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Sara Baldwin Designs Blog

Show Us Some Skin

Or, Lions and Tigers and…Zebras!

This is one of my first mosaics a la 1992. It was made from porcelain tiles from the local American Olean distributorship in Philadelphia. I must have driven general manager Rick Odorico crazy–wandering into his shop with a baby on my hip, asking for “two square feet” of about fifteen different colors that were all on the top shelf. Last I heard Rick had been promoted inside Dal-tile to a very stratospheric level. Rick, if you’re out there, a big THANK YOU.

 (New Ravenna Mosaics)

It is entitled “A Mutually Satisfying Relationship” which gives you a glimpse into my psychology at the time. “If only I can find someone to swish flies off my nose, I’d gladly…” you get the picture. Come to think of it, what exactly is wrong with that philosophy? In any case, this was my first exposure to the joys of animal prints. Today, New Ravenna goes on safari regularly in both literal and abstract ways:

Custom Zebra Skin Rug in Nero Marquina and Thassos polished (New Ravenna Mosaics)

 (New Ravenna Mosaics)

These are some of the more literal translations…Check out this incredible bar top that New Ravenna fabricated for a penthouse apartment. We not only made the mosaic, we mounted, grouted, and put a gorgeous finish on it as well:

Custom Tiger bar top in Nero Marquina, Giallo Reale, Renaissance Bronze, Rosa Verona,Botticino, Crema Marfil honed and pillowed (New Ravenna Mosaics)

Custom Tiger bar top in Nero Marquina, Giallo Reale, Renaissance Bronze, Rosa Verona,Botticino, Crema Marfil honed and pillowed (New Ravenna Mosaics)

 (New Ravenna Mosaics)

Now we come to one of my favorite patterns–it’s part of the “abstract” category of animal skin translations, and is part of the “metamorphosis” collection by Sara Baldwin Design. Several years ago, I was fascinated by a piece of zebra wood veneer that I kept on my desk. I scanned it in and blew it up to about ten times it’s normal size, thinking I’d make it into an actual rug, made out of wool. I can’t find the entire scan, but here’s part of it:

Here are some wool rug samples I had made up–if you look closely, they’re half loop, half cut-pile:

Then it occurred to me that we should be using our tatami stalks to fabricate a stone mosaic design in the same style and here’s what we came up with:

Zebrano in Saint Laurent, Travertine Noce, Emperador Dark, Emperador Light (New Ravenna Mosaics)

The above panel is seven feet tall and obviously can be custom-made into whatever size panel you like…always with a random non-repeating pattern. It’s especially popular as a back-splash . Below, see what happens to the pattern when it’s turned in the vertical direction:

Studium, one of our favorite showrooms in New York (hi there David, Berna and Lucio!), originally suggested we recolor “zebrano”, and a clever suggestion it was.

We also have a lovely two-shades-of-blue and white combo and a celadon green/gray/white combo which I have yet to post. Then again, you know us, we can’t ever say “no”, so you can order it in virtually any color you want, even in GLASS if you like that texture better. So go crazy. Show us some skin.

P.S. If you live anywhere near Denver (Oct. 13), Aspen (Oct. 14) or Vail (Oct 15): this week yours truly will be giving mosaic seminars at the Decorative Materials Showrooms. I look forward to meeting you!

13 Responses to “Show Us Some Skin”

  1. Paul Anater says:

    That stone interpretation of zebra wood is stunning Sara. It reminds me of wood fibers seen at high magnification. Brilliant!

  2. Sara Baldwin says:

    Thanks Paul. That's pretty much exactly what we used as a pattern—an 8" x 10" piece of zebra wood blown up to 8' x 10'. I'm partial to it myself…hmmm. kitchen back-splash partial? which reminds me, is it backsplash, back-splash, or back splash? something tells me you know the answer…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your blogs keep getting better and better. Thanks for the inspiration!!! You ARE a rock star.

  4. Medredith says:

    I think we need to go on a company trip to Africa for safari….to get some more inspiration. ??? Sara?

  5. Paul Anater says:

    It depends on who you ask. Spell checkers the world over say that it's two words. People in the trade use it as one word. So I suppose the answer depends on who's using the term. In the UK they dispense with this divisive issue completely and call it a splash back, two words. Speaking of which, how are the plans for your back splash/ backsplash/ splash back coming?

  6. Sara Baldwin says:

    groan. i'd do this zebrano except there's already so much wood everywhere. however, i have an idea that i have yet to develop…

  7. Willow Decor says:

    Great post!! I love the zebra re done in wood! So cool!!

  8. DesignTies says:

    Wow!! These mosaics are amazing — especially the tiger. He's absolutely stunning!!

    I LOVE that you created a zebrano-inspired mosaic. So creative and beautiful.


  9. Thank you SO much for letting me know that you are the firm behind the beautiful mosaics in some of Jim Howards designs! I am in awe, and I can't wait to explore your site some more.

  10. Sara Baldwin says:

    no problem. Like I said, he's a superstar–always using our patterns in the best possible ways. btw, I love the name of your blog!

  11. Gorgeous Sara! Really spectacular. Boy would I love to use your work in one of my designs!!!

  12. Sara Baldwin says:

    Thanks everyone! We aim to please :)

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About Me

Sara BaldwinSara Baldwin

Exmore, Virginia, United States

New Ravenna Mosaics founder and Creative Director, Owner, Sara Baldwin Design, Bass guitar player, Envisioner, Appreciator of the Sublime and Ridiculous.


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