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My first Brazilian mosaic



Brazilian Tile , 41x41cm , hand cut ceramic tile pieces glued on fibre netting, grouted with black tile grout, mounted on black mdf board

The call for artists for works inspired by textile&tesserae of the Institute of Mosaic Art, Berkely, encouraged me to pursue an already existing idea – to translate designs originally created for textiles into mosaic.

When I moved to Brazil I became enchanted by the floral patterns of the textiles of the North East. In search for a motive for my first “Brazilian” mosaic, I remembered these textile patterns as ultimate designs of Brazil – colorful, big, bold, dynamic and yet humble as they depict nature – flowers and leafs.

IMG_7100-Editar - Thomas BFEmbracing the adventure and leaving my field of expertise – roman style mosaics made out of natural stone – I created my first Brazilian mosaic out of ceramic tiles.

The new material – ceramic tile – was also a choice because it is a common material to decorate floors and walls in Brazilian homes. It fitted my philosophy to create mosaics with the material that I find under my feet. And I found the bright colors  in the many monochrome tiles available at every builders market in Brasilia.

The decision for the technique was taken after I made a drawing in pencil of the textile pattern and – cleared of the colors – the enormous dynamic of the lines showed wonderfully. These lines should’nt be disturbed and become the grout lines.


It was very hard to break the different shapes out of the tiles in one piece with tile nippers. The tiles with their glazing are extremely hard. My hands hurt tremendously and I developed calluses in the palm of my right hand which works the nipper.

At times I felt I was forcing the material a bit too much my way. Would I respect the nature of the material better if I let it break where it wants to break? Ceramic just likes to break temperamently like glass. It was a challenge in incorporating these break lines into the general flow of the curves but I think I succeeded and the overall andamento is not disturbed.

IMG_7143For making the work a bit easier I developed a technique to deeply engrave the lines into bigger pieces (like on green leafs) of one color with a dremel dimond wheel point. When grouting they filled with grout.

IMG_7157 IMG_7158 IMG_7159

In the end it has all worked out perfectly and the piece was chosen for exhibition for the textile & tesserae exhibition at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Berkely. The show opens, July 9th 2016 showing over 30 art pieces – mosaics inspired by textile and textile inspired by mosaic.







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