For Patti, who has always wanted to make a mosaic.

I always complain about not having enough space. The garage and my outdoor workspace are overflowing with stuff. My stuff. My mosaic stuff. Everything is covered with dust and cobwebs. I love it. It is a magical space full of wonder. Perhaps my affinity for tiles is instinctual, in my genes. My father was a builder in his youth. He loved concrete and his concreting skills were in high demand for major commercial builds. Funnily enough, my brother is now a tiler, a trade he came to later in life.

There are so many materials that can be used to make mosaic art: ceramic or glass tiles, smalti (beautiful glass tessarae), and stone. I prefer to work with ceramic rather than glass tiles. When I first started mosaicing, I was always worried about my dogs bursting into my studio and cutting themselves on stray glass shards. Ceramic shards can slice too, but there is less potential for canine disaster, at least in my opinion. Still, I would be happy to compromise on my principles and build a lock-up workspace if I could afford smalti. Smalti is SO expensive, so I make do with ceramic tiles. My children will be having a massive tile sale when I drop off my perch. Here is some of my tile collection.

Many professional tilers and those who do large mosaic installations use electric tile cutters (eg. wet saws), but I don’t. My mosaic projects are only small and, in any case, I would be worried about cutting my fingers off, so I stick with manual tile cutters. That way I only cut a chunk of finger off, not the whole finger. Tools I use include various tile nippers/tile nibblers, a glass tile cutter, tile snapper, tile scorer, file, small sharp knife (for removing grout). I never smash tiles. I always cut them by hand. This process is rather random and the shapes achieved can be very organic.

I use Weldbond as a tile adhesive. It is great for small, delicate projects where only a small amount of adhesive is needed at any one time. Weldbond doesn’t smell so you don’t end up with an epoxy headache. However, it is not suitable for projects, like birdbaths, where the tiles will be immersed in water. A dust mask is a must for mixing grout. You don’t want to end up with silicosis.

I’ve got two drawings on the tile board ready to go. This is an improvement for me on the same time last year. I see that the temperature is forecast to reach 18c degrees next week! Spring has sprung. That is perfect mosaicing weather.

This is my hurried response to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Everyday Objects. It is not really a photo response. I didn’t have time to get all arty.

There are a multitude of mosaic tutorials (not by me) on a certain video streaming channel for those that are interested. Many examples of my mosaic art are included elsewhere on my blog.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

58 thoughts on “Everyday Mosaic Supplies

  1. How do I love this? Let me count the way. Oh, Tracy–this is wonderful. I love being able to peek into an artist’s studio and yours is amazing. I am in awe of all those tiles–fabulous. Silly me–I thought you smashed the tiles to get all those little shapes. I know nothing about mosaics, only that they are lovely to look at and I marvel at the tremendous amount of work involved in making them. I have a whole new appreciation now.

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  2. I love that you dedicated this post to me, Tracy! I’m delighted to learn more of your process. It’s wonderful that you have your own work space which is truly a creative haven. I loved the glimpse into creating mosaics. When I have more space, I’d love to do this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought your challenge was a good opportunity to provide you with some details on the tools, Patti. Of course you don’t need that many tiles when you start off! It is messy work and does require a reasonable amount of space. Doing a workshop or two avoids that problem. πŸ™‚

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  3. Ah, Tracy, what a gift this is! *adding this page to my bookmarks* Adding this practical insight and explaining the tools and processes to such a magical (to me) creative path at exactly the moment when I am looking at my own concrete action steps to reach my goals–that, my dear, classifies you as a miracle worker today. You’ve given me such clarity and inspiration! Woohoo!

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  4. Hello Tracy;
    Interesting glimpse into your tile storage. Tools, I love tools but as you say watch your pinkies. Thank you for you insights into mosaics. May I offer a suggestion for sonic Friday? It’s two songs by Blue Rodeo, β€œTry” and β€œ Lost together.” YouTube. Not sure if Blue Rodeo is know in your neck of the woods but in Canada, they get a great deal of AirPlay.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Tracy;
        Glad you liked Blue Radio. Our radio stations must play a percentage of Canadian content on the radio(Cancon) to give Canadian Bands some airplay much to chagrin of radio programmes. But this Cancon policy has worked hence Blue Rodeo’s success. My health remains good. How are you and your family doing?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Local content provisions can be very worthwhile.
        Good to hear that you are well. We are all well here, except for my True Love who has torn a ligament and hasn’t been able to walk for three weeks. It is pretty awful for him not to be able to get away from the rest of us and very disheartening for him when we leave him to do the fun stuff.

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  5. This is so cool Tracy. I know almost nothing about mosaics (except that I often love the results), so it’s wonderful to get a glimpse into your work space and process. And seeing your tile stash makes me feel so much better about the drawers full of fabric; the cupboard of paints, polymer clay, beads, etc; the silkscreens under the spare bed β€” oh, and the alcohol inks I ordered yesterday πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚

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      1. I definitely know what you mean. I started a project a month ago, but the heat has been so oppressive, and we have no air conditioning, that I can’t work on it. My arm sticks to the paper I’m painting. At least, that’s my excuse. It’s fun to hear you talk of the first signs of spring – we’re looking forward to autumn, though it’s likely to be just as hot.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow1 I’m amazed by how many tiles you have in that second image. It all looks so orderly and must make it easy to find the colour you want.

    Myself, I couldn’t handle the spiderwebs and dust, but I do admire your obvious dedication to the craft.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think it looks messy at all, Tracy! You orderly person…you should see my desk! I would love to see all your works and I would love to see the whole of your studio – hopefully you will let us in again?!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great information here Tracy, for those wanting to have a go at mosaicing.
    I have had some bad cuts from unfinished ceramic surfaces (never attempt to clear a blocked sink overflow with a finger – the back is often sharp and unglazed!).
    Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Have you ever been to Thailand? If not, then don’t come, they cut tiles with electric saws and it’s the worst most chilling grating noise you’ll ever hear. Naturally, they don’t wear protective eye wear or ear plugs. They also don’t leave the construction site or use sidewalks for their cutting to give the rest of the world an earful, too. Can you tell that I hate it?

    Once I saw someone with a tile snapper (??) and my mind screamed. I knew there was a quieter way to do this!!!

    Nice collection by the way… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So cool to learn more about your mosaicing, Tracy! Always a treat to peek behind the curtains. πŸ˜‰ I admit I also thought you’d just smash them and hope for the best. πŸ˜‚ Can’t wait to see your new artworks! 😍

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