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.
I emphasize design and color in my teaching. We used handmade tiles made in Mexico, called smalti.
Students carefully decide on the size and direction of the glass tiles to best emphasize the shapes in each composition.
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.
We learn about a variety of mosaic materials, including ceramic tiles, millefiori, and glass. Some tiles are matte, some are iridescent.
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.