We finished our first mosaic samples today! Each student chose a color photocopy of an ancient mosaic. We traced the pieces onto wax paper with water soluble pen, then transferred the design to a moist hydrated lime base.
But back to the beginning. Monday morning we had a talk about tools and techniques of mosaic, and after a great lunch at a church cafeteria, we spent the afternoon chopping marble into small cubes. Practice, you know.
I felt pretty confident in my ability to chop mosaic materials, until we started our copies on Tuesday morning. Mine was mostly made with colored glass pieces (vitreous glass made especially for mosaic). To chop glass is different than to chop marble. I had a fine layer of tiny glass slivers all around me, and lots of waste. “This is part of the job,” said Annaliese, who is one of our instructors.
We made lots of progress on Tuesday, with another nice lunch at the same cafeteria. Today we hurried to finish, because our mosaics were to be transferred to a wooden frame. The cement and surrounding slurry of cement and sand, would have time to dry, before we go home on Friday afternoon.
We all had help from the mosaicists at the studio. It’s impossible to put into words all the little movements and adjustments you make, when you do mosaic (or knitting and crochet, for that matter). So it helps to be able to watch an expert at work.
Luciana Notturni, the master mosaicist at the studio, told us our class is exceptional. “You are calm, you are quiet, you do the work,” she said. The most exceptional thing about this class, is that we all get along very well! The group comprises two British sisters, a British friend of theirs, a Bostonian, and a Texas. All our lunches and suppers are spent together, enjoying delicious food and talking. Here, we can linger over supper for a couple of hours in a restaurant, and the staff consider it normal.
Tomorrow we make a small mosaic, directly onto cement. Then we have a tour of the mosaics of Ravenna, which are many and amazing.
Lots of pictures to be added when I get home!