This past May, I learned that my design had been selected and would be sponsored by a popular local restaurant, Tacky Jack’s. My design was based on some of my earlier mosaic and jewelry work, which were obviously inspired by my love of all things coastal.
The turtle was delivered to my studio in early June, and she and I spent a good portion of the summer sweating together while she underwent a little makeover.
I first cut the tesserae for her underbelly with a plan to keep the indentations in her plastron (I learned a new word) visible. Next, I started working on the wave design on her top shell or carapace. The perimeter on both the front and back of the turtle is outlined with glow in the dark tiles. The clouds, wave outline, and message also glow in the dark.
We grew into a love/hate relationship. She tested my patience, while I tested a few methods more suited to the outdoor coastal environment in which she'll reside. This required scraping, and scraping, and scraping, to remove stray residue from adhesive and grout, or a sanding stone to get rid of a few sharp edges.
She was unveiled at Tacky Jack's, but I’m super-excited that my turtle will initially live right smack in the middle of the most popular public beach access in Gulf Shores, Gulf Place. After that, her journey is unknown.
Below, you can watch her transformation in a totally thrilling slide show. Please excuse the late night studio lighting.