N.S. artist captures pets in photo mosaics
Exactly one week before his birthday in early June, my husband first mentioned the Leatherman Wave, a 10-centimetre-long multi-tool that does everything but unclog the kitchen sink.
For someone who isn’t exactly a multi-tasker, he seems quite keen on a tool that is, so I’ve filed the idea away for another time, because this year I’m getting him a framed picture of our cat.
Thanks to Nova Scotia artist Krista Wells, and self-confessed dogaholic, there’s a new way to personalize home decor and pay tribute to special pets at the same time. Simply send her a photo of your dog, cat, lizard or bird and she’ll use it to create an intricately patterned photograph that at first glance looks like a ceramic tile.
A rare hearing disorder forced Wells from a successful career as a sound technician. She now works exploring the visual arts from her home studio in Diligent River, near Parrsboro.
On a scenic, 80-hectare property overlooking the Bay of Fundy and Cape Split, she draws, paints, sculpts, and makes prints and jewelry. She also blogs from the point of view of a Portuguese dog named Ruca.
Wells came up with the idea for Ditto Dog Photo Mosaics in 2004, when a pattern emerged while she was sifting through hundreds of photographs taken on a trip to Portugal. Most of the pictures were either dogs or tiles — her two favourite subjects — and from the corner of her eye, an overlay of images suddenly morphed into a mosaic design.
Mosaics have been part of interior spaces for a few thousand years. Early materials like shells, pebbles and terracotta led to more uniform squares of glass, porcelain and ceramic that are laid individually like the pieces of a puzzle.
Many contemporary mosaic tiles come pre-spaced on 12-by-12 inch mesh sheets, which is a huge bonus for do-it-yourselfers, but installation remains a painstaking, time-consuming process that is best left to professionals or those who don’t mind irregular grout lines.
Ditto Dog Photo Mosaics, on the other hand, require little more than a good digital camera and an eye for background. The main thing to keep in mind is that the photo must be in focus and the background must be distinct from the pet.
So steer clear of black dogs on black sofas. And don’t do any tidying before taking the picture: the messier the photo’s background, the more distinctive the mosaic pattern will be.
Prices for framed custom images range from $75 for a 10-by-10 inch frame with a 4.5-by-4.5 inch image, to $125 for a 16-by-22 inch frame with a 11.5-by-17.5 inch image. Unframed images are less expensive. Shipping costs vary with the size of the mosaic, whether it’s framed or not, and where it’s going. Contact Wells for an estimate. She can be reached at 254-2972 or www.kristawells.ca.
I’ve decided to immortalize our tabby cat, Basil, in a 16-by-22 inch format. I don’t really like cats — essentially because they’re not dogs — but my husband does, and he especially likes Basil. Besides, birthday presents are about pleasing others.
Next year, I’ll get him the Leatherman.
Shop Therapist Suzanne Robicheau lives in the Gaspereau Valley, where she will be seeing much more of her cat Basil.