Handmade Mosaics

ROMAN MOSAIC METHODS



The Direct Method

There are several methods for making Roman mosaic; The "direct method" is suited to sculptured surfaces, such as columns, fountains and jardinieres.

These, as well as mosaic tables, mosaic mirrors “The Squaring of the Circle” and other decorative wall pieces are made in the studio and delivered finished. These pieces, which can be adapted to your specifications form the Casa Mosaica Studio COLLECTION.

“The Squaring of the Circle”. Sacred Geometry. Decorative Mosaic made from Mirror, natural marble, Smalti Glass and 24 carat gold.
Galla Mosaic Mirror
Mosaic Mirror with marble and 24 carat gold eyed border. Polished and waxed Marble table.
Casa Mosaic Studio designs and adapts suitable patterns and motifs ensuring that the enduring qualities of this ancient craft continues to be used in modern day applications.

All the materials are cut and employed in our own small workshop, each of the artisans were personally trained by Master Mosaicist by Stephen Windsor-Clive over a period of 12 years.


The Indirect Method

In Eastern part of the Roman Empire and especially at Antioch (in modern Turkey) from the 4th century BC saw the spread of mosaics which used two-dimensional and repeated motifs to create a ‘carpet’ effect, a style which would heavily influence later Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.

Antioch “Stone Rug” set into terracotta tiled floor.


Through this ancient and living tradition, the uniquely enduring qualities of mosaic adapt well to a wide range of modern day application. Stone rugs are particularly useful to decorate garden rooms, entrance halls, wine cellars, and bathroom floors.

A mosaic rug or medallion up to 1m x 1m is made, delivered and installed in one section.


Border mosaics, cabochons and small medallions can be installed by a good experienced tiler.

The "indirect method" is used for large floor and wall mosaics fabricated in sections like heavy wallpaper. It is made in reverse in the workshop and delivered anywhere in the world for on-site installation into a prepared space and depth of approx 25 - 30mm.

Large “stone rug” designs are Stitched seamlessly together on site by specialist technicians. The resulting mosaic appears to have been laid by hand in situ, piece by piece.


Case Study:

Design, fabrication and installation of a bespoke mosaic made in the indirect method:

This private client wanted a unique mosaic art work to decorate their holiday home in Ibiza. We were asked to decide the best place for a mosaic installation and to come up with design ideas for it:
The out-door kitchen appeared the perfect place for a mosaic; the design concept was to bring the colours from the sky and swimming pool in an abstract watery pattern onto the blank out-door kitchen wall. It was decided not to cover the entire wall as lighting and plumbing were already installed.
The design would work beautifully in mosaic; which would be seen from close up and from far away, therefore materials which would reflect and sparkle in the light would make a stunning feature and talking point.

Designs are approved.
Materials are chosen, similar to these: Smalti and gold mosaic glass from Venice, natural marble, and mirror.
When the design, materials and quote are accepted in principle a deposit is paid to fully develop the unique design, which in some cases involves an artist’s painting. This is included in the quote.
Once the “the Cartouche” (painting above) is agreed by all, a 50% deposit is paid to begin mosaic work.

Details are given to local builders to provided the space needed for the insertion of the mosaic into the wall at a depth of 2.5cms.

We will always work closely with architects or builders on site.
The mosaic in reverse, divided into 4 sections. The back of the 24 carat gold glass visible, the front is gold with blue glass on top.
The sections are installed into wet cement/ tile adhesive applied to the prepared wall, and held in place whilst drying.


Once the sections are set in place the 2 layers of fabric and the paper pattern is steamed to remove the glue and reveal the finished design for the first time, cleaned up and joined by specialist technicians. CMS will help organise the appropriate technician or team of technicians depending on the size of the project and we will always work closely with them to ensure a perfect finish.

The surround is tidied up, painted and a protective sealant is applied.

Time should be allowed when planning a mosaic project to ensure the best possiblesfinish.

The finished mosaic “Watery Mosaic”.

Out-door kitchen, Ibiza 4.5 Sq.m Took approx 3 months to make from receipt of deposit. From first discussions with clients to finish of installation was 6 months with an un-rushed schedule. Installation took 5 days for 2 technicians.

Technical Information


Casa Mosaica Studio uses traditional Roman tools and techniques to make mosaics:

Up to 9,000 tesserae are hand-cut, using a hammer and anvil to cover 1 square meter in mosaic; at least 54,000 hammer cuts. When the artisan needs an individually shaped tesserae, they are cut again from the cubes.

Video - "Hand-cutting natural marble Tesserae"


Indirect mosaic is made in reverse; the tesserae are rhythmically placed and glued onto the drawing by the hand and eye of the highly trained artisans and the gaps or negative spaces are an integral part. Indeed, it is in these 2 unique qualities, in contrast to zellige or tiling, that the idea of Real Roman Mosaic is expressed. 

Video - "Placing the tesserae"


Working along side architects, designers or directly with clients; from drawings or after a site visit; appropriate design ideas can be sent from our photo library.

We can then estimate and give an idea of lead time. Prices start at 1,400 GBP per m2 for marble mosaic

Indirect mosaic for a big floor is made in sections in the studio in Morocco, like heavy wallpaper, transported and joined together on site anywhere in the world by skilled technicians, which we will help organise. The resulting mosaic will look like it has been laid in situ, tesserae by tesserae.

Materials are sourced from natural stone and marble, mirror glass as well as specialist Venetian “Smalti” and 24 carat gold glass. 

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