Home > Downtime Projects > Moasic Art – my creative outlet

Moasic Art – my creative outlet

I have always liked creating stuff, from Lego when I was a kid, to software solutions now.

I’ve learnt that I like it too much. The reason this is bad is that almost as soon as I start one thing I find another, even more exciting creative opportunity, normally before any decent results had started to appear.  As such, bouncing from one to another with zero accomplishments results in a feeling of disappointment and frustration.  My problem is not really poor discipline, but too much enthusiasm!  Anyway, enough moaning.

The one thing I have stuck to for a number of years is creating mosaics.  Not exactly a macho pursuit, however without natural talents in drawing or painting, or the patience to learn these properly, I stumbled across the idea of mosaics – making simple pictures using small tiles (or ‘tesserae’ to use their proper name).  I saw some great examples of what was possible and thought ‘how hard can it be’.

I find it interesting how Mosaic Art spans such a huge amount of time. Beginning all the way back in Greek and Roman times, and really flourishing in the Byzantine Empire.  As such we find it commonly used in important relics and artifacts, as well as in large churches and temples built throughout history (often using gold leaf tiles). Even contemporary art includes mosaics, with the most well know examples being in Gaudi’s Barcelona.

To keep things simple (and practical) so far I have only worked on mosaics on a board that can be hung on a wall (inside).  This is quite limited scope, since they are most commonly used as part of building or object decoration (beyond bathrooms) for both interior and exterior enjoyment.

Upon working on Mosaics, I began to learn that they work on several levels … which is kind of mindblowing stuff

  • Overall Impression – is it a picture of something or something more abstract… or something between the two?
  • Granularity – how detailed is it supposed to be (i.e. how big should the tiles be)?
  • Flows (known as the ‘Opus’)- in addition to representing something, how do the tiles flow within and around the objects.  There are standard patterns, however I like extending and customizing these.
  • Media – tiles come in many types; glass, stone, ceramic or anything in between.  Should these be mixed, and which type says what?
  • Grout – the space between the tiles is filled with grout, however this can be different colors, as well as the gaps can be different widths.

I found a great book that got me started, and featured many artists work for inspiration. I especially liked the work of Sonia King, whose mosaics appealed to me on many levels.

Here is my first attempt, using glass tiles I got from a company in a mixed bag, as I didn’t want to waste money on proper tiles.  And yes, as I wasn’t using a proper cutting tool at that point either my fingers got filled with glass shards – ouch.

First Attempt

The most exciting thing I found here was the ground under the tree.  Semi-deliberately I stuck the small tiles in rows, adding more and more rows to fill the area.  This formed a very interesting flow pattern that adds a great feeling of depth and texture to the earth, especially in contracts to the standard opus of the white background.

So I moved on and did a few more, but having run out of my first bag of tiles, I decided to change media a bit, as glass was a pain (literally), so looked for something softer and for a more contemporary mat finish.  I discovered someone who sold ceramic tiles and set to work on a larger mosaic for submission in a local exhibition that had an “Angels” theme to it.  I also wanted to try another idea that I had not seen used, 3-Dimension.

Katies Angel

As you can see, I went a bit crazy on the flow this time, but the body, head and wings have a slight raised feel, adding another concept that I think gives even more visual enjoyment.  It was accepted into the exhibition and I got some great feedback.  Enough to spur me on to the next project – my new babies room.

With my first child on the way, we were decorating her nursery and I offered to do a mosaic for the wall to match the existing decor.  It seemed a nice way to add something meaningful, and another interesting project for me.  With various time pressures, and the Angel haven taken 100’s hours, this time I went for something smaller and more simple to do.


Although this photo doesn’t show it the same bear was on the bed covers, curtains and lampshade (Mama&Papas).

I then decided doing pictures of things was not the way for me to go, and I just loved the flow and patterns so much more.  As such I ‘went abstract’ and the following is my favorite piece so far.

Abstract Lines

This contains a few media types (black glass, mirrors and ceramic) and was essentially an experiment in flow types (hence being so many).

Finally my most recent work was something for my daughters new bedroom, its was a quick project but actually its quite effective since it simplified to just two tile types, uncut, and uses simple grouping rather than flows.


I am currently working on a project similar to the abstract one above, but much larger, and that combines the most effective flows and patterns with the3-dimension concept from the Angel.

I’m planning a work-in-progress blog on this one next.

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