At present, there are two known techniques used by mosaic artists – the direct and indirect method. But did you know that there is also the so called Byzantine technique? This technique was used centuries ago by mosaic artists.
Even if the Byzantine Empire no longer exists, you can still make use of the technique to create any mosaic project. Here’s how you can do it:
First, you need to think of a mosaic design, pattern, or image that you want to create. After that, get a wood which is about three centimeters bigger than the mosaic’s size. Now, you need to cut four battens and you need to screw them in place at the wood’s edges. Fill it with black clay and wet it with water.
On a PVC paper, sketch the mosaic pattern/design/image and put the paper on the wet clay. From the paper’s top left border or edge, cut it into tiny pieces. Place the glasses, stones, marbles, and other tesserae to lay out the mosaic. Get a strong cloth and place it over the mosaic after you’ve applied wall paper glue or paste. Leave the mosaic for about two days.
After two days, remove the screws and the battens as well. Turn the mosaic cautiously. Cut the clay into small squares and clean the sides.
Now, you need to make a metallic or wooden frame and put a chicken wire in it. Mix equal amounts of fine sand and cement then add water to create a somewhat dry consistency. Pour the mixture into the frame.
Hold the mosaic in your hands and slowly lower it to the cement mixture. Tap the sides to get rid of air bubbles. After ten to twenty minutes, wet the cloth a little and remove it. The surface of the mosaic will be revealed. Using a sponge or a cloth, wipe the excess cement. Leave it for the next one and half hours and wet it again. After that, leave the mosaic for a couple of days (3-4 days) but try to water it every now and then. Use a lint-free clean cloth to polish the mosaic.
Once you’re finished with the project, you will have mosaic craft that appears to be from the Byzantine era. As you may have noticed, using the Byzantine technique is time consuming because you need to leave the mosaic for a couple of hours and even days to dry. You need to be patient and careful so that you will not commit any mistakes. Still, if you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to commit mistakes because you can learn from them. The next time you create mosaic project, you will know what to do.
The direct method that artists use today is much better because the steps are easy. It only gets complicated when the indirect method is used. For simple and small mosaic designs, the direct method is highly recommended but when you’re already dealing with large scale mosaics, the indirect method is the best choice.
The Byzantine method is a bit complicated but with a bit of practice, you can get it too. Now you can add your masterpiece to your collections. Take your time and don’t rush your work. Get all the needed materials first; that way, when you start working, you won’t be running to and from the hardware store.