When in Montreal, do as … the Romans did (?)

Arriving in Montreal … the good ol’ Five Roses factory

I am in love. Mosaic love, that is. About a month ago, I took the train to Montreal for another Mosaikashop course, this one on Roman mosaics.

We each made our own 8″x8″ Roman-style mosaic using the indirect method (which I had never used before) and then cast the whole thing in concrete. I made sure to choose a simple design, just like I did last time, so that I could finish by Sunday.

For the tesserae, we used marble rods that we cut with a hammer and hardie (essentially a big chisel that you embed in a log, plus a sharp hammer). I immediately fell in love with the H&H. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it feels so hands-on. Not that other mosaic techniques don’t, but this was just … different. It was rugged. And organic. And because the tool hasn’t changed much since Roman times, I guess I felt like I was part of a tradition, which to me was pretty neat.

I can’t wait to do more marble work with my H&H. So many ideas percolating. But first, I need to find a log, ASAP! I also need to track down a steady (and ideally cheap) supply of marble. I thought I had it made when the local granite store owner told me I could raid his dumpster whenever I wanted, but it turns out that granite is too hard and will ruin my beloved H&H. Boo. So if anyone out there knows where to find cheap (or free!) marble offcuts in the Ottawa area, let me know!

Here it is! Cast in concrete, then grouted and waxed.

My new favourite tool: hammer and hardie

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Artist, know thyself | Red Squirrel Mosaics - July 14, 2012

    […] try new things. I have discovered that I love smalti and natural stone, especially when I use my hammer and hardie to cut it, but I have also discovered that I don’t particularly care for working with vitreous […]

  2. Artist, know thyself | Julie Sperling Mosaics - May 30, 2013

    […] try new things. I have discovered that I love smalti and natural stone, especially when I use my hammer and hardie to cut it, but I have also discovered that I don’t particularly care for working with vitreous […]

  3. Introducing Leonard the log! | julie sperling mosaics - May 30, 2013

    […] taking the introductory Roman mosaics class and falling hopelessly in love with the hammer and hardie, I immediately began my search for a log […]

  4. How to get the most out of a mosaic workshop | julie sperling mosaics - November 16, 2014

    […] first few classes I took were very project based and we were instructed to bring a design that we wanted to execute. I thought this was the norm, so […]

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