The simplest definition of Mosaic is "a picture or other design constructed from smaller pieces" regardless of materials... It is the subject and style of the design, the choice of materials and the techniques or skill in creating and placing the pieces that contribute to the value of the mosaic whether it be personal, artistic or practical.

Mosaics are more than just a "paint-by-numbers" exercise or a home-made jigsaw puzzle. The laying down of tiles is painstaking and does call for a special talent but that being said, it is great fun to start with smaller, cheaper projects and let your imagination run riot!

Roman Soldier mosaicMosaic as an art form involves fitting small pieces of rock, shell, tile, or glass (called tesserae) are used to create a pattern or picture - whether it be abstract or true to life. There are certain techniques in designing a mosaic that will affect the overall appearance. (See our Mosaic Design page)

Some of the finest examples of mosaic can be found in ancient art from the Greco-Roman world, and in Byzantine churches.

This craft can be used to decorate everything from chests of drawers to floors, and it has been a part of the artistic expression of many cultures all over the world.

Mosaic mirror gazing ball (garden ornament)Making mosaic on your own can be fun, since there are so many possible materials to work with. At a minimum, you will simply need a surface to mosaic and materials to cover it in. Tile factories and pottery studios are a great source of broken clay and glass to use, and you can also purchase mosaic tiles which are specifically designed for this purpose. A strong adhesive is needed to fix the tesserae to their backing, and you will also need grout to finish the piece, along with sealer if it is intended for outside or moist conditions. Tools like tile snippers or cutters are also very handy, and remember to wear face protection when breaking pottery or cutting glass.

(See our Mosaic Materials page for a more detailed look at the materials used to make mosaics)

A special feature is that the pieces are normally solid and durable where the qualities of the materials add to the significance of the mosaic. Materials may be reflective or iridescent (glass, gold, mirror). Mosaics can also be 3-dimensional, and can incorporate objects and unusual items which means that the possibilities are endless!


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