The latest newsletter

February 20, 2017

Newsletter on Roman mosaics, this includes instructions and drawings on how to draw the vertical strand double guilloche border pattern.


Christmas offer on online courses

December 16, 2016

There is another newsletter out with details of the first workshop dates here in Bury St Edmund’s for next year plus an offer on the online courses in Roman mosaics. These courses have no cut off date, once enrolled you always have access so you can take all the time you need.

Border mosaic widths

Using the staff & square

August 19, 2016
I’m still working on the manual on using the staff and square to set out geometric patterns, it’s taking way too long but it has to be hardest one I’ve worked on.
I’m breaking it down into as many steps as I can but it has to be done in such a way that it reinforces the principles you learn at the beginning. Then, as you get experience you can start to do away with certain stages as you have developed your eye for the work.
The photo is of one of the drawings I do for the course. I start with drawing in the centre tesserae, scan the drawing, draw in the next stage, scan it, and so on. Depending on the pattern there can be anything from 10 – 20 individual scans.
Something that has become apparent to me during this is the importance of using a square. It really helps with checking that certain elements of the pattern are correctly in line. The same as with the staff though it is something that you should use less and less as you go on.
four interwoven hearts 13.jpg

Website being redone

August 19, 2016

I’m redoing the website with another host so at the moment it is basically the homepage with ‘Website being updated’ on it. I’m trying to add things in a more cohesive manner so it will be easier to navigate around, well that’s the plan anyway!

Roman Mosaics – The Rules

July 10, 2016

Volume 1, Roman Mosaics – The Rules is now available as a PDF to download, 59 pages, the main text on making copies of Roman mosaics. £8.00 and you receive the download link on payment.

Volume I front page

How fast can you work?

July 10, 2016

The following text is from my last newsletter and I think it’s worth repeating here as it does give us an idea of just how fast a Roman floor mosaic could be laid. The full newsletter can be accessed here.
To answer the question of how fast can you work we need to look at how fast we think the mosaicists from the time of Rome worked. What is the first thing that you see about a Roman floor mosaic? Well………it’s on the floor! This should give us a clue about how they viewed them, art or craft? It has to be a craft, in much the same way as we consider how to get our bathrooms tiled. Even the Alexander mosaic was on the floor, not on a wall as something you’d spend time over in contemplation. Yes, there were those that made a statement, usually about the owner, their level of education, (look at my mosaic with scenes from Greek mythology, I must be well educated!), their ability to spend large amounts of money but mostly, I believe, they were just part of the architecture. 

As part of the fabric of the building they needed to be completed within a certain time, nobody would have a villa built and then be ready to wait a year for the mosaics to be done. When you work to recreate a Roman mosaic now then I firmly believe that it is not just the application of the Rules which makes it Roman, but also the way in which you work. You need to have a set rate of work, not fast, but a steady speed that allows you to complete similar mosaics in the same time, every time. 
How often do you go back and correct mistakes? Some mistakes you have to correct, not many though. Mostly on noticing them your attitude should be, ‘I’ll learn from that and not repeat it but it doesn’t matter enough for me to take up the extra time needed to go back and redo it’. Look at the original mosaics and see how many areas you think would benefit from a bit of tidying up and you’ll be surprised to see how rough some of the mosaics actually are when you get up close.

You should be able to lay 0.8 – 1 square metre a day, labour was never an issue in the Roman Empire with it being a slave economy  so you could have five teams working in a villa, that’s five square metres a day. The idea of the mosaics for a villa taking over a year seems very improbable. 
Set your standard of work, stick to it and then you’ll find your work speed. 

If you want to know more about the Rules in Roman mosaics then you can find my online courses here.

February newsletter

February 17, 2016

Here’s the link to the newsletter for February. There’s the usual news plus a couple of short articles on mistakes and colours in border mosaics,