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I was presented a challenge recently, to custom build a “live-edge” wrap-around walnut frame over an existing very large mosaic. This 54″ X 42″ sheet of 1/4″ thick glass weighed a great deal so the frame had to be extra strong yet thin enough to not take away from the artwork.
Find the wood first! My wonderful artist friend Kory Dollar and I drove up the Scappoose-Vernonia road several miles before we arrived at Mr. Farmer’s shop. He is a hardwood logger with a saw mill that specializes in walnut. He has a shop FULL of lovely wood. Kory and I spent at least an hour pouring over this man’s inventory before we came across matching color walnut. Then the fun began as I had to be rip, plane, biscuit-join and smooth it to perfection, so the wood had to be just right. A 3/4″ X 2-1/2″ oak retaining wood lath went along the inside edges to secure the piece.
The real challenge began when I had to custom fit the wood to the exact size of the piece, but since the mosaic had already been made, some very creative work was required to make it all fit over mosaic glass that ran to the edges on some areas and nothing on the rest and it had to be as snug as possible. This had to do be accomplished without moving this very fragile mosaic. After an solid week, it was done and turned out very well, IMHO.
It is presently hanging in Kai Raden’s shop Creations Art Studio in Astoria, Oregon. She does one-on-one instruction and classes of 10 or more on how to make mosaics and other art. She tutored the mosaic artist, Bryan Lewis, who made this work of art.