Post 331 –by Gautam Shah
Mosaic is a surface assemblage of small pieces flat materials. The assemblage could be unintentional or natural, or a designed product. The designed product may reflect a pattern or a form. The image in mosaic emerges through the variations of textures, a tonal gradation within a colour range, multiplicity of colours and their boundaries, differences of surface reflectivity of the material pieces and most importantly through the flow of joints. The image also comes forth from the composition formed by the joints or spaces between the material pieces. The width, depth (or contour) and colour of the joint spaces could be uniform or varied.
Historically mosaics have been opaque, translucent or transparent ones, but modern technologies provide vivid mosaics. Vivid mosaics have variable transparencies and adjustable light emanating facilities. The light emanating mosaics have controllable intensities and tonal gradations. The cathode tubes, LCD and LED are examples of mosaic forming screens, but the same could be through a projected image on plain or crystal-activated screens.
Traditional mosaics were patterns and forms created from pieces of stones, ceramics, wood, glass, metals, leather and fabrics. The pieces were fixed to the base surface through a binding or cementing agent. Fabric and leather mosaics are created by stitching together the edges (patch work), whereas metal pieces were joined mechanically or fuse-welded at the edge, or with the base. Mosaic joints expose the base surface, the joining material or additional fill-in material. Mosaics are created by inlaying pieces of materials into a base through chasing, engraving, etc. For inlaying rare materials such as sea shells, precious stones, jewels, pearls, gold and silver etc. are used.
Romans have used bricks and stone masonry patterns as mosaics. Stone mosaics of Roman and later in Romanesque period exploited the marble debris of old buildings. Wood mosaics are used in floors and as marquetry in furniture and panelings. Ceramic mosaics have been popular everywhere, as the colour range vivid, glossy, permanent (non-fading) and different from any other material finishes. Glass mosaics were technologically closer to ceramics. Glass offered various levels of transparencies. Glass mosaics were created by joining specifically shaped pieces with lead cams. The pieces were coloured during glass manufacturing. The mosaic like effect is now created by painting with stained varnishes, often within marked areas. Mosaics’ patterns are also created by composite formation where fillers like stones, plastics, wood, etc. go into a matrix of a resin. Metal mosaics are created through alloying with a non miscible materials.