Decorating With Mosaics
Find out the real story behind the mosaic artform -- and how today's trendsetters use them at home.
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Mosaics haven’t always been the most appreciated of art. Like other ancient art forms they’ve been destroyed and/or covered up. But there are happy tales of mosaic discoveries and recoveries. Manhattan’s Waldorf Astoria hotel is home to one such story. For years, visitors walked over a carpeted lobby floor never knowing that a large Art Deco mosaic by Louis Rigal was underneath. The 148,000-piece Wheel of Life is now fully revealed in all its glory. Likewise, in the Museum of Nature in Ottowa, floors of mosaics were reconditioned and revealed after decades of being hidden. (The mosaic moose in the lobby was first put under cover when a nun leading a visiting church group objected to the animal’s mosaic testicles.)
Everywhere a Mosaic
Once you start thinking about mosaics, you’ll find them everywhere. Not the mass-produced stuff you can buy in some retail chains but the real thing — works of art. For those who can’t get enough, there are a variety of interesting guides, books and opportunities. Here are some inspiring options:
A Guide to Mosaic Sites in San Francisco by Lillian Sizemore. This full color guide with maps leads you to the amazing wealth of public mosaic art in the Bay area. Order it at www.SFMosaic.com.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens: The Art of Isaiah Zagar This book shares the stories behind master mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar’s Philadelphia work. Order from www.IsiahZagar.org.
The Institute of Mosaic Art This Berkeley center for the arts offers all levels of mosaic workshops and a resource library. Visit at www.InstituteofMosaicArt.com.
Mosaic Art Tours Yes, you can take a creative journey through Italy and Spain looking at mosaic art. The guide is Christina Macaulay, an Australian mosaic artist.
Along the Way: M.T.A. Arts for Transit by Sandra Bloodworth and William Ayres. If you’re as crazy about public art in the subways as I am, check out this coffee-table guide to the permanent art in the underground.
Art En Route Tuck this one into your pocket the next time you’re in New York and you’ll know exactly where to stop to see the mass transit systems most interesting mosaics. Find it at www.mta.info.
Anne Krueger is HGTV.com’s design scout, always on the lookout for what’s in, what’s up and what’s out there.