Well, the main thing of interest around here is that I've just started a mosaic class. I've always been fascinated by mosaics and found a great place to take a class. There's this elderly gentleman that has a studio right near St. Mary Major's. He's done work all over the world and specializes in restoring old mosaics here in Rome. I go to his studio twice a week for 3 hours each time. Today was my first class, which I enjoyed very much. I'm working on a project that's teaching me how to cut various types of stone and giving me lots of curves to work on. Here's the hammer and wedge I use to cut the stone. You hold the piece of stone on the wedge and hit it with the hammer to break it, and continue to break it until you have a piece the correct size.
In this picture you can see the project I'm working on, a twisted rope design. You nail a frame onto a piece of playwood and fill the frame with clay. Then you trace your design on paper and lay it on top of the clay. As you work on each color you cut the paper with an Xacto knife and push the stones or tesserae into the clay. The clay holds them in place until you're ready to grout the finished work.
This is what I completed after my first three hours. When I left, I sprayed the clay with water to keep it moist, and sprayed the frame with water to keep it from contracting and distorting the clay. Then I wrapped everything in wet newspaper and saran wrap, where it'll wait until Thursday when I return.