Artist Joe Moorman

Artist Joe Moorman

Artist Joe Moorman owns Mosaic Art Supply and writes the How To Mosaic blog.  He displays his art online at Riverson Fine Art. His mission is to promote contemporary mosaic as a fine art and encourage ordinary people to make original mosaic art in their own style.

Mosaic Art Supply’s selection of glass mosaic tile, mosaic art gallery and how-to-mosaic pages represent the most authoritative and complete mosaic supply site on the Internet. Founded in 2002, Mosaic Art Supply offers free project advice, low prices, quick shipping and an ever expanding selection of mosaic tile and supplies. 

To email Joe, fill out the form below.

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30 responses to “Artist Joe Moorman”

  1. Firstly, congratulations on creating such a detailed and informative site. i thank you for sharing your knowledge so freely and for free!!
    It has given me the kick up the arse l needed to get started, well begin to set up my space anyway!!!!
    l am 53 and have been gathering materials for donkey’s years. ‘Unused junk’ waiting for me to find the courage to create something wonderful….and by golly reading your stuff has done just that!! so cheers and ta very muchly. big hugs.
    Lynne from England. x

  2. Joe,
    First off, I wanted to say that I really like your blog. You have posted some of the most helpful information that I have found anywhere.
    I had a question about how to attach hardiboard to outdoor cinder block. I am going to make a street number placard for the side of my home and was wondering what my options are for attaching it. It will be approx 12″X24″ and I am planning on using 1/4″ hardieboard and 1″ glass tiles. I know one way would be to drill though the cement board and the cinder blocks and use a couple of tapcon cement screws. Is there any good way to attach to the cement board that I could just screw in a couple of screws into the cinder block and then hang it over the screws? Also, what about the edges of the hardiboard, do i need to worry about sealing the edge? I have not found a good forum to pose these questions so I was hoping that you could help me out. Thanks, I love you blog.
    Robert

    • Robert,
      My apologies for the late reply. We have been moving to a new warehouse.

      I would use pure concrete backer board. I would avoid Hardieboard because I think it contains wood fibers.

      There is no good quick solution involving concrete backer board for this application. All are crumbly at the edges and would require some sort of frame such as one made from 3/4″ angle iron. However, a local welder could fabricate what you need and weld washers to it as mounting points for fasteners.

      I hope this helps some!

  3. Amazing information on your blog. I am looking for some advice from an experienced mosaic artist. I am doing a “mosaic” floor. Using 3/8 inch jade flat cut pebbles (various sizes…some large) interspersed with 3/8 inch stainless steel pebbles (stainless formed and wrapped over a ceramic substrate) and glass gems. I have been dry setting this “mosaic” on the floor to get the right balance of color. Now I need to lift the pieces already in place so I can put down the thinset adhesive underneath. So I need a face mounting material that is strong enough for the tile but yet can be removed after the thinset has setup. The size of this floor is 240sq ft. I have looked at the clear “tile tape” product designed for mosaic applications, however: for the amount I would need (and then discard after use), the cost of the multiple rolls of tile tape for this project would be a bit steep. Are there any other lower cost alternatives for mounting products? I’ve though about Contact paper or packing tape but I’m afraid they won’t release. I thought about that temporary clear plastic film used to cover carpets but afraid it won’t be strong enough to hold the tiles in place due to the weight of the tile. I also thought about using the old fashioned brown craft paper but I don’t like the idea of having to apply glue, then use water to release (vey messy and the addition of water may not be great on fresh thinset). Do you have any recommendations?
    Thanks,
    Kathleen

    • Kathleen,

      You have pretty much covered the options: the clear mosaic mounting tape or the brown mounting paper are the only thing available for picking up a loose mosaic design by the face. We don’t have the best price on the tape, so you could shop around for a better deal on that, and you could get the version that is 12″ wide. I will make a prediction for you: If you do attempt this work with an improvised solution to save money, you will in all probability end up buying one of these products and be glad you did. 240 square feet may be large as far as buying materials, but it is also large as far as the labor and frustration of trying to make some ad hoc solution work. At least if you are like most people.

      All that being said, I love to come up with improvised materials and methods to save money and labor. The “secret” to making something like that work is to test it on scrap material somewhere else instead of on the project itself. On tip I can give is that not all brown kraft paper is the same. In fact, there is a range of thicknesses and moisture resistance levels. The mosaic mounting paper has coarse fibers and was designed not to turn into mush when wet. A lot of brown kraft paper will turn into mush and create a lot of clean up work before you can grout.

      I hope this helps some.

      • Joe,
        Yes…super helpful. And you are right about improvised solutions…it may seem like a good idea until you get too far into it to turn back! Then you just have to slog through it…no fun! Been there, done that! I guess my next concern is to find a material (either the clear tape or the brown kraft paper, or maybe contact paper… I even thought about packing tape), that would be strong enough to handle the weight of these tiles. The mosaic is mostly 3/8th thick jade flat cut pebbles. Even one 12×12 sheet of pebbles is pretty weighty. Would the clear tape be stronger than the kraft paper?
        Thanks again for your expertise!
        Kathleen

        • Kathleen,
          The weight of the stones could be an issue with the mounting tape, especially if the surfaces are rounded. However, I think it would work well enough provided the handling is minimal. I once had a similar situation and ordered 12″x12″ cardboard squares from Uline as temporary supports for each sheet until I slid them off into the mounting mortar. In fact, I’m fairly sure something like that might be necessary if the stones are large and heavy because neither the tape nor paper are rigid and can fold up and sag in annoying ways. Whether you use mounting tape or mounting paper, you will need to test your method before applying it to the actual project. The test can be as simple as applying one sheet and seeing if the stones hold well enough for the sheet to be moved around.
          I hope this helps!

  4. I hope you can help me. Last summer, I bought an oversized, oval, outdoor glass mosaic table (base is set in concrete and weighing 500 pounds) from a very high end store. The glass tiles are set with a dark brown grout. I used the table once before the Fall set in and used a table cloth so I never had to wipe it down. We had a mild but very wet winter season. I have now gone out to wipe it to get set for this summer. As I wiped (with plain water), the rag was coated in brown and once dried, there is a brown haze all over the glass tiles. I have wiped it several times and the same thing happens each time. Could it be that the manufacturer never sealed the grout in this table top before shipping to me? How can I get rid of this brown haze (there are hundreds of these small glass tiles set in the brown grout on the table top)? And, should I seal this table top myself? Help – it was a very spendy investment!!!

    • I would hose the table off well so that it isn’t shedding color and then seal the table with a tile and grout sealer from a building material store. If all the grout is crumbling away, you can scrape it out with a Grout Removal Tool and then re-grout it.

  5. Hi Joe! I’m stumped about choosing a background color for the mosaic family tree I’m making for my dad. My maiden name is Sparrow so I chose birds as family members with blue and purple birds for females and red and brown for males. I’m using dark brown for the branch colors.

    I’ve decided not to include leaves and extra branches because there are already enough colors!

    I never thought about the background when I started this. Lesson #1, I guess. lol. I know your email address is listed somewhere on your site so I will email the picture separately.

    Thanks!
    Brenda

    • Hi Brenda,

      Color choices in artwork are like an evolving puzzle: the colors you already have on the board constrain what else you can add. Looking at what you have so far, specifically the birds and branches being rendered in deep intense colors:
      Sparrow Family Tree Mosaic (in progress)
      it is fairly obvious that the background will need to be a light color(s). I think a warm cream not too different from the temporary backer you used for the photo would be best. You can order samples from our website to see what looks best in person.

      I hope this helps!

  6. Hello Joe,
    Thanks for all the great information.
    However I am still confused on something so I do have a question for you.
    I have a little wood garden bridge I would like to mosaic the walking area.
    If I use piece of concrete backer board, over a piece of fir wood board, ( the wood the bridge is made of), then mosaic that backer board…will it be safe outdoors??

    • Yes, you could do that. The problem is that concrete backer board has crumbly edges, and so you need to do something to cover the edges. You can plaster them with the same thinset mortar that you use to attach the tile, or you can put a wooden border around the edges.
      I hope this helps,

  7. Hi Joe,

    Thanks so much for your posts. I have an outdoor glass mosaic project in a garden that gets lots of rain. Few frosts. Could I mosaic on Corian with epoxy cement and grout? Should last for the ages, right?

  8. Hi there, Great to have found your site and blog. I am a mosaic artist from Bristol, UK and have been commissioned to mosaic a pizza oven for a local pub. I haven’t done it before, and people are talking about a video you have made which would probably answer all my questions – any chance you could send me the link to it?
    Cheers
    Felicity

    • Hi Felicity,
      I’ve not made any videos about that, but I am sure there are plenty on Youtube. The brink/stone/masonry ovens that I have seen mosaiced all turned out fine, but if the oven is steel or has major steel components such as doors or door frame, there could be problems with cracking due to differences in thermal expansion rates.

  9. Hi Joe,
    This is a wonderfully informative site that I just discovered today. Wondering if you can help me answer some questions.
    In the past I created a mosaic on the risers of my cement stairs.
    My next project is a glass mosaic to exterior metal stair risers. I expect they can be done but what is the best way to approach them. These risers are removable & I can fabricate them inside my studio.
    -Do you recommend to presand the surface of the metal?
    -does the metal need to be ‘primed’ to avoid rusting?
    – I have read a few different ways to plan for the movement of the mosaic & metal at different temperatures & weather conditions beyond using poly additives. One recommendation is to attach, with screws, a ss metal mesh substrate to the metal risers surface. When this is described it sounds like one would add thin-set to this surface and let it dry that the mosaic would be applied using another layer of thin-set. What is your recomendation?

    • Hi Diane,

      That is a good method. A wire mesh and thinset mortar coating would make a good backer surface on the metal riser. I would prime the riser before screwing on the mesh. You will probably need 2 coats of mortar to make the surface secure and level.

      I should note that the riser should be primed to keep it from oxidizing, but the mortar probably won’t adhere to the paint as well as desired, and so I would make sure the wire mesh was secured to it with multiple well-placed fasteners.

      Please email us pics of the work in progress and the final results.

      I am sure that people will want to see it.

  10. Thank you so much for your quick response. I still continue to have questions as I prepare for this project. I hope you don’t mind.
    – Is there a brand of sanded thin set you would recommend? I am in a semi mild climate in the PNW.
    – a brand for the primer?
    – do the edges of the metal/mosaic need special finishing, sealing or capping? I do plan on leaving at least a 1/2″ mortared edge before I start the mosaic field.
    – as I am using glass shards many of which are transparent I will use a light colored thin set as the base on the mesh as you explained, let it dry thoroughly, would you recommend using the same thin-set to apply the glass? Would I wet the dry thin-set as I o along?
    that’s enough questions for now! Once I get started which is looking to be a month or so out I will happily share images.

    Thank you again for your expertise.

    • Here is my page that answers most of your questions about thinset mortar.

      Your other questions involve a little bit of nuance and are best addressed by experimenting with a little bit of thinset. I recommend making a small plaque on a piece of stone or plywood to get a feel for handling the thinset and how it cures before you do the main project. The small plaque doesn’t have to be real piece of art. It can just be a test blank.

  11. Hi Joe, Thank you for all the great information and directions you have provided. I have finished a particular art piece but I’m not sure which email address to send it to you. I am NOT an artist so any criticism you can provide in order to improve my work would be greatly appreciated.
    I have a question and despite reading the blogs etc. I can’t find an answer. I am doing an outdoor art piece and will be using the foam-core tile backer board. Can I attach my tiles directly onto the backing board or is some other preparation needed before I begin the art piece? Thank you for your time and expertise.
    Kelly

    • Hi Kelly,
      You can send it to any of our email addresses. I will see it. Tile backer boards are made to bond to cements, adhesives, and mortars. No surface prep is needed.
      Joe

    • Some blog articles are easy to write because the art is so good.

      Thanks for helping to promote contemporary mosaic as a fine art!

  12. Hi Joe, GREAT BLOG! I have learned so much and am looking forward to moving forward on my project. I am making a mosaic table top to be placed on a vintage bird bath base for a patio. I will be using tesserae from ceramic plates that were broken in an accident. I’ve already used niooers and a tile saw to cut them into useable shapes and have planned out the pattern. I have exterior grade ply wood and Hardibacker for the base. I am planning on using thinset mortar bed and a sanded grout. My concern is the border – the Hardibacker and plywood will be exposed. Do you suggest using Thinset and smaller tiles around the edges? It’s the only part of the project for which I am unsure of how to proceed. Thanks for any advice you can give me.

    • Thanks Donna!
      Tiling on outside rims is extremely vulnerable to impact damage from everyday use, such as people sliding chairs into place. It’s better to find or make some sort of rim or border.

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