A time for tesserae

January 31, 2011

Mosaics have long been on my ‘learn to do’ list. Images of amazing walls and floors in Roman and Moorish and many other buildings, and Gaudi’s wondrous works in Spain have fed my longing to travel to places far away from here.

When I was in my teens, Dad made a large table for the verandah. It was a triangle, equilateral, and it weighed a ton – he always made things to last. It was a bit high to sit at – I recall having to stretch up to lean on my elbows. (Perhaps that was before the growth spurt that grew me into maybe the tallest girl in my class.)

The top of this table was to be covered with ceramic tiles, so a design had to be developed and I was called in to help. These were my favorite times with Dad – creative collaboration. We also chose the wallpaper for the house, a dubious claim to fame despite the gameness of the choice – it was the seventies.

Several possibilities were drawn up – geometry at its finest – coloured pencil triangles on thin white paper.

triangles group of 5 smalltriangles 5 6 smalltriangles 12 smalltriangles 3 4 small

And finally we chose one of them.

triangles 7 small

It had the required symmetry, it had intrigue, and it was enough of a challenge to warrant the work ahead. I don’t remember helping with the actual construction however – Dad was a perfectionist.

So, a couple of months ago when my friend invited me to a mosaic workshop, I became very excited, and found 2 small books that I bought many years ago, and read them again, this time knowing that I would actually be applying what I read. Here’s what happened last week. I’ve yet to apply the grout and I’m hoping it’ll be beetroot red.

Copy of mosaic Jan11 ungrouted

It has the required degree of wonkiness, no intrigue, and for a first attempt it was just challenging enough to be fun.