Monday, January 14, 2013

Pebble Mosaics by Jeffrey Bale

It's rare that I get to post about mosaics in private homes, but this week, thanks to being on MosaicArtNow's mailing list, I do have such a treasure: Jeffrey Bale creates pebble mosiacs in gardens.  (The link goes to his blog, which is rich with photos of his own garden in Portland, OR and of mosaics and gardens from his travels.)

(And these photos are from his blog; I hope he doesn't mind.)

This mosaic is called Brooke's Morroccan Carpet, and it is, of course, based on a Morroccan carpet design. It's part of  a large installation in a Hancock Park/Windsor Square area garden.

Bale writes that he "first arranged the entire mosaic in a bed of sand on site and then disassembled it and set it in mortar, using forms to break it up in to sections."

The garden also includes a Tree of Life mosaic on a pre-existing fountain, a large firepit with beach stones and cut Turkish limestone tiles forming 8-pointed stars, and a tea house constructed from carved wooden panels from India and a pavilion from Indonesia, all reassembled with mosaics using the same 8-pointed star motif. AND a sunken garden--but you really have to go to his blog to read about that (there are two posts).

He gets lots of his pebbles from the suppliers who scoop them off the beaches in Baja California--a bit of trivia that I love since that's where marketing phenomenon Gary Dahl got the pebbles for his Pet Rocks, back in the 1970s.

The Seattle Times ran this interview with Bale, and identifies the garden as being in the home of Tony Shalhoub and his wife Brooke Adams. That piece quotes Bale: "Gardens should be something that change you."

A New York Times 2009 article came with this slideshow of more of the features from this particular garden . . . and another quote: “I feel that the designs should have meaning and trigger consciousness” 

Both these sources--the blog and the interview--have tips on how someone could create their own rock mosaic, which is nice. Not that I'm inclined to try, but plenty of people could. I can see many of my friends getting lost in this sort of creation.

And though there's no tie-in to Los Angeles, here is another site with pictures and information about pebble mosaics: It features both Bale's and Maggy Howarth's work.

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