the construction stage
There are a number of ways to make your mosaic, the most often used is the 'Paper-faced reverse technique' one of the 'Indirect techniques' of mosaic making. The indirect techniques enable the mosaic to be constructed off site, in the studio, thus minimising the disruption to the site itself, not to mention making the mosaic makers life a bit easier.
The Paper-faced Reverse Technique begins with the drawing up of a full scale cartoon of the design as can be seen here on the right. The cartoon maps out the design in mirror image (reverse) and includes important reference marks (seen in red) for the fixing of the work on site.
Next the laying of the mosaic begins. The mosaic pieces, known as tesserae, are cut by hand using hand nippers or a 'hammer and hardie' and laid onto the cartoon. One by one the tesserae are glued face down onto the paper. Once a sufficiently large area has been completed in this way it is cut away and put aside while the work progresses.
At this stage you are encouraged to come along to the studio to see your mosaic in progress. From the outset of your commission you are also given your own unique web page to which regular updates are uploaded so that you can also see the progress from the comfort of your computer whenever you wish.
The construction is progressed in this way piece by piece, always with the utmost attention to detail. Although this may look like a simple translation of the design in fact (in the case of my mosaics) this too is a very creative stage in which the tesserae are given expression and life.
Once the mosaic has been completed and cut up into it's sections the whole thing is laid out, checked and then packed ready for shipping to the site and installation.
The picture left shows a large wall mosaic for Waltham Forest Council being laid out on the floor and inspected.
And so the mosaic is packed and ready to go.
On to preparing the site