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Arts & Crafts : Explore Mosaic Art

Explore Mosaic Art & Free Mosaic Project Sources

"Mosaic as an art form has a history of several thousand years. In Roman times, large and showy mosaics were the sign of wealth, sure to impress friends and business contacts alike. These days though, more than ever, mosaic is art that everyone can have a share in." — Joy of Shards

Learn more about this fascinating artform from this collection of mosaic art and tiler resources. Many of these Web sites explain the history and process of mosaic design, and others share tips, techniques, and tutorials for your own creative mosaic projects.

How to Make a Mosaic Garden Shovel Featured Free Mosaic Project Tutorials

Mosaic Making Tutorials by Joy St. Germain
Joy St. Germain demonstrates how to make a broken china mosaic garden shovel, a broken china mosaic table, and a star-spangled mosaic serving tray in this series of free mosaic-making tutorials.

How To Make Your Own Mosaic Tables
By Scarlett Lovitt
Learn the basics of the indirect method of mosaic construction, in which the crafter places mosaic tiles upside down on an adhesive paper placed inside a mold.

Mosaicing Along with Marc Chagall

More about mosaics, the artist Marc Chagall, The Four Seasons (including detailed images), and other outdoor sculptures in Chicago can be found at:
Chicago Sculptures
Art Institute Chicago
Chicago's Millennium Park
Images: Four Seasons

The Joy of Shards Mosaics
Mosaic as an art form has a history of several thousand years. In Roman times, large and showy mosaics were the sign of wealth, sure to impress friends and business contacts alike. These days though, more than ever, mosaic is art that everyone can have a share in.

The Joy of Shards is an enthusiastic celebration of mosaics, with a particular focus on the style known as "pique assiette." This uses (or re-uses!) broken crockery, tiles and found objects to creative effect, often bringing the associations we have with everyday objects into the work.

A projects section gives illustrated step-by-step instructions for mosaic making, together with other information on mosaic making, such as choosing grout colour, cutting vitreous tiles or decorating a planter with ceramic shards. There is a question-and-answer hints and tips page, while in the galleries, the author discusses the techniques used in making his individual pieces.

The range of possibilities with mosaic is vast, and the site shows many examples of famous and less well-known examples. There are extensive galleries of mosaics in Barcelona, chiefly by Gaudi and his collaborator Jujol. A visit to Niki de Saint Phalle's incredible Tarot Garden in Italy is documented in words and pictures, alongside "La Maison Picassiette" in France. Mosaics from London include community projects, underground stations and the splendid Byzantine-style mosaics of Westminster Cathedral.

By Chris Dunmire

Imagine walking down a busy street in downtown Chicago and happening upon a large wall of unusual graffiti. Wait a minute, that's not the work of an urban street artist, that's The Four Seasons mosaic by Marc Chagall!

It's true: you don't have to visit an art museum to discover some inspiring works of art around the City of Chicago. Even though we were on our way to experience the latest exhibit at the Art Institute, Seurat and the Making of La Grande Jatte, My 22-year-old nephew (and new Chicago tour guide) briefly led us off of Monroe Street over to Dearborn to see the mosaic, signed by the artist in 1972.

Nicknamed "the boxcar mosaic," the freestanding outdoor sculpture is 70 feet long, 14 feet high, and 10 feet wide, with the mural wrapping around all four sides. Upon closer inspection, it was amazing to see how the sharp protruding glass and stone tiles worked in harmony to create such a fine work of art.

What did it mean? According to Hal Higdon in his article Starting with Picasso he says, "Catering to his audience, Chagall had pictured scenes of Chicago while borrowing images from his previous paintings. The mosaic contains thousands of tiny inlaid chips and over 250 colors. ... Chagall continued to modify his mosaic after it arrived in Chicago, even adding bits of Chicago brick."

After experiencing the Chagall mosaic up close and personal, I've decided that I'm really beginning to dig mosaic art. I mean, just imagine the possibilities of arranging colorful tiles and broken glass on your bathroom walls. Well, maybe skip the broken glass part... bare feet and all.

Other outdoor sculptures you can see in the City of Chicago include those done by Picasso, Miro, Dubuffet, and Calder. Oh, and don't forget to stop by Millennium Park (next to the Art Institute) to see the Kapoor elliptical stainless steel sculpture Cloud Gate, and many other modern works of art. •

More Mosaic Art Web Sources

British Association for Modern Mosaic
Learn about mosaic art, tools of the trade, courses, supplies, and more through the British Association for Modern Mosaic. Features mosaic art inspiration through a members gallery, news, and online exhibitions.

Earth, Wind & Tiles
Mosaic education and information through a glossary, articles, and practical tips. Topics cover how to cut glass tile, how to make sheets of glass tiles, priming substrates, sealing grout, creating gradients, and color mixing.

Tiles on the Web
Features a comprehensive section for technical information for tilers. Covers tessellation design, mosaic making, hand painting tile murals, painting on glazed tiles, bisque tiles, safety information, and tile installation.