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.

Tile Size and Image Size

It’s not difficult to decide how large to make a mosaic if you keep two points in mind:

Most pictures need to simplified in order to be rendered in tile.

To determine how big to make your mosaic, try drawing the smallest detail you would like to render, and then practice arranging tile on the drawing to render the detail.

Some unfortunate novices do just the opposite: They start gluing on background tiles and then work toward the figure in the center only to discover that the mosaic is too small for them to render the faces or other figures in sufficient detail.

I wrote this article about resizing mosaic patterns using only a ruler.

Tree Mosaic Art Robert Friedlander Installed
Tree Mosaic Art Robert Friedlander Installed on Porch.

A Case Study: Tree Mosaic

Notice how most tiles are whole 8mm tiles, possibly over 95% of them. Cut tiles are used in only a few places where rows of tile come to an end.

Also notice how the artist used rows of tile but not a grid. You do not have to use a grid in order to use whole tiles (or mostly whole tiles).

This mosaic is also a great example of the power of color contrast. The cool blue sky fades to the back while the warm tones of the bark and leaves jump forward.  Robert did good with this one.

A Practical Material Consideration

Even though this mosaic was installed underneath a porch which looks large enough to shelter it from rain, plywood would still NOT be the best choice of backer. Plywood can warp slightly due to daily cycles in humidity, and even slight warping can cause tiles to pop off. This happens surprisingly quickly unless you live in a desert.

I wrote and article about materials for outdoor mosaic tables that explains why plywood is problematic outdoors, what you can do to help it last longer, and why you are much better off using some of the alternatives we recommend.








5 responses to “Making Detailed Mosaic Images Using Whole Uncut Tile”

  1. Dana Takacs Avatar
    Dana Takacs

    I would be interested in feedback on this piece. I used 8mm and 1cm tiles along with fused baubles and cut glass.
    I call it Pi-Bowler.
    What I am disappointed about is the bottom left corner. The idea was that the purple was trying to burst out of the brown. Perhaps I should have used 2 different coloured grouts?

    1. Joe Moorman Avatar
      Joe Moorman

      Hi Dana,
      Please email us a picture, and we will take a look.

  2. Skylar Avatar

    I see cut pieces

  3. Mame Avatar

    Do you have any other good examples of mosaics using mostly uncut tile? I would like to make a mosaic table but my husband does not like the edges of cut glass (even after grouting, the lingering possibility of sharp edges bothers him). My only chance at having a mosaic table is if I promise to use uncut tile – so I am looking for visual inspiration. I am used to working with stained glass tile (particularly the Morjo thins) in a more painterly style, so this will be a new experience for me. Any stylistic tips appreciated.

    1. Joe Moorman Avatar
      Joe Moorman

      I really don’t have very many examples of artistic mosaics made from whole tile, but here is one.

      As you can see, the resolution and size has to be large enough so that the tile is more or less a pixel.

      As you can see in that situation, there is no painterly style or expressive andamento.

      That being said, you can have some expressive andamento with whole tile IF you make peace with a larger grout gap. Then you can make curving lines of tile.

      I hope this helps you decide.

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