Mannequin madness: A brilliant concept, perfectly executed…
When you’re mad about mosaic, you find project after project to do. If you’re also a gardener, you carry your projects outdoors like Becky Norris does. She began creating mosaics only three years ago and is self taught. Now she’s been dubbed ‘Queen of Garden Mosaic.’
Becky found an old mannequin made of Styrofoam with a hard shell and covered it with stained glass, old dishes and mirror pieces to make a decorative piece for her garden. She says, “I don’t have a very large garden so I display all sorts of pieces of garden art to have year round interest in this garden.” She says, “My mosaic mannequin has finally found her place of honor in my garden, I am so happy with her and the way she looks with the skirt of pink roses.”
“This piece was a wonderful labor of love,” Becky says. “After all the back problems and pain I had last year, I was finally able to work on my art and my gardens again this year. I finally have everything in place and I can now just sit back and enjoy the remainder of spring and summer just watering and puttering in my gardens”
“See that swing, above? …..I will spend many hours there just looking and thanking God for being able to enjoy the beauty he supplies.”
How it was created:
Becky says, “The mannequin was bought at an auction. It was made of very hard Styrofoam and had a base that was metal that fit on a rod to hold it up. I covered with a mosaic of glass beads, glass stones, stained glass, seed beads, pearls, mirror pieces, porcelain pieces and many pieces that I fashioned from clay, fired, painted and glazed to add to my creation. My hubby hammered an iron bar into the ground to fasten the mannequin to so she could stand with the roses…”
“I made all of the clay pieces on the mannequin which are the leaves, the frogs and the little round flat beads which are about 3/4 inch round. I used lots of ceramic and glass beads that I happened to have in my studio, left over from all the years I made jewelry. I cut up a large mirror into 1/2 inch squares and the remainder of the pieces is scraps of stained glass that I cut to fit the areas I needed to fill.”
“I started this piece by sculpting the frog figures and drawing the fleur–de–lis which would be on the front of this piece. Everything else was just drawn on freehand and after those beads were glued on, I just started the remainder in free form, filling the pieces in as thought looked pleasing.”
“This picture, above, is of the pieces being sculpted from the clay and attached to the mannequin to dry.
The fleur–de–lis symbol, depicts a stylized lily or lotus flower and has many meanings. Traditionally, it has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light, and life.
“Once dry the pieces are smoothed with a wet sponge, fired and then painted, glazed and fired again. All the pieces are made from ceramic clay.”
“I also had some porcelain pieces with roses on them that I used in this mosaic creation, I glued all the pieces to the mannequin using GE silicone II for outdoor doors and windows, grouted with a sanded grout that I mixed with water and then sealed with regular grout sealer from the hardware store.”
Questions for Becky:
When Becky’s garden art was shared on the Flea market Gardening Facebook page, along with the enthusiastic acclaim, came some questions.
Sue Shearer asked “Gorgeous work! This has inspired me to learn mosaics in my old age. Can they be left outside for the winter, as they must be very heavy to bring in?”
Becky answers, “This is not all that heavy but does have some weight to it, I plan to bring it in for the winter just to make sure no water decided to freeze in there and pop off any of that glass. She has been christened this week with a 40 minute hail shower and made it without a problem. And,..I just started making mosaics three years ago myself, self taught and I am way over that hill. Try it and you will get addicted.”
Jane Shan asks, “How long did this project take? Becky: This mannequin took about 6 weeks start to finish, But only a few hours each day.”
Cathy Colorado asks, “Where did you get the mannequin? What is she made out of? Is it a real mannequin?”
Becky says, “It was just a hard Styrofoam mannequin that came from some store, I bought it at auction and just stripped the fabric off that was over the mannequin, It had a large hole and screw underneath that I could connect to the large iron rod we drove into the ground. I applied the glass tile and other pieces to the Styrofoam with silicone glue, then grouted it with sanded grout. I sealed it several times to protect from the rain, but I will bring her in during the winter weather.”
Marion Richardson OMG, she is just too awesome! Do you ever imagine someone’s out there in the garden?
Becky says, “I don’t get scared, I just always look first thing to make sure she is still standing there.”
Becky Norris exclaims, “Wow, thank you all for such kind comments! I love everything about Flea Market Gardening, I just use my finds in a slightly different way. I do have areas with all the rusty stuff but I also love dressing things up just a little bit. It does not take a lot of money to have beautiful areas to spend time, You are only limited by your own imagination ad the amount of time you are willing to spend on a project.
More art projects from Becky for the garden:
This is another of the most fabulous garden art pieces we’ve ever seen! That tea rose makes the perfect skirt….it reminds us of Cinderella.
Teri Smith says “My mosaic mannequin is dressed for a prom. After I got finished with mosaicking and grouting the mannequin I had no place for it….until my tea rose started blooming.
I found my plastic mannequin at a garage sale years ago. I used it to take pictures of clothing to sell on eBay. I no longer sell,…and love to mosaic, so I said why not…I mosaic everything!. I had lots of left-over glass pieces, trinkets and odds and ends and it was a great way to use them up. Her skirt will be in bloom most of the summer.”