sybil sage

Comedy writer/mosaic artist designing unique, pique assiette functional art: vases, picture frames, planters, kitchen caddies.

Mixed Media


Who’s the happiest one at a wedding?

Nobody has more reason to enjoy a wedding than Sylvia Weinstock, at 84 still personally delivering cakes that cost thousands, even tens of thousands. Among her clients have been Michael Douglas, Mariah Carey, the Saudi royal family and Donald Trump, whose loyalty card surely has enough punches to qualify him for a freebie. A recent article in The New York Times about the return of luxurious wedding cakes reveals that Ron Ben-Israel, another baker who doesn’t skimp, has prepared a $30,000 cake more than once and delivered a 5-foot-high cake (for 550 people) from New York to Palm Beach in a refrigerated truck.

Throwing elaborate weddings has become competitive enough to qualify as an Olympics event. Instead of a “save the date” card, two San Francisco attorneys had a production company rent a helicopter and create a music video with them as flying hip-hop stars. It ended with, “formal invite to follow.” Anything short of Taylor Swift showing up at the door to sing the invitation would surely seem chintzy.

For me the highlight of any wedding is the pigs in blankets, which explains the mustard stains on all my dressy clothes. But what makes a wedding memorable is experiencing the love and values of the couple, trusting them, their union, their social consciousness. I am impressed by them and not that the bartender was flown in from Paris. I would be yet more disdainful of those who choose to throw away exorbitant amounts of money on a party except the money might otherwise go to another party: the Republican one.

There are wedding planners, invitation consultants, specialists you can hire for just about everything, but missing from this group are “get real” therapists to point out that the wedding should be about you. That sentiment extends to my choice of gifts, which is why I’m excited each time someone commissions me to design a uniquely personal wedding gift, a vase, picture frame or kitchen caddy with photos of the couple and snippets from their invitation embedded in pique assiette mosaic. We collaborate to honor the newlyweds and commemorate their day. These and others can be seen on my site,





Follow Sybil Adelman Sage on Twitter:

We’ll Always Have Paris

It isn’t Hermes scarves or miniature Eiffel Towers that call out, “Take me home” when we’re wandering around Paris. That’s too bad as they’re easier to shlep back to New York than the Quimper pottery, Provencal tablecloths, café signs, escargot plates, ceramic Calvados set and other vintage brocante I’ve squeezed into a suitcase, leaving behind jackets and sneakers to make room for my purchases. Bringing back memories of Paris and giving our Greenwich Village apartment the ambiance of a French bistro involves sacrifices.

My husband (Martin in New York, Mar-taan in Paris) and I have adorned our walls with posters — advertising Ricard, Pastis as well as products I’ve never heard of — and stocked up on Sancerre, Lillet and cornichons. In Rome, we’re fine to do as the Romans do, but in New York, we do what the French do, starting meals with an aperitif and serving salad after the main course, often accompanied by a cheese tray and baguette.

“Do you wish we lived in Paris?” Martin has asked me. My attempts to learn the language have made that impossible. The way I function in France could be called assisted living. I’m able to shop and order in a restaurant, but for everything else, I depend on Martin, who can direct a taxi driver to a particular street, knows how many meters make up a yard and is able to negotiate with a plumber. Even before I ask, “Ou sont les toilettes?” with a distinct New York accent, I have never been mistaken as French. I’m comfortable visiting Paris, but living there is out of the question. New York, where I belong and am part of the fabric, is like our marriage. Paris, less familiar and sometimes daunting, is our affair.

My efforts to emulate the French lifestyle could be seen as an affectation except that my personal style – or lack thereof — puts me above suspicion. I do not have the jour du vivre or attitude of a French woman. In fact, I do something with a scarf that inspires doormen to point me to the building’s service entrance. My fixation with France may account for my fascination with doing pique assiette, the French style of mosaic. It relies on breaking plates (the name supposedly translates to something like “stolen from the plate”). After seeing a picture of a chest of drawers totally covered in blue and white plate shards that was unaffordable, I took a class and learned how to use a nipper without cutting myself.

That started my covering everything that couldn’t run from me with pique assiette, often breaking plates with French writing and images to adorn vases, picture frames, planters, boxes, even our fireplace.


For someone nostalgic about the tip trays presented at bistros back when francs were the currency, I broke one and made it the centerpiece of a vase.


Perhaps concerned that my passion was bordering on obsessive, a friend said, “Why don’t you turn this into a business and sell the beautiful things you make?” I hired a designer to create a website, a name even I can remember. A French cousin felt I should have a Facebook page and suggested I post it on compatible pages. I tirelessly put pictures on wedding-related pages of vases I’d designed that include photos of newlyweds and picture frames that would be a special way of displaying a wedding or baby photo, noting that these are ideal gifts for a wedding, new baby or any occasion.


I was surprised to get the equivalent of a Facebook speeding ticket, telling me I’d exceeded their limit, followed by an angry rebuke from someone who accused me of spamming. I apologized and explained that a relative had urged me to do this. “Whoever said that was wrong,” was the response. I wrote back to say my French isn’t good and maybe I’d misunderstood, which led to the person mellowing, our becoming Facebook friends and his passing along my page to others. I’m not sure that “offend, apologize and befriend,” is a viable business plan so I’m now being respecting boundaries, inviting others to visit my site and to place a custom order, collaborating with me in the design of a piece of mosaic art.

To personalize the work, I developed a process that allows me to incorporate photos and snippets from an invitation.



Vases, kitchen caddies and picture frames with pictures of the couple have proved popular as wedding gifts.


I’m a comedy writer, so it’s not surprising that I brought satire to mosaic, depicting America’s current political, social and economic crises in a mix of red, white and blue plate shards… on cremation urns. The Breaking News Series can be seen on my site. If you like “Where’s Waldo?” try to pick out faces of politicians you recognize who’ve been caught in sexual scandals.





More Posts -