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DecorBook Classic : Magical Mosaics

Could a 12th century cathedral altar inspire us in the 21st century? John and Jim were in Cefalu, Scilly last week and sent this photo of a Byzantine mosaic altar, all in 24 k gold. Mosaics are almost as old as civilization, dating back to early to middle Bronze Age, roughly 5,000 years ago. This altar got me excited about how mosaics still play a part in our rooms today. Let's do some more traveling before we take a look.


John & Jim : "Yesterday, we drove to Ragusa, Italy (Scilly) via the fantastic 400 AD Roman villa of Casale. Originally a hunting lodge for a Roman senator, now among the best preserved mosaic floors in Italy. Floors are made up of millions of marble mosaics and dozens of marble columns. The villa was covered in a massive landslide for over 800 years and rediscovered in the 1920’s."


J&J : "This mosaic floor is unique in that it depicts women and sports. Women were not allowed to play sports in public, only in the privacy of their villas." Gotta say, these women look pretty good for being 1600 years old. Let's look at some modern day mosaics.

An installation at the Mayan Beach Garden Resort in Mexico. Don't you love the fringe detail on this mosaic "rug?"

Another Incredible floor at the resort.

While these ideas might not be our cup of tea, is there a way to incorporate mosaic into our rooms? For modern day, mosaics are either bespoke (as is this shower made from broken Talavera Mexican tiles) or made from tile easily purchased.

New Ravenna : "The cool thing about mosaics is that the possibilities are endless,” says Sara Baldwin, founder of New Ravenna in Exmore, VA . Inspired by a collection of Roman mosaics she had seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she created her first pieces on her kitchen table in 1991. Unlike traditional mosaics, Baldwin’s tiles are not uniformly shaped, bringing light and dimension to the delicate arch of a climbing vine or the multi-layered texture of houndstooth. Mosaics are like painting, our palette just happens to be stone and metal.” $75-$400 per square foot."

Around here, Sally and her husband live on the island of Alameda, CA. They have a large garden with amazing mosaics they've incorporated into paths, and on to crockery and rocks. This year, they've worked on repairing cracked concrete walkways. This star caught my eye, as it's fire glass and PAMI pebbles, both in one part resin. An ingenious way to repair unsightly cracks.

DMpics on etsy

Meanwhile, a modern mosaic rug comprised of felt is made to order on Etsy.

annesmedleyofthngs - etsy

Also on Etsy, a handcrafted mosaic, suitable for framing. Isn't it's fun to know a 5,000 year old decorative art form is still going strong?

top photo : john&jim in Cefalu, Scilly

"Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. The earliest known examples of mosaics made of different materials were found at a temple building in Ubaid, Mesopotamia, and are dated to the second half of 3nd millennium BCE. They consist of pieces of colored stones, shells and ivory." ~ the


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