Mermaid Mosaic Sculpture in Bottle Caps and Italian Glass, 2000

Mermaid sculpture in bottle caps and glass

La Siren, 2000
bottle caps, vitreous glass, carved wood, enamel paint, copper, glass eyes

46" H x 46" W x 2" D
Private Collection

With her Italian glass top and bottle cap tail, LaSiren reflects not just light but a sense of humor and playfulness. The image is based on the La Siren card from the Mexican Loteria game.

This was my first mosaic with bottle caps— I was inspired by Haitian ritual flags, in which detailed images are realized entirely through the use of sequins. Each cap is sorted by brand or color, washed, dried, punched, partially crimped and finally nailed in overlapping scales to create a feeling of depth, light and shadow. Decorative nail heads emulate the texture of seed beads often used to reinforce the sequins.

My bottle cap mosaics revisit the playful, funky spirit of my early found object collages. Combining the caps with Italian glass mosaic carries elements of folk art and recycling into a modern fine art context.

Mermaid sculpture in bottle caps and glass detail

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John T. Unger