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THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – fourth week Brasilia studio Asa norte

This week I lost my inner calm! Given that I have only 2 weeks left until the departure to Turkey I got the panic about finishing the background and making a trial wall installation which I am most worried about as I haven’t put a mosaic onto a wall yet. My neck is so tense and my eyes can not see well anymore.  I really need support!

It also was unfortunate that in this moment my family was away and I felt so lonely and scared at night. Consequently I slept bad which contributed to the tension during the day.  Brasil still is foreign for me. Speaking Portuguese needs a lot of concentration for my brain. I visited a turkish colleague of my husband on Thursday who’s father, an apricot specialist and dealer from Izmir, was around. Trying to speak Turkish with him was a nightmare. So frustrating. I am lost in all these languages!

But enough of laments. What happened this week?

My dear neighbor and mosaic artist Cida helped herself and recruited a friend to help too.

They are busy artists with their own projects and still afforded each half a day to put tesserae next to tesserae in lines! The gardener who agreed to help sanding the marble unfortunately got sick.

But the most work is the sanding of the marble that has shattered edges! I do this with a small electric tool which has a rotating sanding disc. For dying of cancer from a dusty lung  and preventing little splinters flying into my eyes I look like this! Very comfortable in 30 + degree!


Whilst Cida and Leyla were working on the background I occupied myself with glueing the long fish parts onto 3 mm MDF board, using water soluble glue again as it all is supposed to come off after the mosaic is in the cement.


This is the north wall mosaic in total of 210 cm length and 40 cm hight.

All the white and light yellow parts still need to be covered with background tesserae.

What is my next worry? Which cement shall I use? So far I only used roman cement which I made myself and Kalekim (a turkish brand for tile cements) for the refugee mosaics. But for a natural stone mosaic in a bathroom?

As a bad surprise (and it actually created absolute panic) I realized that after the architects original plan the mosaic is too long. The last 12 cm of the long fish tail would not be on the wall anymore! Unfortunately I had a communication problem with our architect in Ayvalik and could not get the actual wall maeasured. So I had to take the decision to cut some background in between the dolphine and the long fish mouth.


It looks quite cute now, doesn’t it? as if they are kissing. (Fitting the topic of today – Valentines Day)

Further I made a little wave border as a trial piece for putting the tesserae directly onto the wall without any mesh. On Monday  Cida and Leyla will help me installing it on a wall in my studio.


It actually took great joy drawing the wave pattern. And my memories of the mosaic restoration class from one year ago, where we had to draw several mosaics, got refreshed. Its satisfying to see what one has learned. I try to draw with minimal helplines as I want my hand to feel the flow. I believe this will later help the hand setting the tesserae.

I chose marble for the tesserae, but different colors in order not to waist any material for the actual mosaic. When laying the tesserae it was great to understand how the lines are filled with tesserae. I am sure that these old masters could lay the pattern directly into the cement with only maybe two helplines. When you do about 50 meter of it your hand and eye should know how it goes. I wish I could do it. However also my 30 cm of border has brought me a small insight in how to put the tesserae down.


The wave pattern is actually one of the border patterns in the original mosaic from Zeugma. This photo served as my guide.


As this blog serves  as documentation of this project and my learning diary, what ist the learning of this week:

RELAX! I can not pull things through at all cost. A team of 3 people committed to work for the whole duration of the project would be ideal, but the importance is that the team feels ownership over the project.

Be realistic about time. This mosaic making is a slow affair!

I want to conclude today with a piece of music that I listend to this week and I really love. Carinhoso, which means  loving  and caring in Portuguese. (click on the word Carinhoso it has the link)




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