May 17, 2013

Fresh, Dressed, and Put to Rest: A Faux Pique Assiette Mosaic

When I taught mosaics, in addition to demonstrating on my perpetually incomplete matt board mosaics, I used completed ones as well to illustrate various mosaic techniques such a commesso, sectile, and pique assiette. Pique Assiette, so named for the 1930's Maison Pique Assiette (home of the plate stealer), refers to mosaic that predominantly uses broken pottery shards. Sometimes these incorporated whole tile or plate designs that were broken and then reassembled into a recognizable whole - leaving the break lines, or interstices, to be grouted. The pique assiette mosaic pictured above makes use of such a reassembled image. But since it was something I lugged around from school to school for thousands of kids to handle, it was made with matt board instead of real tiles. Here what I did was make a color photocopy of a tile I had designed then pasted the photocopy on to a piece of matt board. This was then cut on a paper cutter and reassembled as the center medallion of the piece. The surrounding tesserae were also created in a cheap and easy way by pasting wall paper samples to matt board then cutting that into haphazard pieces. The same was used in the corners of the piece.

Making this mosaic more archival and dressed up took some doing. I first made a painting over the photocopy of the grasshopper tile- making it now a “real”art work. I then carefully peeled off all the wall paper - which was peeling off anyway. The now bare matt board was resurfaced with gesso and faux finished in acrylic to look like tile and stone. After coating the whole piece with acrylic varnish to make it slick, I then used various color paints to grout with. Yellow around the center, green in the circular areas and cementitious looking mica in the middle.

This is the last of my paper mosaic renovations. They are now all pressed, dressed and put to rest.

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