How to make a mosaic tabletop (part 1)
British summertime has arrived and restrictions from lockdown #3 are slowly being eased, so what could be more enjoyable than running my first workshop of the season with a returning client who wants to create a mosaic tabletop.
Thankfully the weather was kind to us, so we were able to work outside as planned, sticking to Covid rules and benefitting from the warmer spring temperatures. My returning customer, Beth, had already been on one of my mosaic workshops and made a vintage mosaic tile; now she was keen to start a bigger project and came to me for guidance.
There’s more to making a mosaic tabletop than meets the eye and like any creative project, the key is in the planning. Measurements of the table were taken and I ordered the most appropriate substrate for the job, which in this case was a large sheet of 12.5mm ‘Wedi’ board, so that we could cut the circular piece to size. I asked Beth to create a mood board, so that she could bring together some colour combinations, inspirational images and design ideas for her café tabletop. A mood board is always a worthwhile exercise before starting a project, as it really helps get those creative juices going, as well as focus the mind on the task in hand.
Methodically, we worked through the preparational steps in order to transfer Beth’s design onto the backing board. First of all, Beth used some acetate to trace her design onto, which she then placed on my vintage overhead projector, remember those?! This old fashioned piece of equipment is vital when it comes to enlarging designs or drawings for mosaics. Next, I used the jigsaw to cut the the circular tabletop from the Wedi board, which is normally used for wet rooms and is available from tiling suppliers.
By the time we had sorted through some vintage ceramics to incorporate into Beth’s design, the sun came out and we were on a roll! The bold and bright colour combinations that Beth had chosen suited the flowing design elements perfectly. For the burnt orange area, I picked out the ‘Poppy’ series china from the J&G Meakin Studio range. Beth had also brought her own mosaic pieces to the workshop and they combined beautifully with the vintage crockery.
Before wrapping up for the day, Beth got to work with glueing down the mosaic pieces that made up the orange design element. Sometimes, during the glueing stage, the mosaic pieces move to create different gaps, so having a little practice with the silicone glue was essential for shaping the gaps for grouting further down the line. I can’t wait to see the finished piece when Beth comes back to my studio to grout her mosaic artwork.