THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – Brasilia ninth week

This week I start with the background tesserae. Its a mix of beige shaded stones and marbles.

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Eda Crema Rosa marble with deep red veins from the quarry of Marmiro Stones near Sivrihisar
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white marble not sure from where in Turkey but found on the waste heap of one of the marble dealers in Ayvalik
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beige lime stone with black freckles from the bank of the Euphrates
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a dark beige limestone, very hard, almost impossible to cut into tesserae, also from the Euphrates
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An almost white lime stone from the Euphrates, very soft, almost like chalk

I cut them a bit larger than the tesserae for the fish figures, about 1-1,5 cm2 whilst the colored tesserae are around 0,5-0,8 cm2.

The rocks have been precut into stripes of about 1 x 4 x1 cm by the marble cutting workshop. The steps to prepare them until they are ready to be glued onto the design are:

  1. breaking the precut sticks into 1cm cubes, for this I use the hammer and hardie or the hydraulic stone breaking machine
  2. deciding which side will be the best to be the one that will be visible in the end
  3. cutting the other sides with nippers so that the tesserae looks a bit like a pyramid
  4. as some of the marbles had a plastic mesh glued to them they have to be sanded so no residue of glue is entering the mosaic and might disturb the cement sticking to the tesserae later
  5. then its like a puzzle to find the right cube to fit in the line

So all-together: each tesserae goes through my hands at least 5 times before it has the right form and is free of residues and little edges that could break off in the mortar bed. This is very important as not to endanger the stability of the mosaic by cracking.

It takes so long! I have to get help!

My husband and the kids which are great supporters of the whole project help one Saturday for a couple of hours.

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The tesserae that the 4 of us manage to prepare in 3 hours last that far:

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