MOSAICS                       All rights reserved 1999 - 2002                              Rudolf Stalder  


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Fine Art Mosaics - Method

 Thanks goes to Lia Catalano for valuable suggestions

 (All rights reserved 2003,   Legal notice  )


Part I Part II (in preparation)                 
  Summary Installation of the final backing  
  Creation of tessarae Flipping of the mosaic  
  Coloration of tesserae Removal of the canvas  
    Application of the adhesive  
  Storage Back-flipping  
  Installing of the canvas Flipping  of large mosaics  
  Drafting of the motive Flattening of plywood  
  Setting of the tessarea Preparation of model-clay coated plates and canvases  



  Tesserae of varying forms are created using unglazed ceramic floor tiles, and placed onto model-clay coated plates. These plates serve as a stock from where the tesserae can be retrieved to create the mosaic. The mosaic itself is built onto model-clay coated canvas. This allows to position the tesserae in a free standing manner, to easily rearrange them and to set them rather tight. To install the final backing, the underlying canvas is replaced by a latex adhesive coated plywood-board. Acryl spray-painting is used for coloration.  
top The described method (TSM) is an indirect mosaic-method different from commonly used procedures allowing to concentrate fully on the artistic intent.  
  Creation of the tessarae  
  Tesserae are prepared from ordinary unglazed ceramic floor tiles. The preferred colors are beige, sand, gray and red. The preferred size is19.4 x 19.4 x 1 cm (8" x 8" x 1/4"). Using a heavy duty tile cutter this allows to produce 64 squares/tile of about 2.1 x 2.1 cm  (7/8" x 7/8"), a suitable size to create rather optimal size-distributions of tesserae. The remaining elements in the 2.1 x 1.1 cm (7/8" x 1/4") range can be used to build the border.  
  M11   shows a conventional heavy-duty tile-cutter equipped with a shift-device.     


  The generated squares are then cut into tesserae using a "tesserae-hammer" (see below *) and directly placed onto plates coated with non-hardening modeling clay. (If spray-painting is planed the tesserae are best put about 1 cm (3/8") apart.)  
   * M21  presents a table-top model of a "tesserae-hammer", consisting of a  
  hammer and a chisel mounted on a board of adequate size.  
  M22  shows technical details of the same model.  
  M23  shows the table-top model in its work-environment.  
  M24  shows a stand-alone model driven by a foot-pedal.  
  M27   For cutting, the single tesserae is placed onto the chisel and firmly hold on its base with one hand, whereas the other applies a gentle but decisive blow with the hammer.   
  M29  shows the variety of shapes and sizes of tesserae which can be produced.  
  Coloration of tesserae  (Spray-painting)  
  For coloration acryl based spray-paint is used. Tesserae are placed onto clay-coated plates about 1 cm (3/8") apart from each other. This allows the paint to cover the sides as well as the top. The spray-painting occurs from a distance of about 30 cm (12").  
top If the intended color of the tesserae is, say, yellow, the tesserae of original sand color is the most suitable base since minimal color may be necessary to produce the desired effect. Correspondingly, original red tesserae would be the best base for dark painted colors. Color mixing can be achieved by using e.g. two spray cans simultaneously, or by adding a final touch with a different color at the end of the process. For color tones or mixtures difficult to reproduce, it is advisable to complete all spray-painting in a single session.  
top Acryl based spray-paint is easily available in hard-ware stores, and provided in a large variety of colors. It is inexpensive, fast drying and easy to use. For durability, spray-paint rated for both interior and exterior application should be used.  


  The freshly created or spray-painted tesserae are regrouped according to color, size and shape. For storage plates can be placed on top of each other.  
  M41  shows two plates with cut and assorted tesserae.  
  M42  shows a part-view of a storage set up.  


  M51 shows a work-table measuring about 6' x 8'. It allows to handle two mosaics up to of 3' x 4' each.  
  Installing of the canvas  
top The canvas, preferentially of the same size as the final backing, is placed onto a rather flat piece of plywood of equal dimensions as shown above in M51.  
  Drafting of the motive  
  The design is lightly traced onto the surface of the - model clay coated - canvas using a needle type of tool. A pre-drawn grid may facilitate the design transfer.  
  M54 shows some tracing lines together with some tesserae and tools  
  Setting of the tessarea  
  To avoid sticking the tesserae are set onto the clay-covered canvas using rather minimal pressure. Changes are easily accomplished. Entire lines consisting of up to about 12 tesserae can eventually be displaced in a single move.   
top M57 shows a mosaic in the making. Having the tesserae available on plates, allows to select desired colors, shapes, and sizes nearly at will. A tight fit is mostly possible, eventually requesting some nipping at the base. Rarely a piece needs to be prepared from scratch. The tightness achieved precludes the need for grouting.  


Legal notice : The use of the methods and procedures described above is granted without express notification or permission to gain personal experience and for occasional educational purposes ( Fair Use  doctrine), if adequate credit is permitted. For intensive personal or educational use, please contact. Permission will generally be given without charge. The use of the methods and procedures described above is not allowed for commercial purposes without permission.