Athens

Comprehensive guide to the mosaics of Greece.

Greece, Mosaics and Me, Part II: A guide to the mosaics of Greece.

Helen Miles Mosaics.
Nereid riding a sea centaur. Sparta Archaeological Museum, Greece. 3rd century AD. Photo: @Helen Miles Mosaics

I’ve left!

To mark the fact that my days of being permanently based in Athens have come to an end, my previous post was a personal story about my mosaic journey in Greece. As well as learning how to make mosaics there and practicing the art for over a decade, I also visited and explored as many mosaic sites as possible across the length of the country: ancient and modern, famous and obscure, well preserved and neglected.

Helen Miles Mosaics
Mantlepiece mosaic, Theodora (?), Candili, Evvia, Greece. Photo: @Helen Miles Mosaic

I know that there are many more sites left to see, particularly on the islands, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to visit them in the years to come, but meanwhile in Part II of this two-part series about Greece, Mosaics and Me, I have compiled a comprehensive guide to the mosaics of Greece for visitors and mosaic enthusiasts. Continue reading

Selling mosaics: a summer bazaar in Athens.

Me and my stall
Me and my stall

Selling mosaics: on the front line

Athens in June. Imagine it. Streets clogged with traffic and choked with exhaust fumes; endless blocks of high rise concrete apartments, shabby and peeling; the fierce summer sun bouncing off car bonnets; valiant geraniums in feta-tin pots providing brief glimpses of colour on balconies above shuttered shop fronts daubed with apathetic graffiti. Continue reading

A weekend of mosaics, Candili, Greece.

weekend of mosaics.
Group photo, Candili Mosaics Weekend. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

Here we all are! Who says you cant make mosaics in a swimming suit? It’s a new trend and thoroughly to be recommended.

weekend of mosaics
A young mosaic maker all set to go. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

Alison and I drove from Athens in a car heaving with marble and materials, not entirely sure how many people were going to join us for a weekend of mosaics  at Candili on the island of Evvia.  Three families were spending the weekend there with various offspring and relatives varying in age from five to seventy five but weekending in Candili with its lovely grounds, heavenly food, easy access to the beach and the constant appeal of a large pool surrounded by trees and tended lawns, is one thing. Spending hours hunched over a table painstakingly gluing bits of stone onto a board on a hot summer day, is quite another.

weekend of mosaics
Family fun making mosaics. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

So we set up our temporary studio in the Candili art room fully expecting the children to just pop in and then drift off. Sure enough, we had a handful of takers at the start of the day and we launched into design choices and basic cutting techniques quite content to concentrate our weekend of mosaics on a limited number while most of the children raced and frolicked outside. Twenty minutes or so passed and then one of the fathers hit upon a plan – he seized a rod of marble and a pair of nippers and headed for the pool and then, lo and behold, he returned shortly with a flock of young, eager mosaic makers.

weekend of mosaics
Finished mosaics laid out to dry. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

Luckily I had a brought a large stack of boards and we ended up with a grand total of sixteen finished 20cm by 20cm mosaics made from scratch and grouted and varnished to boot. I had pre-prepared a number of sized designs from Rosalind Wates’ The Mosaic Decorator’s Source Book which were popular with the children who variously chose a snail, a crab, a moor hen, a star fish, and a frog although 11-year-old Hector did an interesting black and white cartoon design, Hume opted for simple but effective Moroccan-style houses, George made a fabulous rocket with different shapes of stone, his 13-year-old older brother chose a self portrait with protruding teeth and young Alex (aged 6) made a mosaic replica of his favourite Eeyore soft toy complete with a ribbon on the end of its tail.

Here’s a picture of a row of boys absorbed in their work with Alison keeping a beady eye on them:

weekend of mosaics.
Alison Scourti directs the boys. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

At the same time, the adults set to work on their own designs which ranged from Bill’s unorthodox iphone mosaic using different coloured stones for the buttons, Meriel’s tortoise which bore an uncanny resemblance to the real thing, Anne’s beautifully proportioned hoopoe bird, Lia’s eye-catching leaf, while Jenny made one of Lawrence Payne’s little birds. The air of industrious concentration which filled the room was most impressive.

weekend of mosaics
Meriel and her turtles. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

Here’s Meriel with her mosaic and a real tortoise which Bill came across in the plunge pool as he headed out for a stroll and was mercifully able to rescue before it was too late: I kick myself for not taking photos of each mosaic with its maker but I was too engrossed in the excitement of the occasion to even think of it. Nevertheless, here are a selection of photos from the weekend.

Hard at work:

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Thinking about designs. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics.

Alison (on left) and me on Saturday afternoon with the mosaics before they were grouted:

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Helen and Alison with student’s work. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

Bill and his mother, Anne, grouting on Sunday morning:

weekend of mosaics.
Two generations grouting. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics

And a special mention goes to Johnnie who started the mosaic course a little later than the others after a hard morning playing tennis in Athens and who sat on to finish his crab well after his friends had left and then turned up again in the morning to grout it:

weekend of mosaics
Johnnie, aged 9, grouting. Photo: Helen Miles Mosaics