sides (which are also grouted) with a clear spray so the color doesn't rub off onto the wall. I'm happy to say after I wrapped it and sent it off properly it got to it's new home safe and sound.

Here's a funny side note to this story. I've mentioned before that my brother is a doctor, and he and his family live in Illinois. Carol lives in the same city. Carol is a nurse. Carol and my brother occasionally work together. This didn't come to light until I got her address and we started asking a few questions. It's a small world after all!

Joe, Carol's dog, just turned 15 and she recently discovered he has a tumor in his abdominal region so he has his good days and his bad days. Here's wishing Joe nothing but good days with his owner who loves him very much!


Anonymous said...

Amazing! Carol's mosaic is a very nice tribute, and..what a small world, indeed!

Love, M

PS: I copied and saved a photo of Trudi's mosaic. Thank You, again! (As lovely as the mosaics are in photos, they are absolutely stunningly gorgeous in person!)

Carol said...

Thank you for the kind words about Joe. He is doing well today & enjoyed a nice walk in the wonderful weather we are having. And thank you again for the lovely mosaic. I am really enjoying it -- & a lot of people are complementing you on your work. You have a promising future involving two different mediums-mosaics & photography.

Anonymous said...

Tina what a lovely job on Joe, and I am sending my thoughts to Joe and Mom too! How much we love them and how appropriate the hearts play into your mosaics because that is where they truly live!