|Would it be considered gauche to call
someone a scrounger or a plate stealer? In polite company,
perhaps, but among mosaicists you would likely engage a lively
conversation that begins with, "You must be into 'picassiette.'"
This 20th-century folk art, which in French vernacular
loosely translates into the scrounger or plate stealer monikers, makes
use of ceramic shards, broken glass and pottery, tile bits and even
treasured mementos. Those pieces are attached to a surface in a decorative
This style also refers to the nickname given to
Frenchman Raymond Isidore, who, from 1930s to the mid-1960s, adorned his
home in Chartres, France, with recycled pieces of ceramics, pottery,
shells and glass. La Maison Picassiette is decorated - inside and
out, furniture included - with intricate mosaic designs.
....................Where to begin: Beginners don't have to be overwhelmed
with the how-to's of mosaic-making because the process is relatively
straightforward. Nor do they have to follow the tenets of any art
movement because there are no rules. Making stepping stones for a
garden path, for instance, can be as easy as buying a kit in the craft
store. Internet sites also offer supplies, kits and directions for
creating mosaic ware.
Central Florida mosaic artist Andrée
LeBlanc suggests this simple project
for beginners. You'll need a pattern, nylon or fiber-glass mesh,
glue (Weldbond or a glue gun), grout, mosaic pieces, nippers, safety
goggles, latex gloves, tape, wax paper and sharp scissors.
First tape a pattern to a stable
surface, such as a table. Next, tape a sheet of wax paper over the
pattern, top with the mesh screen and secure with tape. Glue the
mosaic pieces on to the mesh, leaving an eighth of an inch between the
pieces. Let dry, then remove the wax paper from the back of the
mesh. Cut along the perimeter of the design. Attach the
mosaic to the exterior of the house or a wall with exterior grade
thin-set grout, and then, to avoid slippage, tape it in place and let
dry for 24- hours. The next day, using protective gloves, fill in
the cracks between the tiles with
grout and finish the edges so the
piece blends into the wall. When the piece is completely dry, about 24-
hours, wash it with damp sponge dipped in water and then again in vinegar
to remove grout haze.