Category Archives: Inspiration

Inspirational material and ideas for mosaic art.

Glass-on-Glass Mosaic Sunflowers by artist Cindy Christensen

Mosaics and Artistic Collaboration

Artist Cindy Christensen emailed us some pictures of several mosaic projects that she collaborated on with her woodworking husband, and I wanted to share them because they are all well executed and colorful. They are also great examples of how you can improve your mosaic art by partnering with someone who has more power tools or shop knowledge than you do.

Cindy says her husband made the wooden coasters and the birdhouse and the other sculptural bases, and that he helps with sanding window frames and other bases for her mosaics.

Since we also receive pictures of distressed projects from people needing advice on how to salvage the situation, I wanted to talk about the problem of accidentally misdirecting the handy person helping you and how to avoid it.

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San Damiano Crucifix Mosaic by artist Kevin Pawlowski.

Passion Projects

I have written in the past about “passion projects,” which is a term I use to describe first-time projects in a new medium that were executed by people with little or no training, and often executed in an explosive or emotional way after wanting to do something similar for years.

Dr. Rolando Jose ‘s Doraemon Mosaic seems to have been such a passion project, and my first mosaic definitely was one.

Well, artist Kevin Pawlowski just emailed us some pictures of his second mosaic, and it is a doozy to say the least. Kevin’s The San Damiano Crucifix Mosaic is a large sculptural mosaic icon, and it is even more impressive than his first mosaic Be Not Afraid, which is a skillful and original interpretation of one of Gustav Dore‘s classic Bible engravings, Jesus Walking on the Sea.

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Pittsburgh Cityscape Mosaic sans frame

How To Use Iridescent Tile For Lights and Reflections

If we gave an award for best use of iridescent tile to create a sense of lighting in a scene, artist Terry Broderick’s mosaic “Pittsburgh Cityscape,” would have won it hands down. It is a must-see mosaic.

Even if you aren’t planning on using iridescent tile for lights in a night scene, Terry’s mosaic is worth taking a look because the sense of light and atmosphere he creates in it is nothing less than impressive.

If you are trying to make things like stars in a night sky or streetlights reflecting across water, this mosaic is a tutorial on how to do it right.

Pittsburgh Cityscape Mosaic by artist Terry Broderick
Pittsburgh Cityscape Mosaic by artist Terry Broderick
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tree-of-life-chakra-mosaic

Chakra Tree of Life Mosaic, A Study in Design

Artist Betty Ackerman recently used our fire-polished millefiori (the Mud-Turtle Mosaic brand) and stained glass to make a circular mosaic in the form of a rainbow-colored tree of life with a column of chakras spiraling inward on the trunk. Betty calls her mosaic “Chakra Tree of Life.” The first mosaics I ever made were found-object “mandalas” in the form of a tree of life in an oval, and so Betty’s design spoke to me.

I wanted to share this mosaic because Betty did a good job at maintaining adequate contrast between the tree and the background and between the branches and the leaves in spite of the color transition in the design. It would have been all too easy for the figurative element of the tree to become lost with this much “visual interest” going on in every square inch, and so the mosaic is worth studying.

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koi-mosaic-table-backlit

Glass-on-Glass Mosaic Table

Artist Melanie Squires recently completed a stained-glass mosaic table, and I wanted to show it off for several reasons, and not just because it looks so good. There are some materials and methods to discuss, and there is the use of impressionism for the koi, which I thought was particularly effective.

The Table

Melanie made the table from a metal patio table with a glass top and attached the stained glass to it using silicone adhesive.

Warning: If you use a glass patio table for a mosaic, make sure the glass is thick enough to support the weight of the mosaic. It is possible to find glass patio tables at thrift shops where the original thick glass has broken and been replaced with something thinner. It is also possible to come across cheaply-made tables with thin glass, especially end tables and coffee tables.

Never use a table for an outdoor mosaic merely because that is the table you happen to have. Before you invest time, money, and materials, make sure it will last.

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concrete-sculpture-mosaic-before-after

Mosaic Lawn Sculptures by Bernie Taylor

Recently artist Bernie Taylor emailed me some pictures of his mosaic lawn sculptures including some concrete bird baths and benches, and he has an impressive body of work. Bernie’s work is also a great example of how you can buy factory-made concrete sculptures and make them unique works of art by covering them with mosaic.

Ceramic or Glass?

Bernie used glazed ceramic tile for his sculptures in Florida, but keep in mind that ceramic tile is vulnerable to freeze cracking while glass tile isn’t (because it is non-porous). Glass tile is also more affordable, easier to cut, and more widely available in more colors.

Glass tile is also smaller and thus easier to fit to curved surfaces. I am very impressed that Bernie was able to tile the complex curves of his sculptures and consistently do such a good job with it. Continue reading

Mosaic Coffee Table integrated with interior design.

Mosaic Tables and Interior Design

Artist RJ Spurr recently completed two mosaic tables for his home, and I wanted to share them because the level of craft work is excellent, and the designs are integrated with the color schemes of rooms where they were installed.

The great thing about dry indoor mosaics is that you can use wood as a base, and that means you can put mosaics on wooden tables. Thrift shops, yard sales, and unfinished furniture stores are great sources for tables, but you can also breath new life into old tables you already have on hand. Continue reading

Maddie's Garden Memorial Cross

Mosaic Memorial Cross for Maddie

Georgia Art Teacher Connie Wells has been working with her students on a memorial cross project:

Highland Christian Academy in Valdosta, GA  wanted to remember one of our 8th grade students, Maddie Pitts that recently passed away from cancer in a personal, honorable way. As we constructed a small garden area with a pink bench and beautiful flowers, the students will be making rows of mosaic tiles to place on the centerpiece cross as a personal tribute to her memory. Maddie’s siblings, will also place a personal row of tiles to add to the memorial.

We are so grateful to my daughter Katie at Mosaic Art Supply in Atlanta for their gracious donations of beautiful tiles for the students to compose their personal contribution. We are grateful to Home Depot for the grout and building base for the cross.

The cross stands 6′ by 4′, with its backer material mechanically fastened to the wall. Each line of tile is created by students.
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Mosaic Chair by Janie Wright, back detail

Mosaic Furniture Pique Assiette Alternative

Mosaic furniture can be made from glass mosaic tile more easily and more affordably than it can be made from pieces cut from antique china and other patterned dinnerware. It’s also much more colorful! The choices available range from bright rainbow colors to soft pastels to different color families, earth tones, black and white.

You can even render portraits and landscapes on things like headboards because you have a complete rendering tool.

When you use glass tile instead of whatever you could scrounge up from months of yard sales and thrift shops, you start with a lot of horsepower on your side. Continue reading

Mosaic Hummingbird

Repeating Motifs and Abstract Mosaics

Repeating simple designs or motifs is an effective way to make iconic compositions that catch the eye, and you can take this technique to its extreme to produce abstract art where the pattern itself becomes the subject of the art and not just a tool for rendering figures.

Karla Conmy’s River Meanders mosaic is a good example of repeating motifs taken to the level of abstraction, and Sally Scardino’s Hummingbird mosaic is a good example of using a repeated motif to make a figurative composition stronger. Continue reading