Luciana Notturni is the master mosaicist and founder of the Mosaic Art Studio and School that Iâ€™ve been writing about these last couple of weeks. She teaches workshops like the one I took, about three times a month. She teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Mosaic Restoration in Ravenna. She and her studio staff restore ancient mosaics, as well as reproducing portraits (like the two pictured here) and motifs from ancient mosaics to sell to tourists. Many pieces are for sale in a shop that Luciana keeps near the center of town.
Luciana and the other craftsmen, students, and apprentices of the studio, work on commissions such as interpretations of paintings. A painter joined with Lucianaâ€™s studio in proposing this large piece for an art-in-public-places competition. Their proposal won the contract. For reference, a copy of the painting attached at the right edge of the mosaicâ€™s frame.
Our class was privileged to be able to meet in Luciana’s studio. Here are some of my classmates working at a long table in the studio.
My spot was at the far end, and to my right was this wall of shelves containing bags and boxes of colored glass. What a temptation for a gal who loves color. And to add to the color extravaganza, we could study color sample cards of vitreous glass and marble.
To my left, was this collection of hardies. A hardie is a blade sunk into a heavy piece of wood. To cut stone or glass, you hold the piece on the blade and tap it with a hammer. It looks so easy, when done by a professional! One can cut glass and stone to tiny dimensions, like 1mm pieces, using the hammer and hardie. However, our teacher Annalise told us that itâ€™s much harder to cut larger pieces correctly.
Mosaic college students must spend a specified number of hours working on mosaics. I liked these tulips that a student completed while we were at the studio.
It took me all five days to begin to absorb the sights of the studio–mosaic tools and supplies, books, photos of student work, exhibition pieces, works in progress, and completed mosaics surrounded us. Here is a sampling:
This reproduction of an ancient Roman piece, the two-way head, was propped behind a door.