9 Reasons Mosaic Art is Awesome November 16 2015

Ever since I was a child, I have been inspired by the huge variety, incredible durability, and awesome beauty of mosaic art. When I was young I believe it was the bright, colorful patterns that drew me in. As I became more mature, I began to appreciate the symbolism and storytelling that great mosaic artists incorporated into their work.


Outdoor Garden Mosaic

Now, as the owner and proprietor of Blackscape Outdoor Living, and as an artist active in the mosaic arts myself, I have developed great appreciation and reverence for the skill, craft, and artistry it takes to create each piece. Because the process of crafting each individual work of art is unique, every piece is different, expressing a different aspect of the creator’s personality, or telling its own tale.

Today, I would like to tell the tale of mosaic art itself.

What is Mosaic Art?

Mosaic is the decorative art of creating pictures and patterns on a surface by setting small colored pieces of glass, marble, or other materials -- called tesserae -- into a bed of cement, plaster or adhesive. I thought it would be fun to share a few details what I learned about mosaic art in form of an acrostic.

Mosaic Art: An Appreciative Acrostic

M – Mixed Medium: Mosaic is a mixed medium art form. A medium is what an artist uses to create his or her work. Painters use paint, sculptures usually use clay, welders use metal, musicians use instruments. Mosaic artists can use a combination of mediums such as glass, wood, metal, ceramic, textiles, to create their expressive art; thus, mixed medium.

O – Origin: The earliest known examples of mosaic art dates to 3rd millennium BC Mesopotamia. Mosaic art has been found throughout Greece and Rome in arts and crafts  from the 3rd and 4th centuries. In the 1920s, a discovery revealed that affluent 4th century Greeks crafted elaborate mosaic floors of black and white pebbles, in their lost city of Olynthus, near present day Olinthos.

S – Sensational Sites: Feel free to browse these resources for more information and photos related to the history and artistry of mosaics.

Santa Costanza and Santa Pudenziana, both from the 4th century, still exist.

St Peter's Basilica, 4th-century vaulted tomb with wall and ceiling mosaics that are given Christian interpretations.

St Aquilinus Chapel of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, executed in the late 4th and early 5th centuries depict Christ with the Apostles and the Abduction of Elijah.


The ceiling mosaic in the Baptistery of Neon, Ravenna

A – It’s Art: Art is creative, visual, emotional and technical. Mosaic art is typically seen as an applied and/or decorative art, which is the application and design of objects to make them aesthetically pleasing, or the design and manufacturing of beautiful objects that are also functional.

I - Inspirational: One of the most inspirational aspects of mosaic art is the fact that anyone can learn to do it. If you are so inspired, go to your local arts and craft store and buy a book on mosaics. Be inspired, collect your own materials or use prepackaged materials. To to a studio to learn from well-known or young aspiring artists. Creating mosaics is inspiring at any age, so go ahead! Get started and have fun.

C – Cool: Mosaic designers uses bits and pieces of stained glass, ceramic, opaque or shimmering glass, wood or metal of different that are different, colors, shapes, sizes and textures to create a cool piece of art.


Mosaic work studio

A - Art Nouveau: Art Nouveau was an applied and decorative art, popular between 1890 and 1910. It was characterized by its propensity for organic forms and nature-inspired curves, as well as the extensive incorporation of mosaics. Mosaic Art Nouveau pieces can be viewed at art galleries around the world.

R - Ravenna: During the 5th century AD Byzantine period, Ravenna, Italy leaped forward with radical new materials, techniques, and designs becoming the world center of Christian mosaic art. Mosaics in this era specialized in covering walls and ceilings with special glass and techniques to reflect light in the tiles. One of the most notable is The Basilica of San Vitale; today modern mosaics are still created in Ravenna.

T - Technology: Today, some “artists,” are attempting to replace hand-made human creativity with machines. Pending may be an apparatus that could scan an image, generate colors, score tiles, identify matching pieces and produce mosaic art, essentially removing the artist from the creative process. This technology could remove our ability to craft mosaics with our own hands; to see the paint, mold the clay or cut the glass. Sure, technology is efficient. It’s just not fun!