I love old dishes, the time mellowed hues and crackled glaze gives them a commonality that makes my miss-matched collection work beautiful as a setting. Vintage plates and bowls can be found everywhere from yard sales and flea markets to antique shops; and they are often inexpensive. Even if broke, which happens from time to time at my house, their beauty can still be enjoyed and appreciated through repurposing.
After one of my favorite plates broke, I used the broken pieces as tile and created a sweet little lazy Susan.
I used the decorative center of a broken saucer as a design element in a mosaic top I crafted for a mid-century wire stand.
Remember that some of the glazes used in vintage dishes may contain lead so test them before using. I sometimes use the old dishes like chargers, paired with clear dishes so their beauty is still visible while food is kept safely away from possible lead contamination.
My sister-in-law is moving into her new home and fortunately for me she is using the opportunity to thin out or replace some of her things. This little table is one of the items that did not make the cut to move on to the new place, so it found itself in my studio waiting for a makeover.
Umm, what to do?
Simple, sweet lines…
not in love with the glass top, seems a little dated…
oh what to do with you, little table?
I’ve joined the party over at
More beautiful mosaics have been created through the inspired efforts of Blue Antler Artists. Diana and Edna, who have been meeting regularly at the studio to learn the art of mosaic, have finally completed their first projects in the new medium.
Edna designed a porch stand using a re-purposed bamboo table and old plates. After breaking the plates and prepping the table, she used the broken pieces as her tile with lovely results. Diana designed a mosaic depicting one of her beloved humming birds that frequent her feeders. First she drew out the ambitious design then, after painting the small round table she was re-purposing, she tiled both it’s top and bottom shelves; lovely!
Congrats Edna and Diana, you are now mosaic artists!
The transformation from trash to treasure is finally complete with a whimsical flamingo mosaic replacing the broken mirrored top of my little salvaged cabinet. After designing a pattern that evolved from one large flamingo to a reflective pool full of wading pink birds to finally a single pair, one reaching down to sip from a pool of blue-green water the other’s head and neck held in the iconic flamingo curl, colorful plumage reflecting in the water around their feet.
I used small glass tiles snipped into shape and glued down, one by one, using tile nippers and Welbond glue. Then after masking off the blue areas I grouted the flamingos with pink grout. I tinted the grout by adding red powdered chalk to white grout. Next I taped off the flamingos and grouted the water area using blue chalk for tinting the grout.
The process was slow, even meditative, and before long my thoughts wandered to Venice, Italy and the mosaic class I had attended at the Orsoni glass foundry. I still marvel at the talented, generous artists I met, who both encouraged and inspired me. I remembered the wonderful chocolates that fellow student Merrille, of Belgium proudly shared with the class each day. I recalled the sound of singing rising from the furnace rooms as foundry works toiled at the traditional craft of smalti, glass production. In my mind’s eye I could see the red tile roofs filling up the studio window and stretching out over the city. Now as I stand back and look at my completed project, I feel sure my Orsoni friends would be proud of my efforts.
I’m linking with
The prep work is complete and the cabinet painted, I love the effect of the dry brushed blue, but now I must decide how I will finish the top of my salvage project. Originally it had a faux-aged mirror, which had shattered, and gold accents. My first thought was simply to replace it with a vintage mirror, one with much of the silver backing cracked or pealing. It would be a great look and very French, after all the vibrant French shutters were my inspiration for the blue base. Of course a painting is always nice, perhaps a French pastoral scene. Maybe decoupage, like my recent trash can project (see sidebar – Arts and Craft Projects/Vintage Florida). I could apply images of France, I have some great photos of my travels there; all great options, but I’m simply in the mood to mosaic.
So the top will be a mosaic, now I need a pattern. Digging through my collection of tiles, it seems I’m consistently drawn to bright orange, coral and pink. But there’s a problem with these particular tiles, well actually two problems, I have a very limited number of them and the cabinet is blue. None the less these intense colors, spread out in front of me like a dramatic sunset, excite my imagination. Logic suggests a floral pattern, very French, but my heart is saying flamingo; definitely not French! I will design a flamingo in blue water,I have a myriad of blue hued tiles; aqua, sage, teal, Mediterranean, even the French shutter blue of my inspiration.
The top will be bright-colored flamingos wading in a pool of blue hues; Viva la flamingos!