Category Archives: Art Review

Reviews of modern mosaic art.

Pet Memorial Mosaic Sugar

Pet Memorial Mosaics

Recently April Costigan sent us some pictures of pet memorial mosaics made on stepping stones and some portraits of pets still living, and they are great examples of what you could make for your loved one. April’s mosaics also show a natural progression in skill, and so they are worth showing to a wider audience. Continue reading

Sunset Mosaic Landscape by Apryl Howard.

Everything I Told You About Mosaic Art Is Wrong

Artist Apryl Howard sent me some pictures of her recent Arizona Sunset Mosaic, and it is the exception to several “rules” I have recommended over the years. It is also a great silhouette landscape that captures the color of light and is worth seeing merely for inspiration and ideas for your own artwork. Continue reading

Mosaic Sign by Ann Mitchell

The Importance of Contrast: Mosaic Sign Case Study

Contrast is critical for creating images that catch the eye and text that is readable.

A mosaic sign recently completed by Ann Mitchell is a great example of the importance of contrast and the rewards of looking at your work in an objective way and reworking problem areas. Continue reading

Tree Mosaic Art Robert Friedlander

Making Detailed Mosaic Images Using Whole Uncut Tile

To make detailed mosaic images using whole uncut tile, you need to use a tiny brand, such as the 8mm Recycled Glass Mosaic Tile by Morjo that we sell. You also need to make sure the image is large enough to accommodate the level of detail.

The Tree Mosaic recently completed by artist Robert Friedlander is good example of the relationships between the size of the tile, the size of the details to be rendered, and the size of the image as a whole.

It made me very happy when Robert told me that the mosaic was made with our new Morjo brand., but I was even more excited by how successful the project was in terms of contrast and visual impact and it being a good teaching example of how to use rows of whole tile without a rigid grid. Continue reading

Mosaic Swirled Andamento Full v2

Creating Motion Using Curved Andamento

Artists can create a sense of motion in their mosaics by using concentric curved rows of tile, especially in the background around figures.

To me this use of andamento* is one of the most interesting aspects of mosaic, and it is an easy way for novices to make art that really engages the eye. I used this technique in the first mosaic I ever made, and when I used a photo of that mosaic to make our logo, I blacked out the figure of the fire bird to emphasize how much of the sense of motion was creation was created by the andamento in the background.

*The Joy of Shards mosaic website defines andamento as the visual flow and direction within a mosaic produced by the placement of rows of tesserae (pieces of tile).

Continue reading

Sun Moon Mosaic by artist Lynn Sposito

Consistent Grout Gaps

In my recent blog article about black and white grout, I wrote the following tip for minimizing the width of grout gaps and working a little faster at the same time:

If tiles only touch at points but not along the length of their sides, then tiles can be positioned very closely and yet still be grouted. Consider working in this way instead of carefully cutting each tile to maintain a uniform grout gap.

I need to clarify what I meant by that.

Uniform Versus Consistent

Sometimes novice mosaicists will carefully cut each tile to maintain a perfectly uniform gap, which can be a little tedious, and worse yet, they make the gap a little wider than it should be because the artist does not have the experience to visualize what it will look like when grouted.

I think it is better to work a little less uniform, and to err on the side of being slightly narrow, even if that means tiles occasionally touch at a point or corner. By better, I mean more efficient, less tedious, and better looking.

All that being said, it is extremely important that the mosaic have the same type of grout gap in all regions. You want to be consistent in your style of gap. You do not want to have loosely executed in one place and tightly uniform in another, nor do you want wide gaps in one region and narrow gaps in another. Continue reading

Artist Marie Powell's "Sun Compass" mosaic table top

Increase Visual Interest by Using Variegated Colors

You can increase visual interest in your mosaic by using variegated colors (multiple colors in patches or streaks) instead of monochromatic fields of only one color. This technique is particularly effective if your design is relatively simple and made from outlined areas of color like a coloring book or cartoon. Continue reading

Day-of-the-Dead Mosaic Grouted

Black Grout vs White Grout

Black grouts bring out the intensity of tile colors while white grouts overwhelm them. Natalie Knox’s Day of the Dead Skull mosaic is a good example of how well black grouts work and how a light colored backer isn’t a good indicator of the mosaic would look with white grout.

Don’t Be Fooled

If you lay the mosaic out on a white backer and try to use that as an indication of what the mosaic will look like with white grout, remember this:

When the gaps are filled with grout, they won’t have all the contrast provided by empty gaps, which have depth and shadow. A lot of white concrete at the same level as the surface of the glass tends to make the colors look washed out. Continue reading

West-Indies Flag Abstract Mosaic Pattern

Abstract Geometric Mosaic Table Tops

Inspiring mosaic table tops with abstract geometric patterns were recently created by artist Risa Puno as part of her public art project Common Ground, an interactive sculpture designed to bring people closer together physically.

The concept of Risa’s sculpture plays on the metaphor of multiculturalism as mosaic, but instead of the folk or children’s artwork usually associated with that theme , there are cleaner abstract designs with color choices that ensure that each table has similar levels of intensity and contrast. The result is that the combined “quilt” is balanced and unified visually. Continue reading

California Mosaic Bench

California Mosaic Bench

Keira Miller recently made a mosaic bench in the shape of the state of California with a class of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.  The mosaic bench is made from California redwood and is to be auctioned off as part of a fundraiser to benefit their Montessori school.

Note that we do NOT recommend wood as a backer for outdoor mosaics, but if this mosaic had to be placed outdoors, some of the drier regions of California would be ideal. I think the mosaic would do well on a covered porch, and it would be a great addition to a family room or den. Continue reading