Circus Mirror

Circus Mirror Commission

During my exhibition, I was commissioned to make a mirror as a wedding present.  The couple to be married had both participated in circus skills, the bride was a trapeze artist, who had pink hair at the time, and the groom was a 'strongman'.  My first reaction was 'oooh, challenging' but then I got my head around the idea using vintage illustrations to create almost cartoon-ish people, in stereotypical stripy clothing.


I wanted the mirror to be circular, as that fitted my vision of what I planned to do, but the surface space for the mosaic needed to be large enough to get the detail of the trapeze artist and strongman.  Using my usual kitchen unit approach would have made the mosaic too heavy.  So I trawled Gumtree and Ebay for circular picture frames, and found this one for sale in Fife, and the owner was happy to deliver the Bield gallery space.  Anna was on duty then, and paid for it on my behalf.  I think the frame is fantastic, and perfect for the images.  Digby at Comrie Croft Bikes helped me take off the original mirror (too big and too heavy) using tiny tools for removing tiny nuts and bolts.  Behind the mirror there was an initial and a date for 1955. The mirror was replaced with lightweight Aquapanel and off I went.


As usual, I didn't really draw out the mosaic, just went with my instinct.  I did have a clear idea in my head of the layout though.  The clients had handed me some crockery that I wanted to incorporate, including a teapot covered in stars and hearts.  I didn't want to include animals or clowns (not PC and too scary respectively), but used the elephant edging from a bowl I had, and did make a jesters hat.  I also used the concept of bunting, and juggling to emphasise the circus element

Laying out of the key elements 

The trapeze artist, the strongman and the jesters hat were done onto fibreglass mesh, which gives me better control on my placement of pieces, and as it was important to get strong lines defining the bodies.


The background was made up of broken car windows - from a real black boy racers car which was in the scrap yard in Perth - with a golden sweet wrapper collage underneath. This gives it a really strong dark tone which offsets the red and white stripes and golds, but also the effect of the collage breaks up the darkness in a really subtle way.


And then it was grouted in Bal grey.


ungrouted & no background and then all done


note the pink hair

And whilst wild and wacky, the clients were happy!  I just love commissions where the clients have trust in what I do, and I have the creative freedom to follow my heart.



Share this

Leave a comment

(Will not be published)