Mosaics are images or patterns created by way of placing small stones, pieces of glass, or other small materials together to form a piece of decorative art.
The earliest known mosaics were found in a temple in Mesopotamia, dating all the way back to the second half of the third millennium BC. Their significance in religion, story telling, and decoration are evident in nearly every culture and corner of the world.
How to Lay Mosaics
There are over a dozen techniques for laying mosaics, but the three most common are the direct method, the indirect method, and the double indirect method.
The Direct Method
In the direct form, images and designs are constructed by directly gluing each piece to the supporting structure. This method works very well for shaped surfaces such as vases or pottery. One of its disadvantages is in work on larger scale pieces. It is less practical for an artist or assembler to remain on site working for hours in this way, especially if the pattern is to cover entire walls, ceilings, or other large surface areas. For jobs like this, the indirect method is often employed.
The Indirect Method
The indirect method is when an artist is using a backing paper or mesh to adhere the stones or materials to, and then adhering the finished parts of a piece on site.
The Double Indirect Method
Some of the most famous mosaic works belong to cathedrals, temples, castles and museums across the world.
The Irano-Roman floor mosaic in the palace of Shapur in Bishapur is famous for its intricacy, while pieces like “A Deer Hunt” found in Greece at Pella are significant culturally for their portrayal of man and gods.The double indirect method is similar in that it involves using a separate medium to place your materials on, but requires that you don’t adhere them right away.
This way, for more complex images, the artist can see his work as a whole, instead of just as its being developed. From there the operator must place another piece of paper on top of the finished work so it can be transferred to its final surface. This process can damage your work and requires much practice before it can be executed properly.
Mosaics offer a fun and creative way to represent events, ideas, and people. What will you make?
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