stone mosaics

Andamento: an old subject with a new twist.

Andamento is the visual flow and direction within a mosaic produced by the placement of rows of tesserae. (From: 

Leaves and fruit. Photo and mosaic: @Helen Miles Mosaics
Andamento – time for an update.
Infilling detail. Photo and mosaic: @Helen Miles Mosaics

You might be forgiven for thinking that I am a bit of a traditionalist. Modern mosaics inspired by ancient designs has a distinctly tweed coat and brogues ring to it. And then there all my blog posts about ancient mosaics and precious few about their modern equivalents so really I wouldn’t blame you for being convinced that I wear knitted cardigans and have a deep fondness for Anita Brookner novels. But buried within this buttoned-up exterior lurks the heart of a rebel and when it comes to the subject of andamento in mosaics that rebel is chafing to get out.

Cockerel. Photo and mosaic: @Helen Miles Mosaics


My andamento rebellion is one of those quiet ones that disgruntled children excel at. Not saying anything, perhaps. No screaming and slamming doors, maybe. But a pervasive presence and a body language that’s as clear as a siren that says whatever you have decreed is not well received and will just not do. You might not be able to see me but my arms are crossed across my chest, my shoulders are hunched and my bottom lip is protuding all because I feel that the opus-sayers, the shadowy figures who decide what is an opus and what is not, have apparently checked out and forgotten to turn off the lights.

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The Lod Roman Mosaic

Lod mosaic, rock partridge and chicks.
Lod mosaic, rock partridge and chicks.

The Lod Roman mosaic – on tour

The Lod Roman Mosaic is on display at Waddesdon Manor until November 2, 2014.

Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and if it involves driving half way across England to see a Roman mosaic, then so be it. The Lod Roman mosaic is currently exhibiting at Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury and since it usually lives near Tel Aviv, in Israel, and my chances of going to see it there are virtually zero, then desperate measures had to be taken. I was staying with a friend in Bristol who more than kindly, recklessly perhaps, offered to drive me over to see the mosaic and we set off on a clear blue summer day on what was meant to be a jolly jaunt with maybe a pub lunch and a leisurely stroll in the gardens thrown in. Continue reading