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Your frequently asked questions about commissioning a mosaic…

...starting with ...

It is the first question most people want to know, and the hardest to answer because there are so many variables such as: the site conditions; the materials; the detail of the design and the materials to be used. 

Firstly I must say don’t be shy to ask… 

I will supply you with a fixed quote for your specific mosaic project that is guaranteed for 3 months. This quote will be fully inclusive of all the costs and is given without obligation.

To give you a rough guide a 3 metre diameter floor mosaic such as the one illustrated here would cost GBP 30,000.00 including design, fabrication and installation to a suitable site.

Another difficult question to answer as so many factors can affect the production times.

Mosaics of course take many hours to make as each tesserae is hand cut and carefully placed to create the design. Factors that can impact the timetable include:–

• Design consultation – If your design is subject to committee approval or community consultation this can add many weeks to your timetable

• Site Preparation – Floor mosaics usually require a strong foundation base, if this is being put in as a new foundation it will require a minimum of six weeks to dry. I can supply further details of screed requirements and drying times.

* Studio Booking – Another factor in project delivery is my studio capacity. Because projects can take many months the studio is very quickly booked up. If this is the case you will be informed at the outset, however we are very good at pulling out the stops to get a project done. I have a pool of skilled mosaic craftspeople I can call on to boost the labour allocated to a project and keep it on timetable. Where necessary I have also booked out extra space so that more projects can be handled in good time. If you like we can talk about project timetables in your free consultation meeting.

• Complex designs – High detail in mosaics usually means smaller pieces. The time and consequently the cost of a mosaic will is all about the level of cutting involved and that level increases exponentially. The 4 levels of ‘pre-cuts’ (cuts taken to reach the dominant tesserae size) illustrated here demonstrate this as each step down in size increases the cuts needed:–

Level 1 – 1 cut

Level 2 – 3 cuts

Level 3 – 7 cuts

Level 4 – 15 cuts

Past this level we start to enter the realms of micro mosaic where my fingers and eyesight start to give up 🙂

 

Having said all that, using the example in the previous question, a 3 metre diameter floor mosaic, the normal time from approval of design to installation on site is 3 months.

The skill and process of making a mosaic artwork is a fascinating ancient craft little changed since the great Roman pavements were created.

Clients are very welcome to visit the studio and see their mosaic being made. Why not make it a day out? Perhaps you could even add your own tesserae to the work that you can point out to admirers in the future.

And if you can’t make it to the studio I can send you pictures of the mosaic as it develops step by step.

It is the first question most people want to know, and the hardest to answer.

Some Mosaic makers also operate on a supply only basis and will either expect you to organise a suitable fixer for the mosaic or will engage a separate mosaic installer themselves.

If you are require to engage a mosaic installer yourself don’t make the mistake of thinking any tiler will do. A mosaic installation require specialist skills that are different from regular tilers, make sure your prospective installer is confident about installing mosaic specifically.

At Drostle Public Arts we nearly always install our own mosaics. We do this because we really care about our work. We use the same people to install as making therefore ensuring the same attention to detail throughout the process, guaranteeing a successful outcome.

Some mosaic makers do require a design, usually commissioned separately from an artist/painter by the commissioner. If this is done it is important that the design/painting is done to correct dimensions and at a sufficient scale for the mosaic maker.

Here I create my own unique designs specifically to your brief. But I can also work to separately commissioned designs if required, these design commissions can be carried out collaboratively or as completely separate commissions. We are very proud to have created mosaics from the designs of inspiring artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Tom Philips RA, Caroline Ishgar, Onya MacCausland and ‘Ink Crew’ Bogota.

I firmly believe that getting the right design is crucial to a successful mosaic artwork and my own success in creating compelling designs can be seen in the numerous awards my work has attracted.

Once you are happy with the quote and the brief for your mosaic your commission will begin. Because mosaics are costly to create and I am a small business I do require payments to be made in stages across the commission timetable these are divided as a percentage of the overall fee.

The payment stages are as follows:–

• 20 % design fee payable on commencement of the contract

• 30% on approval of the final design before fabrication begins

• 30% on completion of the fabrication of your mosaic in the studio, before shipment takes place.

• 20% on successful completion of the installation of your mosaic.

Payments are required by cheque or direct bank payment (BACS / wire) in GB Pounds except for projects in the USA where payments can be made in US Dollars directly to our USD account.

Don’t worry about struggling with import/export bureaucracy. I will take care of it all, together with my logistics partners EBISS UK, we will pack, ship and deliver to your door. 

I usually ask that you store the mosaic until I arrive to install the work. If this is a problem we can discuss me being on-site to greet the mosaic and begin installing immediately.

Of course I totally understand that my design style and approach won’t suit everyone, just as not every job will be right for my practice.

You can appoint your own artist, whose style you like, to design your mosaic. They don’t have to have any experience of mosaic and I can work with them to help realise their vision. I have worked like this on a number of projects including: Painter Tom Phillips RA; printmaker Caroline Ishgar; conceptual artist Onya MacCausland; graffiti artists Ink Crew.

Of course much as we would like to do all the mosaic projects in the world we know that isn’t possible or desirable, the variety and talent of different mosaic artists makes our art form a rich and rewarding place to work.

Apart from searching the internet for a mosaic artist a good idea is to look at the National Mosaic Associations to find a mosaic maker that suits your project. Check out the rich variety here:–

BAMM – The British Association for Modern Mosaic

SAMA – The Society of American Mosaic Artists

DOMO – Deutsche Organisation für Mosaikkunst

 

Are you planning a site specific artwork?

Why not cut your research time by arranging my free 30 minute consultation.

We can discuss the specific requirements of your project and you can benefit from immediate and experienced feedback.

Leave your details here and I will contact you to arrange an appointment.

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FREE GUIDE

Power up your commissioning knowledge

By reading this simple 4 stage guide you can avoid the pitfalls and plan a smooth commissioning process to a successful and stunning unique mosaic artwork.

Artist Gary Drostle has been creating award winning site specific artworks from his London studio for over 30 years.

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Gary

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