Helianthus. The Sunflower reveal at Art Elements.

Welcome! To the glorious summer time and the reveal of our creative challenge theme for this month over at Art Elements blog. This month: Sunflowers selected and hosted by Sue Kennedy of Sue BeadsIMG_8909Helianthus. In Greek myth the sunflower used to be a nymph. She was an ocean nymph named Clytie who fell in love with Helios, Titan of the Sun. It’s a tale of abandonment, revenge, and unrequited love worthy of a modern soap opera. In the end, she became a sunflower, turning her head to follow Helios progress across the sky, yearning for him still.

As I am inspired by myth, I started there. But the tale was too tragic; albeit a recurring motif in Greek myth. So I decided to honor a wild hare of an idea that was taping mean the shoulder for the last year: micro mosaics.

I have a few beads ( cue laughter) so I selected a sunflower palette. For the center  of the flowers I am using an antique faceted jet button. For the “grout” and substrate I am using Apoxie sculpt. So – snap the gloves on and mix it up…


Bezels and palette – ready to dive in.

I sketched the petals into the apoxie and started… to be met with immediate frustration. I wanted the beads to sit up – so holes were hidden. Tried tweezers, which worked – but just too tedious. I started stringing beads for each line on 28 gauge brass wire – essentially making elements to inlay as opposed to individual 11* seed beads! Much better!

sunf bead mosaic

Tedious! Making modifications on the fly.


This is basically what I imagined.

The second bezel? Lets use larger beads! Lets use shaped beads… The palette had to change based on what I had on hand. The working time for Apoxie sculpt is 1-3 hours. For this process – earlier, softer consistency was preferred.


Looser in inspiration, larger beads!

So if the seed beads are smaller than I wanted to work with – lets make larger mosaic tiles. Christi Friesen has been doing some crazy cool polymer mosaics lately – and those ideas were percolating in my mind.

First I created and cured my printed polymer veneers. This was the palette for my next mosaic.

sunf veneer

Polymer printed veneers – my mosaic palette.

I was working in a pine tray/frame. Painted and sealed first ( acrylic paint and gloss gel medium) I decided on the zoomed in image you saw at the start of my post. The cured veneers cut easily with Xacto knife, or even scissors. My Apoxie is grey – so rather grout like. ( Manufacturer says it can be painted after curing. I chose not to try that in this application.)

sunf WIP

Layout, and progress.

For my first try – I am basically pleased with that. I love the gold leaf shimmer from that one veneer. If I were doing this again – I think i would do more layout and pre-planning. Have more carefully fitted and cut tiles. While the spontaneity of this was fun, and rather freeing for me – I can see so much room to experiment with this process.


The finished polymer mosaic.

Lastly – micro mosaics! I had all the polymer scraps… I had to try! These mosaics are “grouted” with TLS ( liquid sculpey) and cured to regular time/temperature. I liked these the best. I am still pondering why… was it that I didn’t love the Apoxie? That I had no time pressure here? That they were smaller/faster/less tedious? Whatever the reason – I may have to try these again. What are your thoughts?

sunf micro

Listed below is a complete list of this month’s participants – both team members and guests.  Take a look at their creations! Enjoy!

And see you next month!


AE Team

19 thoughts on “Helianthus. The Sunflower reveal at Art Elements.

  1. jewelsofsayuri says:

    I am stunned by your array of explorations.The micro mosaics are very interesting. Now I feel that I haven’t really explored at all for this challenge.


  2. lesleyhw says:

    Love seeing something completely new and there isn’t one of these I don’t like – tedious or not. You always inspire me and this is know different…I’m thinking all those bigger beads I never use now..or even breaking some of the stuff in my reject bin….


  3. Kathy Lindemer says:

    Your idea to start stringing beads for each line on 28 gauge brass wire turned out to be brilliant. Thanks for sharing what are new techniques for me. Very interesting!


  4. Tammy Adams says:

    Your mosaic designs are awesome. I admire your patience and ingenuity in working with the seed beads. What you did with the veneers is fabulous. Definitely worth making more of that style.


  5. Susan Kennedy says:

    Wow, I am always so impressed with what you make and especially this month for you! I have wanted to do micromosaics as well – I need to live near you – I love what you made. And the large mosaic polymer piece – WOW – I love it. Great creative process! And the final pendants, perfect use of the leftover polymer pieces and I do totally love them!


  6. Saraccino byCF says:

    I love all your pieces! (and I need to keep in mind that trick with creating “bead elements” and the apoxie sculpt) I really love your veneers and how you used them for your large piece as well as the micro mosaic pendants! I have some epoxy based sculpting clay like the apoxie you used and I know what I would like to to with it – but the time component is definitely something setting me back and even stressing me without even having started 😉 I wonder how your micromosaic would look with coloured liquid polymer clay! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anita says:

    The mosaics are brilliant! While I read about your apoxie process, I was actually thinking I could try this out with TLS, and in the end, I see that you did try TLS too! 🙂 I love your clever idea of working with an entire string of beads for the inlay.


  8. myriadmosaics says:

    Beautiful work! I love the the colors and textures you acquired with the polymer veneers. I need to check out that process. The bezels turned out really great, I imagine several of them hanging from a ceiling mobile.

    I wanted to comment on the use of the apoxie product (or any epoxy), and how one should do everything they can to protect skin from contact with it. I have not used that exact product, but I work with adhesives that are in the same family. It is my understanding that these products are packed with positive ions, which are dangerous for the human body. The only reason I say anything is because in one of your photos, it appears you have some on your skin. I am not attempting to spread fear, just caution and safety. Gloves to keep it off in the first place, and have some Mineral Turpentine to remove it, if it does get on the skin.

    Someone mentioned wanting more working time before the adhesive sets up. I would recommend trying an acrylic tile adhesive like AcrylPro. It is fluffy, easy to manipulate, cleans up with water, and dries super strong. Plus it’s inexpensive.

    Thank you for sharing your creations, I look forward to seeing the next ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cathysmendola says:

    WOWZA girl! I don’t even know where to start…The micro mosaics with beads are lovely, but then you went and made the polymer veneer and that blew me away. I do love those final micro mosaics with the veneers and the TLS also. Apoxie sculpt has the window of opportunity that you have to deal with which is sometimes daunting. I think you should definitely keep at it with the veneers! Just a lovely effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. niky sayers says:

    Jenny I love how every time I come to your blog I learn something interesting and inspiring! Your sunflowers are really lovely, I have always been drawn to micro mosaic pieces, loving the intricate precise detailing. I adore your pine tray/frame, I think the different colours and textures and also the fact that it is a partial flower all just making it such a wonderful piece!


  11. alysen55 says:

    Micro mosaics with seed beads, whoda thunk? I have a huge collection at home, I think I’ll be trying something similar in September.
    I have actually taken some mosaic classes and love the medium. You’re very industrious making your own tiles, your work came out beautifully!!!
    Yes, I’d like to see more of the micro mosaics with polymer leftovers.


  12. Sarajo Wentling says:

    Lots of fun stuff here, Jenny! I think that I like those last two the best too… especially the one on the left with the shiny gold petals.

    Liked by 1 person

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