Just an update on what's been happening with my mosaic class lately. After 36 hours I completed the first design I was working on. After it was done I took a sheet of canvas and glued it to the front of the mosaic with a special water-soluble glue. The canvas acts as a temporary mesh and holds the stones together in their correct places. Then I flipped the mosaic over and removed the clay that was holding the stones in place. This was done by scoring the damp clay, letting it dry and then breaking off the chunks. Then I used what looks like a metal toothpick to pick the clay away from the individual stones. That was a job....it took over an hour. But it needs to be done so that there is plenty of surface area for the cement to adhere to. Here you can see the finished mosaic with the canvas glued to it.
Next I made a frame for the mosaic. There is a thin sheet of plywood as a base, covered in a textured material to help the cement adhere to it. The cement will be poured in here and the mosaic set into the cement. Then the canvas will be removed.
In the meantime I have started another project. I decided to skip any further geometric designs and jump straight into portraits. Fabrizio (my instructor) and I both agree I am crazy. Here is a Madonna and Child I am doing. I began by blowing up a picture to the appropriate size. Then I traced it onto transparent paper. It took me over an hour just to do the tracing and then finish it in by hand. But it is making it a whole lot easier once I start laying stones because now I know just where they go. Fabrizio has been teaching me a lot about shading. One technique he's taught me is what would be roughly translated into English as the "technique of triangles". This involves using roughly a third more stones for each varying shade of color. I'm using about 9 different types of marble just for the face alone and three different colors of glass for the lips. For example going from lightest to darkest using five colors you would use 1 stone of the first color, 2 of the next, 3 of the next 5 of the next and 8 of the next. Basically it's creating triangular quantities of color. In straight courses it works really well.
This is a picture of the shards left over after a day's work. I keep the pieces for a while just in case I find any I can use.