Classical Mosaic Making at West Dean

February 16 -20, 2025 

To be informed when this workshop is available for booking please contact West Dean College

Join this four day course and delve deep into the world of classical mosaic making. This course is designed to give you the time to explore how to use the Roman principles which underly the making of a harmonious mosaic and to understand their relevance to contemporary mosaic work.

Suitable for all levels.

Description

Classical mosaic making is underpinned by the proper use of andamento, the visual flow or direction within a mosaic, produced by the placement of rows of tesserae. It’s an often-forgotten part of the art of mosaic but andamento, along with the use of the Roman rules, is a crucial tool to help you learn how to make harmonious mosaics.Classical mosaic making leaves

This four day course will give you a chance to take a deep dive into classical mosaic making and find out how to apply the rules to both traditional mosaics and contemporary work. It is suitable for all levels, but participants are advised to learn basic cutting techniques before attending.

The course begins with a short presentation, explaining the ideas that underpin the creation of a mosaic. You will then get familiar with the concept and practice of andamento and how to apply the classical rules through tessellated drawings and by working on several small sample pieces using the reverse method on paper. You will choose from a selection of pre-prepared templates and start your own 20cm square mosaic using glass and ceramic tiles, working directly on Wediboard.classical mosaic making work in progress

As you build up confidence with the classical techniques, you will explore how these ancient rules are relevant to contemporary mosaics. A second presentation will demonstrate the crossover between the two styles of work and go into greater depth about how to employ other aspects of mosaic, including spacing, cut, colour and tone to create interesting effects. You will complete and grout your first mosaic.

Mosaic dog tied to a tree
Student’s work. Classical Mosaic Making

By the end of the course, you will leave with a full understanding of how to harness the ancient rules to make striking mosaic designs. You will also know how to use two key methods for your future mosaic work, with an emphasis on creating mosaics which are suitable for all weather conditions.

Please note, on booking the course, you will be sent a set of classical templates to choose from.

Timetable (for 2024 three day course, the 2025 timetable will be slightly amended)

Arrival Day

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 – 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 – 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working – students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor’s permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am – 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This the West Dean timetable for short courses. There may be slight variations)

  • On this course, the College will supply some of the materials, including: all baseboards, glues and grout.

What students need to bring

  • Side biter nippers (these must have a spring), Leponitt wheeled nippers (if you are using glass), angled tweezers and a set of dental picks, which can be bought from mosaic suppliers. Failing that, a fine screwdriver.
  • Containers for your materials – separate containers (for example yoghurt pots and takeaway boxes) for the different colours are a good idea.
  • An apron or large shirt which you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • A small glue brush
  • An ordinary paint brush 2 and a half or 3 inches wide to sweep away shards
  • Black Sharpie – fine tip
  • A pencil, rubber and pencil sharpener
  • Please note: when booking the course, you will be sent a set of classical templates to choose from. Please bring the colours of mosaic tiles that would work best with your chosen design. Bringing your own materials will guarantee getting the materials you need. Remember that Winckelmans and vitreous glass tiles can be used together because they are both 4mm thick.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art and craft materials, including: general drawing materials, paper, brushes, etc.
  • Available from tutor:
  • A selection of Winckelmans unglazed ceramic and vitreous glass tiles. Please note, you are required to bring your own materials and the supplies that the tutor brings are a backup in case of shortage.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Please note: when booking the course you will be sent a set of classical templates to choose from. Please bring the colours of tiles that would work best with your chosen design. Bringing your own materials will guarantee getting the materials you need. Remember that Winckelmans and vitreous glass tiles can be used together because they are both 4mm thick.

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