Once we decided to renovate our swimming pool it was obvious this was an opportunity to put a mosaic in the bottom. We already had a couple of fish mosaics on the side of the pool so to put a mermaid in the bottom seemed appropriate.
I started by clearing and flattening the area in the middle of the pool floor and designed the mermaid on paper to fit the space.
Most swimming pool mosaics are made from square tiles and uncut, which can give the image an uneven look.. My method of cutting and shaping individual pieces of glass gives the image a very realistic and unique finish. I also used glass tiles in the background; the hand cut glass for the mermaid, is in different size pieces with added mirror & gold reflective glass.
The easiest way of producing a mosaic to be fixed permanently into a space is with the indirect method. This involves laying the glass with a water soluble starch onto a medium/heavy weight craft paper. The mosaic is also laid upside down and back to front so the finished side is glued to the paper and so when laying the pieces you are looking at the back.
Once completed onto the paper the mosaic is carefully cut into manageable pieces around 40 cm squared and carefully transported to the site.
This is the most stressful part of the process, getting the mosaic from the paper into position safely. A thin layer of cement is applied to the surface area and the mosaic is pre - grouted on the paper and set into place. This is repeated until the full mosaic is in place.Moving thousands of pieces from the paper into wet cement means there will always be a few loose tiles and pieces to replace,adjustments are needed. Once the mosaic has set into the cement for long enough the paper is soaked and carefully peeled away to reveal the mosaic.
The mosaic starch used to fix to the glass to the paper needs to be cleaned away, tiles need to be adjusted along the join lines, re grouted and polished which makes the indirect method much more time consuming than the direct method.
The process of cleaning, re grouting and finishing does give the opportunity to check and re check the strength of the fixing and once completed there is the satisfaction knowing the mosaic is in place for many many years to come. If you are interested in commissioning VidaMosaics for a mosaic have a look at our other mosaic commission works here or if you'd like to come to the studio in Spain and join a mosaic holiday follow this link here.
Until next time, happy mosaics!