Techique of direct mosaicing

Monk Georgios - Thomas Euthimiou

Inside the workshop

Details of technique of direct mosaicing

During direct mosaicing, the artist places the mosaics directly on the surface of the work, as in the hagiography but without a brush, and his finished work does not need to be reversed.

The mosaics vary in shape and color, and one is never the same as the one next to it, so that the work retains a special sense of depth and brightness, and this variety of colors and shapes achieves this.

In direct mosaicing, the mosaics always have a slight difference in inclination, which gives the work a special aesthetic. Especially in gold shimmering on all sides as opposed to indirect mosaicing in which the front side is completely flat.

Unfortunately, despite the persistent efforts we have made, looking for literature and various sources from the past, we have not been able to find technical information on the manufacture of materials and mosaics.

Fortunately there are these few images that have been saved in museums and monasteries, and we can research and learn from them, with what we observe.

Natural stone mosaics were our first materials. Most types of stone, we collected them in quarries and paddocks of stone and marble trade but also looking in the rivers and beaches of Mount Athos, where we collected them in colors.

Natural stones cannot be found in all colors, which are necessary for the creation of mosaic. This lack has forced us to turn to a supply of semi-precious stones, such as sodalite, iaspis, lapi lazuli and materials such as pearls, corals and finally the golden mosaic, which we necessarily obtain from Italy.

We used ceramic tiles and everything else tied color and aesthetically to the stone. Later this need created the experiments for glass mosaics, which by mixing various materials and metal oxides, gave us a greater variety of colors.

Details of direct mosaicing

Waxmastic

The waxmastic, which was the binder in the image of St. Nicholas of Stridias, was a big problem because there were no records of how it was constructed. After research and analysis, we found the materials that make up the candlestick. So we were able to create the right base to make mosaics, in the way they were made by the old mosaics of Byzantium.

We mixed wax, mastic and a little cologne and poured it in liquid form into dug wood. After it dried and hardened, we first carved out the plan (Figure 2). Then we placed the mosaics in the candlestick, with the help of a needle, which we heated in an alcohol lamp. Later the lamp was replaced by a low-energy pyrograph.

Thomas Euthimiou