Feeding Your Creative Spirit in Arizona

| November 17, 2012 | 1 Comment

How do you like to learn? I prefer to be a hands-on learner. I can manage with written instructions, and am probably less effective listening, but do much better if I can actually follow along and physically do the task at hand or at least watch someone else do it, so I can ask questions.

I’ve been thinking about doing some mosaic tile work on a few items that I have around the house, but haven’t worked with mosaic tiles since I was in 5th grade art class.  Needless to say, that was a long time ago and I didn’t have a clue how to do it anymore. I could have bought a book or watched a video, but felt more comfortable learning from a live person, so I found a class at our local Phoenix gardening shop, Southwest Gardener and added it to my Amazon wish list.  (By the way, I love the fact that you can add things to their wish list that aren’t even sold on Amazon. My kids are always asking me what I want for special occasions, so they can find ideas there.) So my son decided to pay for a class for me for Christmas. In October my schedule was finally free and I was able to reserve the class that I wanted.  It was an all day class to make a mosaic tile side table and I truly loved it!

The class took place outside in the courtyard near the store.  It was a lovely day, perfect for being outdoors. Our teacher, Dave Jarvinen, was very helpful and encouraging! I love how the finished product looks. If you click on the first image, below it will take you through the basic steps of the class. There are just a couple of things that I wish I had known earlier.

I don’t remember being told that we needed to bring our own design for the table top. I assumed that we would be given a few different designs to choose from.  Maybe I missed it somewhere in signing up, but I wasn’t prepared at all with any thought of what to do.  Now I’m actually glad that they let us do what we wanted, but I wish I would have known so I could have done some thinking about it beforehand.  As it was, I used a piece of tile as a ruler and a paper cup to draw circles and it came out pretty well for my first try.  Tell me what you think.

Dave did a great job of showing us what we needed to do to shape, cut and nip the tiles, and helped us figure out all the details, but he forgot to (or I didn’t hear him) tell us about the tool for smoothing the edges of the tile after it had been nipped. Unfortunately, since I didn’t realize that I could smooth the edges until my table was ready to be grouted, the tiles are all kind of irregular. Good news is that I’m not a perfectionist and I’m o.k. with the “rustic” way it turned out. It actually saved me time and I’ll know what to do on my next project.

I love the upside of taking a creative class with others too.  It was so inspiring to see the color palettes and table designs that the other women created.  I think it’s so great that a group of people can receive the same instructions and materials and create totally different results.  Just a reminder that God made us all unique in how we think and work.  Awesome!
Dave also offered to email us a list of products that we need to buy for our own mosaic project, so I feel well prepared to take this on at home.  The class was so worthwhile!  I learned a new skill AND have a new side table for my patio!

So, if you live in Phoenix or are planning to visit, check out this little gem of a place and try to schedule a class when you’re there. There are many options beyond just tile work; sometimes there’s gardening, jewelry, or other arts and crafts. Here’s the spring schedule for Southwest Gardener. Or take a look at what our instructor, Dave has to offer at The Mosaic Guys. It’s well worth the trip.

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Category: 1 - 9 Days, Arizona, Arts & Crafts, Fall, Learning Travel, Mosaic Tile, North America, Season, Spring, United States, Winter

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  1. Dave says:

    Nice article, great pics! Thanks for the shout out!

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