Extensive guidebook to a popular and rapidly growing craft.
Many of us have walked the squares of Venice, Rome and Madrid and admired the geometric pavements of pebble mosaics. Made from found stones, and as beautiful as they are durable, pebble mosaics are a welcome addition to gardens, patios, and public spaces.
The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook is the most complete sourcebook for enthusiasts and landscape designers -- an accessible and illustrated guide that covers materials, design, tools and techniques.
The book lists the best sources to find or buy pebbles; how to choose and test pebbles for strength and quality; and which materials to avoid. There are practical instructions for ensuring the mosaic can withstand frost, foot and vehicle traffic, pollutants, and water.
The book explains in detail the principles of creating walkways and patios, precast slabs, fountains, pools, and cascades. Illustrated sample projects are followed step-by-step. Designing is also fully explained whether using simple sketches or professional graphic design software.
A showcase of pebble mosaic from around the world by leading artists demonstrates the craft's vast creative potential. In addition, a section of design ideas features many popular subjects and patterns including animals, heavenly bodies, spirals, borders, floral, fish, flowers, and many more.
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Maggy Howarth is one of the world's leading authorities on pebble mosaics and author of the bestseller The Art of Pebble Mosaics.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
This new edition brings a fresh look at some aspects of the art of pebble mosaics: new artists, new developments and new materials. In the last four years I have acquired a role as information gatherer, archivist and facilitator, putting artists, craftsmen and technicians in contact with each other across the world - in addition to responding to pleas for advice. So, there's plenty of news! It's a pleasure to show you some recent pebble mosaics that have been made all over the world, by both professional artists and enthusiastic amateurs.
Catching the pebble "bug" can be life-changing: conscious of our mortality we grasp at the idea of permanence. There is a spiritual satisfaction to be gained from the careful placing of natural stones in rhythmic patterns and bonding them together like fossils in a lava flow. There is a basic appeal in the pebble as a found object, formed by the great forces of nature, recalling memories of happy childhood days spent on sunny beaches. We are naturally drawn to the smoothness of rounded stone; it's a small and perfect emblem of the earth we walk on. When we pick up a pebble and marvel at its beauty, we are holding a chunk of our planet; and when we pick up handfuls, and arrange them together in patterns we are reflecting the universe. Children love to do it; so do adults, if they give themselves the time to play. Some take it one step further, to make their collection of stones into something more permanent: designing, making and then leaving for posterity a pebble mosaic.
However, even for the long-lived mosaic, times are changing. Today, imported pebbles from the Far East have become widely available and have altered the appearance and color of pebblework and, to some extent, our attitude. I regret the loss of those long days on the beach or the riverbank, searching for pristine and perfect material. Collecting our own pebbles brings a local distinctiveness to the craft, impossible to reproduce with foreign imports. But we have to use what we can get and, at least for the moment, the imports seem to be endless, whereas our own supplies are increasingly protected or unavailable.
There have been other changes too. Commercial products such as "pebble tiles" have become widely available. They are cheap and cheerful and presented as a fashionable design solution, less permanent by nature, but more easily and cheaply achieved than the hand-made original genre. While we must recognize the trend, and to some extent adjust to the influence of fashion, I hope that the reader will once more indulge me as I bang the drum for the best and only the best in pebble mosaic. No half-measures.
Design is everything! At the end of the day it is the designs with real artistic merit which will be valued and preserved. And good design for pebble mosaic means precise drawing, making use of the special shapes and properties of natural pebbles, and giving due consideration to the context in which the mosaic is to be placed. Within these guidelines, the solutions are endless. I never cease to be amazed at the variety of effects produced with the same materials by different artists and craftsmen.
Bear in mind that it is never too late to change the design while it is still on paper. The process of making a mosaic is so laborious and time-consuing the it pays to be absolutely sure that the design is the best that you can do.
Make it last! I must enter a plea for permanence. It takes an effort of will and great patience to maintain the highest standards of durability in materials and construction; but a mosaic of real beauty which will also last for hundreds of years is our ultimate aim.
So, what you will see in this book is the best of pebble mosaic. The examples have been chosen on the basis that they are either original or inventive, or otherwise interesting for some aspect of their material construction. What we all know as "worthy projects" have not been included. Also, "complete" editions are never truly complete, and I hope to continue to gather information and bring it into the public domain in the future.
My courses and workshops in the art of pebble mosaic are documented here. I know that people love to have personal one-on-one teaching, and the experience has also been rewarding for me. But it is my hope that the newly inspired will be brave enough to learn from the step-by-step sequences in this book without recourse to expensive workshop tuition. Many have done so from my previous books.
All newcomers to the art are welcome to make use of designs in Section 3 as a starting-point for their work; although (please!) not for profit. Having gained experience and confidence, when you go on to make your own designs, do let me see your creations. I am always interested and forever thankful.
- Maggy Howarth
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