Tag Archives | Montreal

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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Montreal and mosaics: two things I love!

A few weeks ago I went to Montreal (a city that I absolutely adore) to take my first mosaic workshop at a great little studio called Mosaikashop. After years of just doing my own thing and only working in stained glass, I think I had kind of stagnated. So this workshop was exactly what I needed – new tools, materials, techniques, and ways of looking at and approaching my work.

It was kind of intense – I’m not sure I’ve ever worked that diligently on one piece in such a concentrated time period. And my body (and mind) definitely felt it. I had a sore neck and shoulders, but worst of all was my hand. A whole day of cutting and nipping really took its toll! But being the resourceful girl that I am, I found a good way to ice it: holding a bowl of ice cream!

A scoop of salted caramel and one of balsamic vinegar are just what the doctor ordered!

Over the course of the weekend, I worked on an 8″x8″ mosaic, the design of my own choosing. I’m sure glad I chose a relatively simple design, otherwise there’s no way I ever would have finished! All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Sure, there are some things that I would fix, but for my first time working with tile and smalti, I think I did OK! Actually, based on this little mosaic, I think I’d like to work on a series of mosaics based on typography (this is just one of many ideas I have bouncing around in my head).

So, without further ado, here’s the finished product:

Everybody loves an ampersand

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