Inside the Studio: The Making of a Mosaic Sculpture
"I didn't know if it was going to be good, and apart from my experience with ceramics and stone, I was entering new territory.
The most common form of mosaic seen today consists of small rectangular or irregular shaped pieces of ceramic or glass put together to form a pattern or image. Random mosaic has a certain primitive charm but we strive to create something far finer than this, and add to that challenge a three-dimensional element that brings with it its own set of creative ‘problems’. The process of making a three-dimensional mosaic sculpture is incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive, but the finished results are, we think, stunningly beautiful.
All the ceramic pieces used in Peter Hazel sculptures are hand-made in our studio, and each sculpture has it’s own uniquely shaped tiles that are cut, glazed and fired individually. This is no mean feat when you consider the many thousands of pieces needed to complete a sculpture to Peter’s exacting standards!
Not all our pieces are covered in mosaic. Take for example the cheery heirloom tomatoes, or the large willow basket-full titled ‘Abundance’. However they are constructed, all the ceramic pieces receive the same high-fire treatment. Temperatures in excess of 2200 degrees Fahrenheit turn the glaze to glass, and vitrify the clay into a hard, impermeable material that is immune to the ravages of weather.
Most of our larger sculptures have a steel and concrete armature. This makes an incredibly strong, rigid core on which to bond the ceramic tiles. Once bonded and dry, the mosaic is grouted with an ultra high-strength epoxy grout that is impervious to staining or fading. This together with the vitrifying of the clay ensures our sculptures are the perfect choice for indoor or outdoor display.
The flat or relief panels are bonded to a weather-resistant backing with the same high-strength adhesive and epoxy grout as our sculptures.