ABSTRACT

Clay consists of fine soil particles, water, and minerals such as phyllosilicate, quartz, feldspar, and iron oxide. Many of us remember the tactile sensation of squeezing clay between our fingers and the excitement of molding clay forms in our hands. On a daily basis we see clay in utilitarian designs, including ceramic mugs and terracotta clay pots for plants. Natural clay is most commonly found along riverbeds, streambeds, and lakebeds. The highest quality clays are pure and free from impurities such as small stones and vegetation. Like clay products, mosaics can also have functional purposes. Artists create mosaics by attaching 282small individual pieces of tile made from clay, glass, and other materials called tesserae to a background surface including a floor, wall, or three-dimensional form. They construct mosaics by arranging traditional and/or nontraditional tesserae pieces in non-touching designs. We can use the analogy of a puzzle with a mosaic design to explain how its different parts come together to produce a design for students to understand. Artists bring many different pieces together to form a completed work that comes to life as a single unified design.