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The Craft Kit Blog

  • INDEX

    WHAT IS A MOSAIC
    HISTORY OF MOSAIC                                 

    BASIC MOSAIC INSTRUCTIONS
    TOOLS
    GLUE, GROUT AND PIGMENT

     

    TILES:

    SICIS                                   
    QUADRA                             
    WINCKELMANS                 
    SMALTI
    MILLEFIORI
    STAINED GLASS
    GLASS NUGGETS AND GEMS


    GALLERY

    HOME:

    FLOORS
    BATHROOMS
    WALLS
    TABLES

    CHAIRS
    WINDOWS
    MIRRORS
    CANDLE HOLDERS
    FRAMES
    DECO BALLS

    BOXES


    PROJECTS:

    SOCIAL SOFA
    THE 16TH AVENUE TILED STEPS PROJECT

  • What is a Mosaic

     

    As many of you already know, a mosaic is a pictorial composition made with fragments of material of different colours and nature (called tesserae). In the past people used to decorate objects and constructions using pebbles already coloured by nature and the tradition handed down to us mosaics often coated with gold and precious stones.

     

    Pella_House_atrium Pella House Atrium - Macedonia
    Sousse_neptune-3cent-ad Triumph of Neptune, III c. AD - Mosaïque d'Hadrumète (Sousse)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The term mosaic has uncertain origins. It may come from the Greek µουσαικόν (musaikòn) which means “patient work worthy of the Muses”, or from the Latin opus musivum which means “work of the Muses” although this referred also to the layer applied on the walls of the caves dedicated to the Muses, often made with pebbles and shells. Afterward the adjective musaicus began to denote the mosaic work itself.

     

    Roman-Bestiarii Bestiarii, Roman entertainments from the I century - Jamahiriya Museum, Tripoli.

    Someone suggests that the term mosaic would derive from the Arabic muzauwaq “decoration”, some other claims that it may be Semitic because the word recalls Moses. The truth is that none of the hypotheses can be fully supported.

  • History of Mosaic

     

    The first evidence of a mosaic dates back to the 3rd millennium BC in Mesopotamia and its main purpose was protecting floors and walls. A real use of mosaic as a form of art was made only in Roman times (IV-III c. BC), when the tesserae were introduced.

    Pergamonmuseum_Inanna Cone Mosaic Courtyard, III millennium BC - Uruk, Mesopotamia
    Deer_hunt_mosaic_from_Pella Detail of Greek Mosaic Floor, Deer Hunt, IV century BC - House of the Abduction of Helen, Pella (Greece).

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It belongs to this period the Beauty of Durrës (IV c. BC) in Albania, found by chance in 1916 during the First World War and now placed in the National Historical Museum of Tirana. A few decades later, when the Roman conquered Greek, that particular figural mosaic became popular thanks also to the experience of talented Greek craftsmen.

     

    Mosaic_of_The_Beauty_of_Durrës The Beauty of Durrës, IV century BC, Tirana (Albania)

    In these centuries, between the two main techniques for creating mosaics - the one with very small tesserae (opus vermiculatum) and the other one with larger tesserae (opus tessellatum) - a different peculiar style was present in Italy, the black and white mosaics. A good example is still visible to the public in the archaeological excavations of Pompei: the mosaic on the floor of the House of the Tragic Poet which is still reproduced and used nowadays as an ironic warning sign at the entrance of some houses to say "beware of the dog" (cave canem).

     

    Alexandermosaic- opus-vermiculatum Alexander Mosaic, Battle of Issus, I century BC - Example of Opus Vermiculatum - Naples National Archaeological Museum (Italy)
    Grifobitonto-opus-tessellatum Gryphon, Bitonto Cathedral (Italy) - Example of Opus Tessellatum.
    Cave-canem Cave canem - House of the Tragic Poet, Pompei (Italy) - Example of Black and White Mosaic

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In the late Roman Empire the mosaic was very appreciated, around IV century AD one of the currently most important mosaic sites in the world was build. Maybe seat of the self-proclaimed Roman emperor Massenzio, but more likely property of the then-governor of Sicily Lucio Populonio, the Villa Romana del Casale near Enna, is now under the aegis of UNESCO. It was discovered only in 1950 under a landslide and now it represents the largest collection of Roman mosaics ever known; one may have seen, for example, the famous Girls in Bikini, athletic women in the act of playing a different sport each.

     

    Villa_del_Casale_Girls_in_Bikini Girls in Bikini - Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily (Italy).
    Villa_Del_Casale_Char Winner of the Chariot Races, Circus Mosaic - Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily (Italy).

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The end of IV century saw also the division of the Roman Empire into the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, whose name recalls a unique style in the art of mosaic, indeed, the tiny polychrome glass tesserae became a fundamental tool to express the need of visual religious content. The prevailing characteristic of the Byzantine mosaic was a large use of gold background as well as of the light through which the artist showed their icons in an intangible world, almost two-dimensional, but very colourful. Beautiful examples in this sense are the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna (Italy) and the Hagia Sophia in Instambul.

     

    Basilica-san-Vitale-Ravenna Apse, Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy.
    Apse_mosaic_Hagia_Sophia_Virgin_and_Child The Virgin and Child, Apse of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Turkey).

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    From X to XII centuries, the typical fresco starts prevailing because cheaper than the tesserae, nevertheless the most important testimony to mosaic in the Middle Age is represented by the floor of the Cathedral of S. Maria Annunziata in Otranto (Italy), work ascribed to the Romanesque art, dominant in that period. This mosaic is a path through a theological labyrinth showing in its central part the tree of life along which the main representations take place (original sin, the expulsion of Adam and Eve etc.). The mosaic made by Pantaleone conveys a sense of horror vacui in the way every little space is filled with details and can be considered an encyclopaedia of Middle Age images.

     

    Otranto_cathedral_mosaic Detail of the Floor Mosaic, Cathedral of S. Maria Annunziata, Otranto (Italy).
    Mosaico_otranto Overall view of the Floor Mosaic, Cathedral of S. Maria Annunziata, Otranto (Italy).

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Interesting is also what happens in Sicily - where a peculiar Arab-Norman style plays a key role - and the importance of mosaic for the creation of fundamental works in the Holy Land by the Crusaders, although only a few parts of them still exist.

     

    Cappella_Palatina_Palermo Cappella Palatina, Palermo Sicily (Italy).
    Christ_after_death_Jerusalam Christ after Death - Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The period that sees the birth of the Renaissance and of the Baroque (1500-1600) marks also a loss of interest in the mosaic art which, having a great durability, becomes just subjected to the pictorial work. Magnificent examples can still be found in the Chigi Chapel, Rome - which protects the Creation of the World, designed by Raffael - and in St. Peter's Basilica.

     

    Raffaello_Sanzio_Dome_of_the_Chigi_Chapel Dome of the Chigi Chapel, Raffaello Sanzio - Rome (Italy).
    Vaticano_cupola Dome of Saint Peter's, Vatican City State

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Only at the end of XIX and the beginning of XX century there is a rebirth of mosaic, especially through two different art movements: Impressionism and Divisionism, which characteristics implies the fragmentation of colours. Later on, the Art Nouveau and Art Deco make again this art a starting point for new techniques and styles, see the Sagrada Familia of Gaudì and the work of Klimt, who was fascinated by the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna (which clearly influenced his works) but also the famous lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

     

    Sagrada-familia Sagrada Família - Towers from the Nativity's façade, Barcelona (Spain)
    The_Kiss_Gustav_Klimt The Kiss - Gustav Klimt

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Today the mosaic is an art that still attracts attention and interest all over the world, in many ways it lends itself to new forms showing all the potential these little tiles, pebbles and beads are filled with.

    In Ravenna an updated archive (Databank Mosaicisti Contemporanei) has been created to collect as many contemporary mosaic artists as possible so that any kind of information, pictures and workshops can be accessible to all.

  • Basic Mosaic Instructions

    Making mosaic art is simple and fun.

     

    The easiest method is the direct method. Below we give some pointers on how to start your first project for an indoor mosaic in a dry area.

     

    We highly recommend that you attend a workshop, course or demonstration to get the most out of your mosaic experience but in the event that it is not possible this guide below may be of general help.

    The Direct Method

     

    1. Design for project: Where to start? Take a look around you or on the Internet for a motif or color composition that appeals to you. Do you have a favorite thing? Butterflies, people, mandalas or rainbows. Or a favorite artist? Monet, Picasso or Gaudi. Look for inspiration in things that already appeal to you and think of how you can interpret this 'look' into a mosaic. Perhaps it will make a great mirror, dish, vase or mural or mosaic backsplash. Try to print, draw or copy the design out into a realistic size for the base you will use. Excel is a great tool for this!

    2. Simplify the design into easy to create parts and make a "cartoon" (this is a basic outline) on the surface you will mosaic. You can even color it in using magic markers or water-based paints to create an easy to follow guide.

    3. Now comes the exciting part...choosing the mosaic tiles or tesserae as they are known in the mosaic world. There are literally thousands to choose from so the first step is to eliminate the mosaic tiles that are unsuitable for your project. Is your design small and precise? Choose small tiles that are easy to cut. Do you prefer irregular pieces rather than squares? Choose tiles that are flat on both sides so that they will not wiggle or tilt. Do you want texture? Then mix the thicknesses and finishes of the mosaic tiles. Do you want a classic or modern look? Try to think about your project in detail before your first purchase and you will have much less waste but of course it is also possible that your taste and preferences will evolve organically through the mosaic process.

    4. There is a simple rule in carpentry, measure twice, cut once. In Mosaic it would be cut first, glue last. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to cut and lay your mosaic tile first over a specific area before starting to glue. Our other recommendations are always start with the foreground and the frame or outer edge, leaving the back ground to the end. This will give you the most 'professional' finish on your mosaic project. In the beginning you will want to glue each tesserae one by one but as you become more experienced it is possible to spread the glue over a small designated area (start with small area and increase this slowly as you find your comfort level) and then you can stick your pre-cut mosaic tiles accurately. Remember to leave a space of no less than 2mm or 1/8th inch if you are going to grout your mosaic artwork. Walk away often from your mosaic and approach it with 'fresh' eyes to see how it is progressing...

    5) Next comes a less fun step...grouting. Grouting is a matter of personal choice...it does strengthen the mosaic but it can also dull or detract from the pattern that you have created in mosaic tile. First wait for a minimum of 12 hours before you grout unless you are using an 'instant' glue. Think carefully about the color of your grout. We have a rule of thumb that we use to help our clients choose. If you are using dark or bright colors choose a darker grout such as chocolate brown, anthracite or black. If you are using pastel or light colors normally white, cream or silver grout is more appropriate. Of course you can also choose to use a statement color for grouting but test a small area first! We recommend un-sanded grout as this prevents scratching of your mosaic tile and also fills smaller grout spaces better. Mapei is our first choice but Laticrete and Eurocol are both excellent products. Follow the manufacturers instructions always as they know the specific properties of their products.

    6) The final step is to clean and mount your mosaic artwork. Always buff away excess grout using old clean cloths such a sheets or t-shirts, the first clean up should be roughly 10-15minutes after applying the grout. We find that dry works best to start and then use a damp (NOT WET) cloth as the grout gets drier. To remove any haze use white vinegar or glass cleaning product. Excess patches or lumps of grout can be removed while soft with a small pick or or spatula. If it is dry then it will need more elbow grease! Grout hardens very quickly so this step needs constant monitoring....

    If you are attempting a very large project consider working on mesh first, cutting the larger mosaic into several interlocking pieces and then installing these on your prepared surface. Try to cut the pieces small enough to be maneuvered easily roughly 12inches square.

    Here are the steps for working on mesh.

    1) Prepare a large horizontal surface that can accommodate your entire design. It must be level and free of debris.

    2) Place your cartoon onto the surface and secure using clear packing tape around the edges so that it does not move.

    3) Place a sheet of transparent plastic over your design cartoon. Secure with clear packing tape around the edges.

    4) Place the mesh on your design and align so that the complete design is directly below and visible. Secure the mesh with push pins, tape or spring clips.

    5) Glue your mosaic tile tesserae to the mesh using hobby glue (do not use Weldbond as this dries too quickly making it very hard to remove a 'mistake'), We recommend our Mosaic Trader PVA which is specifically formulated to catalyze to permanence more slowly thereby allowing a longer window for adjustment.

    6) Wait 24 hours and using a stanley knife divide your mosaic along natural (not straight) contours within your design using the 12 in square rule of thumb. As you get more experienced you will be able to handle larger sections

    7) Prepare your surface with the correct glue and apply the pre-cut sections directly. To prevent vertical slippage please use a mortar, gel or paste glue NOT a liquid...

    8) Wait 24 hours before grouting and cleaning.

    9) Remember to stand back and admire your mosaic art work.

    Please remember that making mosaics involves small, sharp pieces of mosaic tile and that safety glasses, long sleeved clothing and gloves should be worn to protect your eyes and skin from laceration. We in no way take responsibility for any damage or injury caused. This information is not a replacement for manufacturer's recommendations or standard safety practices.

  • Tools

     

    Dealing with mosaic means also being able to use a set of tools, each with a peculiar purpose, so that your works can be exactly like you desire. Here is a selection of the best tools on the international market for hobby and professional mosaic artists.

     

    Mosaic Cutters and Nippers

    SIDEBITER

    This is a basic sidebiter, it is good for most mosaic tiles but needs more practice than the wheeled nipper.

     

    TILE CUTTER 340MM

    We believe that this is the best value tile cutter on the market... Excellent for glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles up to 30cm long. The cutting wheel is hardened steel and scores glazed surfaces easily. This tool has the leverage to handle tiles of up to 10mm thick.

     

    TRADITIONAL HAMMER

    With an arc shape this hammer is useful for breaking large soft tiles into random pieces. It can be used especially for marble and stone, but it is not recommended for smalti and glass tesserae.

     

     

    POINT HAMMER

    The point hammer has a sharp end on one side and is flat on the other side, useful for breaking large soft tiles or glass into random pieces.

     

    PARROTBEAK NIPPER

    This nipper with such a curious look helps the artist to nibble and shape ceramic tile in small intricate pieces such as circles or half moons.

     

     

    SCORE AND SNAP MOSAIC NIPPER

    Only for ceramic tiles or stained glass, this tool can be used to score the tile and cut it perfectly there where the line is. It is not recommended for glass mosaic tile.

     

    MINI TILE CUTTER

    Easy to use tabletop scoring and snapping machine. Excellent for glazed ceramic tiles, floor tiles and glass larger than 5x5 and 3.5 mm thick.

     

    RUBI PORCELAIN WHEELED CUTTERS

    This is a professional tool especially designed for working with floor and hardened porcelain. It can also be used on natural stone and marble. The wheels are angled and made from tungsten carbide steel for a better leverage and cutting.

     

    RUBI SIDEBITER

    Excellent professional sidebiter for ceramic and porcelain.

     

    LEPONITT WHEELED NIPPERS

    This is the best glass mosaic tile cutter on the market, easy to use and precise. A must have for every professional mosaic artist. You can find in our store also the replacement wheels.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    WHEELED NIPPER

    Here is a generic copy of the much loved Leponitt Nipper. It is lighter weight and has steel blades that can be replaced with the Leponitt replacement wheels or the generic ones. If you are a hobbyist, this nipper can be a good start point at a moderate price.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    TRADITIONAL HARDIE

    The traditional hardie is a steel tool which on one side is like a chisel and on the other side has a wedge. It is very useful for breaking stone, marble, smalti and glass tesserae. It should be fixed on a wooden stand or something similar to be used.

     

    Glass Tools and Safety Equipment

     

    LEPONITT HEAVY DUTY RUNNING PLIER

    The Heavy Duty Running Plier is necessary for cutting Emaux de Smalti and thicker plates of glass. Once the item is scored it can be easily opened and the screw can be calibrate on the right thickness.

     

    GLASS CUTTER

    This wooden handle cutter has a 5-wheeled head for scoring stained glass and mirror into the desired shapes.

     

    OIL FILLED GLASS CUTTER

    Precise cutting and easy to use on all types of stained glass and mirror, this cutter can be filled with turpentine or sewing machine oil.

    SILBERSCHNITT GLASS SYSTEM

    This tool is for large scale cutting of straight and circular glass pieces, equipped with a rubber mat it is precise and easy to use on all types of stained glass and mirror.

     

    BLUE RUNNER

    The Blue Runner can be used only for stained glass and mirror sheets. Once the glass is scored this tool helps shaping stained glass into straight edged pieces. Not recommended for use on mosaic tile.

     

    GROZING PLIER

    To be used in combination with a glass cutter for shaping stained glass into small curved pieces. Not for use on porcelain, ceramic or glass mosaic.

     

    SAFETY GLASSES

    If you love your eyes then please wear safety glasses while cutting. Ours can even be worn over reading glasses and are clear top, bottom and sides as well as the lenses to let the light in.

     

    KAUFMAN PROFESSIONAL TILE CUTTER

    This sidebiter is made with a heavy cold rolled steel and has carbon fiber tips.

     

    TILE GRIDS

    There are different sizes for creating jumbled or patterned sheets of mosaic:

    TILE GRID 1X1CM, it holds 29 x 29 = 841 tiles

    TILE GRID 1.5X1.5CM, it holds 20 x 20 = 400 tiles

    TILE GRID 2X2CM, it holds 25 x 25 = 225 tiles

    TILE GRID 2.5X2.5CM, This grid can be used to make sheets using Pate de Verre or other loose 1 inch or 2.5 cm tiles. Holds 13 x 13 = 169 tiles

     

    Miscellaneus

     

    DOUBLE-SIDED SPATULA

    Useful for spreading adhesive, removing incorrectly placed pieces or cleaning grout lines.

     

    DOUBLE-SIDED SPONGE

    Very useful for cleaning 2D and 3D mosaic projects that are up to 1 m² in size. The hard side of the sponge is made from reinforced plastic to remove stubborn grout buildup without damaging the surface of your tiles and the soft absorbent side will pick up the softer grout and efflorescence. Dampen with plain water for cleaning unset grout and use a diluted mix of white vinegar and water for the final clean once the grout has hardened.

     

    ADHESIVE MULTI COMB

    Excellent multi purpose tool for adhesive, grout and silicon application and finishing.

     

    GIRLZ TZEEZERS 12CM

    Cute as a button our girlz tweezers make picking up those tiny bits a pleasure!

     

    GLUE REMOVER

    Removes excess glue from your finished mosaic.

     

    FIBRE GLASS MESH

    Strong fibre-glass mesh for mounting mosaics, suitable for all types of tile. To adhere mosaic to mesh we suggest PVA glue. The roll is 100m long and 100cm wide and lengths will be cut from 1m up.

     

    SYRINGE FOR GLUE

    Work with glue more precisely with this handy syringe.

     

    GRINDING STONE

    You can use it to remove sharp dangerous edges of mosaic pieces or to smooth shapes such as circles and curves.

     

    GROUT CUP

    Soft sided mixing container for grout. After grouting leave the excess grout in the cup to harden and later you can simply squeeze the cup to dispose of the hardened grout in the trash. This will prevent any build up in your plumbing!

     

    GROUT SPREADER

    Handy for spreading grout over a mosaic without getting your hands dirty. Can be washed and reused as often as needed. If grout dries on the rubber simply bend to crumble and remove. Wipe or soak with white vinegar to remove any grout residue.

     

    MOSAIC TWEEZERS

    Perfect tool for picking up those tiny pieces, especially when they are covered in glue!

     

    GLUE SPREADER

    Handy for spreading glue over a mosaic base without getting your hands dirty or applying glue to individual tesserae. Can be washed and reused as often as needed.

  • Glue, Grout and Pigment

    During our long experience in the field of mosaics we have tried a lot of glues and grouts, now we are glad to share what we have learnt offering you the best products on the market.

    GLUE

    Catalysing PVA Glue: This easy to use, non-toxic, child friendly adhesive is ideal for indoor and outdoor mosaic projects on all porous surfaces. Thicker and quicker drying than regular PVA, this is an industrial composition that dries transparent. You can use it as a lacquer or sealant by diluting 1 part PVA to 4 parts water/alcohol so it penetrates surfaces more easily. It is water-soluble when wet but water-fast when dry.

     

     Multipurpose Poly Glue: Parabond is our number 1 glue choice for all hobby and small mosaics both inside and outside. Depending on your project you can use the Parabond Transparent Glue which is slow drying, non-toxic and has no vertical slippage. This is perfect for glass on glass work but also for bonding glass or ceramic tile to any non porous surface, it dries watertight and is flexible.

    Parabond-transparent-glue-cylinder-290ml Parabond Transparent Glue

    Otherwise for floors, heavy traffic, weight bearing mosaics, stepping stones, fish ponds, mosaic rugs and more, you can choose Parabond 600. It dries hard and fast with no movement that could result in cracks or damage to your mosaic. This white glue is super strong and permanent, perfect for bonding glass or ceramic tile to any non porous surface. It dries watertight and flexible and is suitable for outdoor use.

    parabond_600_white-glue-cylinder-290ml Parabond - White Glue

    Adesilex P10: White, cementitious adhesive from Mapei. The first choice for indoor and outdoor glass mosaic. When combined with Isolastic for wet areas such as bathrooms or swimming pools, it enhances waterfastness and flexibility. It is not suitable for flexible or wood surfaces but it may be used as a filler or applied over existing tile works.

    Adesilex-P10-mapei Adesilex P10 - Mapei

    Ultramastic Tile Paste: White premixed tile paste for ceramic or mixed media mosaic from Mapei. It dries extremely hard and can be used inside and outside. Water-soluble when wet but 100% waterfast when dry. Ideal for use on porous surfaces such as wood.

    Ultramastic-ceramic-tile-paste-mapei Ultramastic -Mapei

     

    GROUT:

    Mapei Ultracolor-plus Grout

    There is only one all purpose grout for mosaic as far as we are concerned and that is Ultracolor Plus by Mapei. Mapei is the market leader and is recommended by all top mosaic tile producers such as Sicis. Ultracolor is an ultra premium, fast-setting, polymer-modified, color-consistent, non-shrinking, efflorescence-free grout that can be used in joint widths from 2mm to 20mm. It has no sand, this prevents scratching of delicate finishes. Moreover this malleable, flexible, quick drying and hard-as-nails grout is especially designed with BioBlock technology to prevent growth of mold.

    To personalise your grout we recommend using a dry mineral powder that delivers colour in concentrated form. This pigment must be used sparingly (5% or less of dry weight) in order not to compromise the strength of the grout as this may lead to cracking and crumbling. Just sift dry pigment and grout together thoroughly before adding water to ensure a consistent mix, it is suitable for indoors and outdoors.

  • SICIS

    SEE SICIS

     

    Sicis is an Italian mosaic company born in 1987 thanks to the enthusiasm of its founder Maurizio Leo Placuzzi. The name comes from the acronym Sic Immensos Clarosque Inceptos Somniavi (“So I dreamed of grandiose and renowned ventures”)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The company has accumulated a big know-how in terms of style, technologies and materials and is considered the most luxurious mosaic supplier in the world. Sicis patented the Double Indirect Method, which implies the placement of the tiles upwards, usually on an adhesive surface. When the composition has been made the same kind of adhesive layer is positioned on it, while the one underlying can be removed. Once the mosaic is in place, it can be installed on the desired surface.

     

    savoirfaire-sicis

     

    Sicis is also a full service Mosaic Art Company with skilled artists and designers creating ready to install mosaic. From the micro mosaic collection of watches to the micro mosaic jewelry, the typical Italian craftsmanship shines through every tesserae.

     

    Skull-Watch-sicis Memento Mori, Watch

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    SEE SICIS

     

  • Quadra

     

    SEE QUADRA

     

    Quadra is a line of glass mosaic tiles designed and selected in Europe and then carefully crafted in 5 specially chosen factories in China. It is widely sold under private label programs throughout Europe and North America.

     

     

    In the last 3 years major investments in tile technology and more attention have been concentrated on creating a quality mosaic product at affordable prices, this makes the Asian tiles the best value on the market.

    New international trends in tile decor are incorporated into a strong traditional core of glass mosaic products.

     

     

    We have invested in quality assurance by hiring an independent adviser who checks the finished tile to make sure that it matches Quadra's quality criteria and expectations. Although glass mosaic by nature defies total standardisation.

     

    SEE QUADRA

  • Winckelmans

     

    SEE WINKELMANS

     

    The company was founded in 1867 in France by Théophile Winckelmans and originally dealt with stoneware. In 1894 the current manufacturing process began, the same that has made Winckelmans synonymous with quality worldwide.

     

    path-winckelmans Private Way, Tottenham Design with Norwood Border
    Piscine-winckelmans Jacuzzi, Octagons 15 cm with Super White and Pale Blue Dots

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



    Classic French quarry tile and porcelain of the finest quality, the Winckelmans porcelain range has 36 colours that mimic the natural beauty of stone. They are suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The production plant in Lille, France, manufactures over 600,000 square metres of tiles each year. They can even be admired on many beautiful buildings.

     

    SEE WINKELMANS

     

     

  • Smalti

    SEE SMALTI

     

    Smalti, the word conjures up the jealously guarded secrets of Murano where the recipes were protected by a death threat. The master glassmaker would pay the ultimate price if he divulged the formulae of the coveted Murano Smalti. Times have changed but still the feuds and jealousies of the 3 major smalti manufacturers continue. Today two may still be found behind the high bricked walls of Murano but one has migrated to the tranquil northern Italian town of Spilimbergo, a branch of the Dona family where father, son and daughter continue the traditional skills of their forefathers.

    This small intimate foundry supplies us with over 100 colours of smalti of exceptional quality and brilliance of cut. The best known manufacturer is undoubtedly Orsoni and it is to them we must turn for their famous Gold and Veneziano smalti. To hold smalti in your hand is to step into the marvelous and intriguing ancient world of mosaic and experience the beauty that this product delivers to both amateurs and experienced mosaic artists.

    The meaning of the word Smalti is well explained by the definition given by Orsoni:

    “In the world of mosaic smalto stands for particularly brilliant, completely opaque, usually prepared by adding crystalline material (corpo) and coloured material (anima) to the colourless or coloured fused glass. These smalti provide a vast range of shades (several thousands) with obvious advantages over the few dozen hues of glass pastes. The term smalto is also incorrectly used to describe metal-leaf mosaic tesserae. In general glassmaking it stands for enamel, that is an intensely coloured low-melting (i.e. it softens before the support material) usually opaque (but also translucent or transparent) glass used in decoration or to clad gold silver or copper objects as well as blown glass and ceramic.”

    If we think that Orsoni took part in the Great Exhibition in 1889 (when also the Eiffel Tower was presented to the public) bringing a mosaic panel with many different coloured smalti and showing new techniques to be applied in a sector which looked still, we can understand the enormous success of a product that even nowadays has such a recognized reputation.

     

    Orsoni-libreria-smalti Tesserae Panel Displayed in the Great Exibition of 1889, Paris

    The Smalti tile recalls the famous Constantinople mosaic art in the Byzantine age - with its typical gold leaf - as well as the craftsmanship of Murano; the hot furnace at 1300 °C melts the white paste which is mixed with a few different colours by expert and skillful glassmakers, creating like magic a myriad of unique hues and shades. From the mixture a slab comes out which slowly reaches room temperature and can be consequently cut.

     

    Orsoni-melted-glass-smalti Orsoni, Melted Glass

    Something similarly fascinating happens for the production of the gold tesserae, the mosaic par excellence. This kind of tile has a 24 carat gold leaf between two layers of glass and inevitably reminds us of the beautiful ancient buildings around the world.

     

     

    Mosaic Trader recognizes the high quality of Italian smalti and knows perfectly the value of such a tradition which can be generously admired in many important places like the Sacré Cœur Basilica in Paris, Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, San Marco in Venice and many more.

     

    SEE SMALTI

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