cover image Make Your Own Mosaics: Ancient Techniques to Contemporary Art

Make Your Own Mosaics: Ancient Techniques to Contemporary Art

Helen Miles. White Owl, $22.95 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-399-00635-4

Mosaic artist Miles debuts with a thorough exploration of mosaics and how to create them. Blending art history with practical instruction, Miles expounds on technique and chronicles the history of the craft from ancient Mesopotamia to the present, describing how ancient Romans depicted gods in tessellated stone and marble and how Christians in the early 400s installed mosaics in houses of worship to inspire awe. The author outlines design principles, noting that mosaics “achieve visual clarity” by juxtaposing contrasting colors and that the spaces in between pieces should be relatively uniform. Included among the projects are a stepping stone featuring orange and blue triangles, a scene depicting a green pear tree, and a piece made by pressing shells, sea glass, and other items found at the beach into paste. Miles writes for novices, detailing everything beginners need to know about tools (a utility knife and angled tweezers are “essential”), protective gear (safety glasses protect the eyes from stray shards while cutting tile), and applying grout (press it into the spaces between tiles and then gently scrub the mosaic’s surface clean with a damp sponge). The historical material highlights the rich tradition of the art form, and Miles’s comprehensive guidance ensures readers have all they need to get started. Crafters will want to check this out. (June)