Peridot Borders (
Peridot Borders by Heather Miller

Title: Peridot Borders
Year: 2011
Size: 15.5″ x 8.5″

Peridot Borders was made using glass tiles, chips of peridot, acrylic paint, and balsa wood.


The Story:

I’m writing this story in 2016, the piece was created in 2011 so I’ll do my best to remember.

I honestly don’t remember what served as the inspiration for Peridot Borders anymore.  I do remember that I already owned the peridot chips when I started this.  I think I may have been trying to find ways to use the rest of the peridot when this was created.  I bought the chips to use on a piece I created for a fundraiser.  I ended up not using most of them so I had a bunch leftover.

The glass tiles were a ‘happy accident’ type of find.  I remember heading out to the store to try and find something to coordinate with the peridot when I stumbled upon them.  Those are glass tiles normally used in mosaics.  If you notice in the picture, the tiles are placed upside-down.  I thought the groves added a nice bit of extra texture.  It’s a bit hard to see in the picture, but the tiles are placed so that the groves alternate between vertical and horizontal placement.

For some reason, the coloring of the piece screams “kitchen” to me.  Maybe it’s because I had a set of kitchenware that was white with green ivy on it.  I honestly couldn’t say.  While I was trying to find a background for all the green, I just kept thinking that it would eventually look nice in a kitchen.  That thought lead me to the white frame and whitewashed wood background.  The frame actually came first.  I liked the elongated rectangle but it created a whole other problem:  what was I going to mount everyone on?

The dimensions of the frame ruled out canvas board as they don’t make pre-made canvas boards in that size (that I’ve found anyways).  The frame was designed for photos so I couldn’t use MDF or wood boards.  Another trip to the store (or 3) and I realized that balsa wood was the perfect solution.  It’s thin but strong enough to hold the tiles & peridot, and it takes paint very well.  Rather than just paint the balsa wood solid white, I opted for a whitewash finish.

The actual design was just trial and error.  Originally I had the tiles placed properly (smooth side up) but seemed way too flat alongside the rough chips of peridot.  Once I flipped them over, that’s when the idea to created long columns came into play.  My original plan was to created 3 columns on each side but I ran out of tiles.  I ended up going to several stores to find more but everyone was out of that color (always my luck).  In hindsight I think that too was a happy accident.  Had I added those two additional columns, I think the center would have been too narrow.

I glued the columns of tile into place first.  When those dried, I ran thick beads of glue down the edge of each column and then sprinkled on the peridot (much like you do with glitter).  I had to carefully press the peridot into the glue, adding additional chips as needed.  This was a little trickier than you’d think because you quickly get glue on your hands.

After the peridot was set and dry, I realized I had this big empty space down the center.  I assumed another trip to the store was in order (normally I don’t have to make so many trips, this piece was an exception).  I had a relative handful of extra glass tiles & just randomly scattered them on the empty space.  My plan was to start playing with different arrangements but I ended up really liking the random scattering.  I made sure all the tiles were upside-down and started glueing them in place.

The name, Peridot Borders, is one of my more obvious ones.  I can’t be clever – or weird – all the time LOL.