MosaicBlues: May 2014 .entry-content { font-size:25px !important; }

Monday, May 26, 2014

Vandalism - Part Une

On Tuesday, May 20, at 5:21 pm, I completed laying the tesserae of Mariam Mesh. 

Mariam Mesh is an experimental piece. I am trying 2 new techniques with her. 

  • She is built on a fiberglass Mesh. (I will detail the hows and whys in a future post)
  • I am using a different glue on part of her - a flour based "Colla de Farina". With the hope to speed up the cleaning of the mosaic. 
Remember that I work mostly Reverse Method. I build my mosaics upside down, mounted on a model with a commercial water soluble glue. Then come several operations before I can separate the actual mosaic from the model. I have described this on several videos on my Mosaicblues Youtube Channel.

Once removed the model, there is still quite some time left to clean up the glue.
This  is why I decided to try this flour based glue, hoping it would be easier and faster to clean up thatn my regular glue...
On Wednesday morning, after feeding my chickens (you can hear them in most of my mosaics videos), I went to the shop to check on Mariam. And THIS is what I found :

Vandalized, most of the tesserae of Mariam's face and part of her eyes where laying shattered on the rest of the mosaic, or beside it...

I was worried, wondering who could have done this. Then I realized that only these tesserae glued with the flour glue had been shattered, something odd was at work there... No human would have been able to know the difference.

And then I remembered a young dead rat on the ground of the chicken pen. Rats don't usually die in the open. ( I know things about rats)

It did not take long to connect the dots. The rodent(s) had feasted on the flour glue. Unfortunately for this one, small shards of glass embedded in the glue must have caused his death by internal bleeding.

I have now finished the repairs (6 hours of work), and am covering the mosaic with heavy tiles when I get out of the shop. I am not sure whether I will keep using the "Cola di Farina" or not. This will depend upon the ease of cleaning it up once I flip the mosaic. 

This incident is a good illustration of how even minor changes in the way we do things can sometimes have unsuspected consequences. 

We should probably not trust corporations or governments when they tell us new technologies such as GMOs or fracking are absolutely safe...

Just saying ...

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Eyes are the Scouts of the Heart

Inspiration is a funny thing. A good friend of mine advised me to specialize in eyes mosaics after he'd read an article about Lover's Eyes. I thought the idea was interesting and a challenging one !  So I went to work and am really enjoying this ! I have a great number of eyes on the bench ! And intend to produce quite a few more, every piece is an experiment, this is so interesting, I am really enjoying doing and sharing this ! 

And then, as I was researching for a different purpose 12th century French Fabliaux, I fell upon a quote I had read a while ago, by Joseph Campbell about the way French Troubadour - Guiraut de Borneilh (c. 1138-1200) described how the EYES are the first helpers of the Heart in search of Love...


So through the eyes love attains the heart:
For the eyes are the scouts of the heart,
And the eyes go reconnoitering
For what it would please the heart to possess.
And when they are in full accord
And firm, all three, in one resolve,
At that time, perfect love is born
From what the eyes have made welcome to the heart.
Not otherwise can love either be born or have commencement
Than by this birth and commencement moved by inclination.


By the grace and by command
Of these three, and from their pleasure,
Love is born, who its fair hope
Goes comforting her friends.
For as all true lovers
Know, love is perfect kindness,
Which is born - there is no doubt - from the heart and eyes.
The eyes make it blossom; the heart matures it:
Love, which is the fruit of their very seed.


So not only do the eyes tell us a lot about a person. They also have a major and active role in the search of Love !

And THIS is an other good thing about this eyes mosaicing of mine !

If you are interested in my Mosaic Eyes,  or would simply like to learn more about mosaic, please contact me by email at, or by phone at (334) 798 1639. I have several Eyes available, and also take commissions of new Eyes ! It takes approximately 2 month to realize the mosaic after we complete its design together.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Community Mosaic Workshop

Our goal was to get a number of kids together to realize a mosaic at the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Alabama.

The design is a traditional decorative pattern used in many Roman mosaics, usually as a border for more figurative parts. It is generally called a "guilloche". You can see below an example of Guilloche around a hunting scene on a Roman Mosaic.

Roman mosaic : Hunting Scene with Guilloche Border.

The artwork is  60 x 18" (1.5 x 0.5 m) in size and contains about 1,500 ceramic tile pieces (tesserae). All the preparation was done beforehand so that children could take part in the workshop by sticking the pieces down to the board (the direct method).

I first designed the pattern on a piece of backing board.

Only basic drawing tools are needed : Pencil, Permanent Marker, Eraser, Compass, Ruler.

Once the drawing complete, I cut the backing board to the final dimensioin of the mosaic and mounted it on a wooden frame to increase its rigidity. 

Here you can see the 5 colors of tiles used on this project.

I had glued a few tiles onto the board so people would know which color tile was going where. (Some still did not get it though...)

I had precut all tiles to fit the dimensions of the drawing.

I brought the board, tiles and a few tools from my workshop to the Museum. We had planned to work outside. However heavy rain was threatening and we moved the workshop inside.

The tiles were glued to the board using a regular white tile glue. The setting time is around 1 hour.

I had to adjust the cut of some tesserae. I had brought a diamond blade saw which was really to noisy inside the room. So that I finally only used the nippers. 

We had some very focussed participants...

And Sticky Fingers...

Not only did the kids enjoy it !

But their parents also got their fingers dirty !
Et voila !

It took a little less than 3 hours to complete the work. Several families participated, children and parents had a great time. 

I took the piece back to my workshop to grout it. I waited several days to clean up the glue. That was  mistake, it had seriously hardened and it took lots of time and energy to remove it. 

Make sure the glue is removed during the actual laying of the tesserae. It is very easy to wipe it out with a wet sponge or rag before it dries up, after that, it sticks very strongly to everything !

The Mosaic in display at the Wiregrass Museum of Art

If you are interested in my work, would like to acquire an existing piece or commission a mosaic, or if you would simply like to learn more and about mosaic, please contact me by email at , or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

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