Bilberry Flowers
Bilberry flowers (Glass tiles)

Low tide
Low tide (mosaic and painted collage)

What is mosaic?

A Mosaic is a piece of art - picture or design - constructed from small discrete pieces, normally in a durable material such as stone glass or ceramic. Historically mosaics have been used in many civilisations to decorate walls and floors in public and private buildings - there are many Greek Roman Byzantine and Islamic examples. Roman mosaics used mainly cut marble and stone pieces or 'tesserae'; Byzantine mosaics often used smalti, a dense intensely pigmented glass.

Mosaic materials

The choice of materials in mosaic is important. Each material has its own particular characteristics: surface - rough/smooth, shiny/dull - workability and range of colour; the mosaicist has to work within these limitations. Traditional materials include smalti, marble and other stones. There is also now a wide choice of glass and ceramic manufactured tiles suitable for mosaic.

Found items from countryside, river banks and beaches, or recycled objects such as pieces of discarded ceramic, can be used on their own or alongside traditional and manufactured items.

Mosaics may be entirely from traditional mosaic materials such as glass and smalti, using mosaic techniques derived from those used in surviving Roman and Byzantine wall and floor art, producing an even and beautifully patterned surface. You can see similar techniques in Catherine’s tile mosaics.

Some of Catherine’s mosaics explore the way the medium can be adapted when incorporating found objects, or use traditional materials in a non-traditional style and examples of these can be seen here in mixed media mosaics.

Other work combines mosaic techniques with painting. Catherine has used found materials from the local environment and recycled objects to evoke the atmosphere of a particular place in combination with painted collage, as in her Coastal Devon series.