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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Luana Mosaic

Some things are meant to happen...

The Luana Mosaic was one of them 

It was the convergence of several streams.

  • A hard to shoot picture of a talented young musician. 

  • The sponsorship of her Grandparents,  Art collectors who shared my admiration for Boticelli's painting. 

We decided to create a portrait of her inspired by Botticelli's Primavera. From the original painting and picture, I designed a first model. 

I laid the printed model on the bench of my Alabama shop in early September 2014 and started to work. 

Luana Mosaic, Sep 17, 2014.

You can see on this view that Luana was built on fiberglass Mesh. I had built Miriam's Eyes last june following the same technique. This allows transportation of the light part of the mosaic, without all the heavy materials used to complete it.

This way, I would be able fly to France with Luana and 2 other mosaics in my suitcase and finish them in my new French Studio.

Luana Mosaic, September 27.

25 and 35 different kinds of materials were used on this piece.

On October 8, all tesserae had been laid. 

Luana mosaic, October 8, 2014.

I lifted Luana from her model, and had my first look at what she would actually look at the end of her journey to France.


On October 30, with my Daughter Mathilde - herself a mosaic artist. Luana is ready to ship !

On december 17, I set up my new studio in Saint Valery sur Somme and applied thinset and support on top of Luana !

On December 21, I removed the Fiberglass mesh.

And on Christmas Eve, Luana, framed and shiny was ready...

to meet Santa Claus, and the actual Luana ! 

No heavy stones were mistreated or abused in the making of Luana. As I only used thin ceramic, glasses, smalti and mirrors and mounted her on a lighter type of panel than the US ones, Luana is lighter than the mosaics I made before her.

The Luana Mosaic : 
  • Glass, Smalti, Mirror, Ceramic.
  • Wooden Frame.
  • Dimensions : 21 x 25 " (53 x 63 cm).
  • Weight : 21 lb (9.5 kg).

Portraits make outstanding presents and mosaics last forever ! If you would like to discuss or commission a portrait, or any other type of mosaic, please call me at (334) 798 1639 or drop me an email at

You can also Subscribe to my Newsletter to get the last news about Materials, Techniques and Sources of Inspiration of modern and antique Mosaic Artists and Patrons !

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mosaicblues opens French Studio

In a previous post I told you how was trying to solve the problem of shipping mosaics abroad. Mosaics being made of heavy stone, ceramic and glass mounted on cement and concrete materials, they are heavy and costly to ship.

Experimentation in June 2014 showed that by building my mosaics on a fiberglass mesh I would able to reduce the shipping weight by 55 to 65 %.

Miriam's Eyes, June 2014

I still had to be able to mount the mosaic on a solid support at its final destination, or in a workshop close to it, so I can drive to my patron's home or business to deliver and install the piece. 

Basically, I needed a finition shop in Europe.

I am pleased to announce the opening of Mosaicblues France.

My new studio is located in Saint Valery sur Somme, the very town from which William sailed to invade Britain in 1066 !

I landed in Paris with my mosaic on December 17 and started to set up the shop and work in it on December 18. 

The shop does not include heavy stone cutting or glass grinding equipment. I will simply be building frames and mount the mosaics on them.

My goal is to be able to simply mount lightweight, fiberglass mounted mosaics on a rigid support. These piece are still prefabricated in Alabama. 

Lu2 Mosaic, October 2014

On a next Episode of this amazing  
see the first French mounting of a Mosaicblues mosaic !

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lightweight Mosaic !

In June 2014, I delivered in Normandy a mosaic commissioned by long time friend. 

Mariam's eyes, 21 x 39" (53 x 119 cm) , made of stones, ceramics and glasses tiles, weighs 65 lb (31 kg) and bringing her to France with me was a challenging task. 

You see, mosaics last for one reason : They are built of heavy, fireproof materials : stone, glasses, ceramics, embedded in heavier concrete based materials supported by fibers reinforced concrete panels...

The weight of the actual tiles that compose a mosaic is between 35 and 45 % of the total weight of the completed mosaic. In the case of Mariam's eyes, the weight of the tiles was 22 lb. (10 kg)

When I took her to France with me, I carried 43 lb (20 kg) of concrete in my bag, and paid a hefty price for it. 

While I was making Mariam's eyes, I also made Miriam's. 

I made Miriam on a fiberglass mesh. She was an experiment. I wanted to test the feasibility to prefab a mosaic on a very light support, to possibly transport such piece without all the concrete involved.

Mission accomplished, I had to deal with a few technical problems and hungry rodents, but when completed, ready to be mounted, Miriam weighed 22 lb.

Such piece, however, is fragile and  I now had to figure out how to safely ship it and mount it in a foreign country. 

Which I'll address very soon in the next episode of this newsletter ! (Subscribe to it, Share it !)

Miriam's Eyes (to the Right) is Mariam's Twin Sister and is available for sale.

Beautify your life with one of classy mosaic piece from mosaicblues. Purchase an existing mosaic or commission a portrait, a decorative panel, a kitchen backsplash, a shower... 

Together we will design the perfect piece fitted to your home's or business' unique style. 

Or if you simply would like to discuss the wonderful art of modern and ancient mosaics, please contact me by email at or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

And if you enjoyed this post, please

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Roman Lions Club

One fascinating aspects of graphic arts is that it helps us realize how things were done at time it was produced.

Often it allows us to realize how things have deeply changed with time, Sometimes it also allows us to realize how things have NOT changed...

So here is one of the gorgeous mosaics hosted by the National Bardo Museum in Tunis (Tunisia) :

A Lion with what appears to be some sort of piercings through its nose, framed by 4 stalks of millet. 

Above him an inscription reads :


Which  can be translated into

"O Leo, you planned, you prepared, you dedicated (this)."

This particular mosaic was originally part of the Thermae in the city of Uzitta a city of high antiquity, famous for certain episodes of Caesar's campaign in Africa.

In Rome, the thermae were facilities for bathing, public or private.
Most Roman cities had at least one, if not many, Thermae. These were centres not only for bathing, but more importantly also for socializing.

So what it first appears to be is that a guy named Leo designed, built and dedicated these thermae for the city of Uzitta.

But actually, things are a little more complicated.

Because the Lion framed by 4 Millet stalks actually was a symbol used by the Leontii - The Lions Sodality - a group of local prominent citizens, archaeologists believe these bath were actually built either by Leo, member of the Lions Sodality, or by the sodality itself for the benefit of the whole town.

A sort of Roman Lion's Club...

So, this is why the study of mosaics is fascinating: they show us that while some things have enormously evolved in the course of 1800 years, the men and women of these times had motivations, concerns and organizations similar to ours. 

If anything, this points to the importance of studying History if we want to try to avoid past mistakes and improve our societies. But this, my little friends, is an other story...

Mosaics are Classy. They have been for the past 2500 years... Emulate this beautiful Roman Patrician. Add colour and style to your life with one  of mosaicblues' mosaics.

Wether an existing mosaic or a special project: Commission a portrait, decorative panel for your kitchen or bathroom, a shower wall, an entrance hall floor... Together we will design the perfect piece fitted to your home's or business' unique style. Or if you simply would like to discuss the wonderful art of modern and ancient mosaics, please contact me by email at or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

And if you did enjoy this post, please

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cold Weather

As I mostly work the Reverse Method, I use a water soluble glue to set my tesserae on their support. The mosaic is built upside down. when the piece complete I glue a support on it with a thinset mortar. Once the mortar has set, I flip the piece, remove the model and clean the glue before I can finish it. 

The Temperature inside the workshop is important. Here in Alabama, from April to October, we usually have nice and warm weather, and the glue sets quickly - in July or August, it sometimes just takes 2 hours.

However, right now, at the end of November, when it may freeze at night, it can take 2 days for the water to evaporate and the glue to set. I wish I had a nicely insulated workshop with central Heating, but I am not there yet. 

In the meantime, I purchased a cheap electrical heater, covered my mosaic with a big plastic box, and let run the heater for the night, at low temperature.

Total cost of this brilliant installation $40.00. 

In the morning, the mosaic is perfectly set, and ready to be worked on ! 

Beside that, the concrete will not set if it freezes, so do not use thinset or grout below 40 degrees (Fahrenheit). Anyway, at these temperatures, you finger become numb and it becomes difficult to work with a wet saw. Last Friday, it came to the point that I could not really grab the small pieces of glass I was grinding for one portrait I am presently working on. Some of these pieces are 1/8" thick, I grind them on a (cold) water lubricated diamond tool.

There is no point trying to work at something when your fingers can't properly grab things ! I put the lid on the mosaic, went back home and heated me a nice flask of SAKE.

Next morning, I resumed work !

Mosaics are Classy. Beautify your life with one of piece from mosaicblues. Purchase an existing mosaic or commission a special project: A portrait, a decorative panel, a kitchen backsplash, a shower... Together we will design the perfect piece fitted to your home's or business' unique style. Or if you simply would like to discuss the wonderful art of modern and ancient mosaics, please contact me by email at or by phone at (334) 798 1639.

And if you enjoyed this post, please