Double Reverse for Mosaics

Not the best of images in this series but this will give you a rough idea of how the Double Reverse method works when used to make a piece for piece copy of an ancient mosaic.

Using a blow up of a photo of the original mosaic I used tracing paper and traced around each piece.

turn the tracing over and draw round each tracing of the tesserae with a water soluble pen.

Place the tracing with the water soluble tracing (the 'negative') down onto a bed of air drying lime putty.

A large part of the lower area finished. Then you use water soluble glue and glue fine medical gauze over the mosaic.

When the glue is dry use a trowel and lift the mosaic (hopefully stuck to the gauze!) off the lime. Then clean the lime out of the gaps between the tesserae.

2 Panels after shipping to Spain.

Cement to the base and on the back of the mosaic panel. Then place the panel in the right spot.

Make sure there are no gaps between the panels before the cement dries.

When the cement has dried remove the gauze using hot water and a scrubbing brush. The hot water dissolves the glue, the gauze breaks up under the scrubbing brush. Simple really 😉

Most of the mosaic was made using the Double reverse method but for this part of the guilloche border pattern I used the direct method (using cement as the adhesive)just to see how fast I could work.

The finished mosaic.

A close up shot showing the use of both smalti and marble, as in the original too.

The shots a bit out of focus but just to give you an idea of what my work area looked like. The coloured discs are smalti pizza.

This method does take a little while to master but for very fine work it’s the best method possible. As the lime putty is air drying then overnight you can spray it with some water (the tracing doesn’t run) and put a plastic sheet over it. I had one mosaic that I did over 18 months using the same lime bed.

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