Techniques


COMPUTER TECHNIQUE

COMPUTER MOSAIC

Computerized mosaic murals are the least expensive of all the mural techniques that we offer. The purpose of this section is to review this technique and the materials that we utilize so that you can make an educated decision on the correct technique choice for your installation or mural.

Mosaic is the art of creating images by assembling small pieces of glass, stone, gemstone, ceramic or seashell. Different colors are used to create the pattern or picture.

When the small pieces are cubic or square, the mosaic mural, or artwork, is considered to be a 'simple' technique. Art mosaics created with squares are accomplished using two methods. The difficult and older way is to create the artwork by placing the squares of different colors onto a grid by hand to create the pattern or design. The second method is called modern mosaics. Modern mosaics are achieved by importing the art into a computer art program which then translates it into an image using the colors available from the product line chosen.

The result of both methods is a pixilated look to the art. Because of this, the mural or pattern must be fairly large to achieve the resolution needed to view the image. The art graph is then printed out and the artisan places and glues the color onto the art grid to create the finished piece.

MATERIAL TYPES

GLASS Computer Mosaic murals are made of manufactured glass tiles made in a uniform shape and size. They are made by molten glass being poured into trays and fired. The color palette is wide but not as extensive as the color choices for handmade smalti glass. The mosaic thickness is fairly consistant as the glass is machine made. Artistic glass murals are made of square glass tiles: 10mm - 3/8 inch, 20mm 3/4 inch or 25mm - 1 inch. 10mm murals are more common due to the higher resolution of the artwork. Custom patterns may be square, rectangular, octagonal, etc. Glass mosaics typically have a gloss finish. However, modern glass manufacturing has resulted in a variety of alternate finishes, such as matte, metallic and iridescent. Glass may be imprinted, which yields a variety of textures such as ripples and undulations on the top surface. However, most glass mosaics are very smooth. An imprint of grooves is made on the glass mosaic reverse side to help with adhesion during installation. Glass mosaic sheets are either mesh backed or paper face taped. The most common method is paper face taped. This means that the picture of the finished mural is actually in reverse. During installation, the glass mural is installed with the paper side up. The paper is then removed with water after the mortar or thinset cures.

Glass Mosaic Blends and Gradations are also a type of computer mosaic. A blend is created using percentages of two or more colors. Glass Mosaic Gradation is created by using three to eight colors, by percentage, typically from dark to light or light to dark.

STONE Computer Mosaic murals are made of stone such as granite, marble and/or onyx. As the mosaic is machine cut, the thickness is fairly consistant. The thickness for stone mosaic is approximately 3/8 inch. The shape of the mosaic used for custom patterns may be square, rectangular, octagonal, etc. Mosaic size ranges from 15mm - 1/2 inch to 25mm - 1 inch for square mosaics.

Stone is a natural material that is mined. The color palette is limited. Finished stone mosaic murals are typically polished to protect the gemstone from inclemental weather, wear and tear. However, tumbled-look unpolished mosaics are available. The reverse side of the mural or pattern is smooth.

To assemble a custom stone mosaic mural, tiles are procured in sheets that are secured to a mesh backing. The mosaics must be removed from the backing to create a mural or custom pattern as each mosaic sheet is a single color. The mural is created using a graph. The new backing is mesh and the picture of the finished mural shows the top side. During installation the mural is installed with the mesh side down.

Murals are also available with no grout joint. These murals are mounted to a honeycomb aluminum or fiberglass sheet and the thickness is typically 1/2 inch.The sheet size is limited to 4 x 8 feet. For murals larger than 4 x 8 feet, sheets butt joint to create the entire image. These murals are easily transportable and may be framed. This type of mural is unique and uncommon as it is more economical to create a stone mural out of handcut pieces (Byzantine technique).

GEMSTONE Computer Mosaic murals are made of semi precious stones that are hand cut into mosaic tiles. The size of each mosaic is slightly different than every other due to the hand cutting. This is not noticeable on mosaics created incorporating a grout joint. It is noticeable on seamless gemstone computer mosaic murals. Gemstone murals with grout joints are created by using either solid gemstone blanks (square solid tiles) that are mounted to mesh or gemstone laminated to a porcelain base tile. The thickness for solid gemstone mosaic is 1/8 inch. The thickness of a porcelain backed mosaic is 3/8 inch. The shape of the mosaic may be square, rectangular, octagonal, etc. Mosaic size ranges from 15mm - 1/2 inch to 25mm - 1 inch for square mosaics. Gemstone is a natural material that is mined. The color palette is wider than that of stone. Finished gem mosaic murals are typically polished to protect the gemstone from inclemental weather, wear and tear. The reverse side of the mural is smooth. The picture of the finished mural shows the top side. During installation the mural is installed with the mesh side down.

Murals are also available with no grout joint. These murals are mounted to a honeycomb aluminum or fiberglass sheet and the thickness is typically 1/2 inch.The sheet size is limited to 4 x 8 feet. For murals larger than 4 x 8 feet, sheets butt joint to create the entire image. These murals are easily transportable and may be framed. This type of mural is unique and uncommon as it is more economical to create a gem mural out of larger pieces (Intarsia technique).

CERAMIC Computer Mosaic murals are made of machine made tiles made in a uniform shape, size and thickness. The shape of the mosaic may be square, rectangular, octagonal, etc. Mosaic size is typicaly 25mm - 1 inch for square mosaics. The thickness is most often 3/8 inch. The tiles may be glazed or unglazed. The glazed ceramic tiles have the color kiln fired onto the top of the clay. This makes the tiles resistant to dirt and grime. Unglazed ceramic mosaic have the color mixed into the wet clay so the colour is uniform throughout the clay body.Unglazed ceramic tiles are porcelain. Glazed tiles are either glazed or porcelain. The color palette is limited by the manufactured line. When a ceramic mosaic is created using square tiles, all the tiles are from one manufacturer. Custom mosaics incorporating tiles of different sizes are available but are not considered to be a computer mosaic. The finish of a ceramic computer mosaic is almost always smooth. Alternate surface textures are limited on small tiles of 1x1 inch.The reverse side of the tile is scored to help with adhesion.

To create a custom computerized ceramic mural, mosaic tiles are procured that are secured to a mesh backing. The tiles must removed from the backing to create a mural, as each mosaic sheet is a single color. The mural is created using a graph. The new backing is mesh and the picture of the finished mural shows the top side. During installation the mural is installed with the mesh side down.

SEASHELL Computer Mosaic murals are made of handcut square mosaic tiles. The size of each mosaic is slightly different than every other due to the hand cutting. This is not noticeable on mosaics created incorporating a grout joint. It is noticeable on seamless seashell computer mosaic murals. Seashell murals with grout joints are created by using either solid shell blanks (square solid tiles) that are mounted to mesh or shell laminated to a porcelain base tile. The thickness for solid shell mosaic is .8 inch. The thickness of porcelain backed mosaic is 3/8 inch.

Seashell computerized mosaic murals are also available with no grout joint. These murals are mounted to a honeycomb aluminum or fiberglass sheet and the thickness is typically 1/2 inch.The sheet size is limited to 4 x 8 feet. For murals larger than 4 x 8 feet, sheets butt joint to create the entire image. These murals are easily transportable and may be framed.

The color palette for seashell is limited. Both natural and tinted shell is used for murals. The finish is always smooth and polished. The picture of the finished mural always shows the top side.

A NOTE ON ALL MATERIALS: Substrates used under all materials must be true, flat and cured. A rough coat is applied to the substrate using either mortar or troweled thinset. Finished mosaic murals are shipped as flat sheets or, if they contain grout joints, they are cut into squares roughly 12 x 12 inches and boxed for delivery. A graph is sent with the delivery. Before installation, computer mosaic murals with grout joints are lofted (placed on a flat cement surface). Lofting insures the correct alignment of the art before installation.

Please call Agape Tile at 239-454-8453 should you have any questions or need a quote.



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