Mosaic Workshop at Mass College of Art

I taught a mosaic workshop which took place on two consecutive Sundays in April 2014.  Six students worked on pieces that were approximately eight by eight inches.  The class was six hours on each Sunday, and the time flew by.

mosaic by Christine Demers
mosaic by Christine Demers

I emphasize design and color in my teaching.  We used handmade tiles made in Mexico, called smalti.

Debbie Whitney grouting her mosaic
Debbie Whitney grouting her mosaic

Students carefully decide on the size and direction of the glass tiles to best emphasize the shapes in each composition.

Susan Berman's pair of Boxers
Susan Berman’s pair of Boxers

Sometimes students work on special projects.  The mosaic below was inspired by Roman mosaics, and uses a background called Opus Vermiculatum.    In mosaics, Opus refers to the style of the background, and Vermiculatum means “worm-like”.  So in this case the background color wraps around the numbers first, like a worm, then goes in a different direction, parallel to the borders.

A house number by Elizabeth Brown
A house number by Elizabeth Brown

We learn about a variety of mosaic materials, including ceramic tiles, millefiori, and glass.  Some tiles are matte, some are iridescent.

Aimee Carvalho's multi-media mosaic
Aimee Carvalho’s multi-media mosaic

The flow and movement of the tiles (or tesserae) in a mosaic is called andamento.  In the owl below, the tesserae follow the outline of the owl.  The moon and the branch surround the owl to create a circular movement in this piece.

Mosaic by Kate Larrabee
Mosaic by Kate Larrabee

 

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