19 April 2011

Mosaicing a rock for a doorstop using FREE materials

Many years ago, someone gave me this piece of a broken Ardmore ceramic vessel.

I treasured my shard of an extremely rare phenomenon in SA- a ceramic studio that became so famous and successful- their pieces sell for fabulous prices in galleries all over the world!  Finally- I got an idea as to what to do with my Ardmore shard. .I love the results!

I selected a stone that had a similar bulge as the one ceramic shard I had, painted bonding liquid on it and while that was drying, I cut up the shard into smaller pieces with glass mosaic cutters, carefully positioning the pieces of the crocodile and flowers back together, so that I would not struggle with a puzzle later.

I fetched my rock and started gluing the pieces on to it using ready mixed tile adhesive. Unfortunately the croc has no snout- so  I put a flower there instead. I was also careful to save the Ardmore signatures of the artists and to use those in the mosaic. I havent grouted it yet, but I am thrilled with the result and keen to do more of this type of mosaic- Re-cycling- instead of using bought stuff all the time.  Beginners should definitely start by recycling as it is almost free. Only the little bit of tile glue, and bonding liquid and grout used here.

I have been working on mosaic products for  3 skills training courses in the remote Baviaanskloof area of the Eastern Cape, so decided to try this idea, but NOT using anything fancy like a shard of Ardmore or an Earthmaid animal insert. No- it must be made of things that unemployed people can find for free.  I was given a box of things they can find easily. Big white acacia thorns, sharp. Old rusted tins and bottle tops, some old crazed ceramic bits, broken glass. Initially,  I looked at the box in dismay. I used the thorns  and bottletops to make some lovely things, it was actually great fun. (Nothing to do with mosaic though- more like craft from nature/recycling- another subject) The results will be sold from a little shop on the famous 4x4 route through the incredibly scenic and exciting Baviaanskloof.  Here is the link to the webalbum: webalbum Karoo Craft Workshops

 But here is  my attempt  at mosaic, using very basic found materials only:


And here is a picture of them grouted, as well as 2 other ideas I tried- one done with leather scraps and the other with ostrich shell etc.
ceramic shards collected from an old tip site

First Mosaics drying in Karoo sun

a teaspoon is bent to become a hook

ostrich shell and mother of pearl buttons

My Ardmore rock grouted. Finished off with a Dremel tool
so there are no sharp edges. It feels as good as it looks.


  1. Anonymous7:05 PM

    Hi Marylou Newdigate,
    This is a first for me as I have never contacted someone with a blog before. I am currently working on a Paper Mache Clay life size female figure. I want her to sparkle and have decided to incorporate mosiac into the sculpture. The fact I have never done mosiac is no never mind as I had never done anything with Paper Mache clay either and started with a life size figute. Six months later and I am still working on her. I had no idea it would take so long. Should I decide to use mirror pieces as skin on her face and or body, can mosiac applied smoothly on contours? When this figure is completed, I would really like to see her project the spirit of womanhood and sparkle. I am planning on exhibiting her at the Arts Quinte West Gallery in Trenton, Ontario, Canada Georgie Schaeff

  2. That sounds like a labour of love artwork you are busy with. I have done mosaic over a papermache base, and as long as the surface is firm, it should work well. Also- use a really good 'flexible' adhesive. Allow to dry thoroughly before you grout the pieces, using a really good waterproof grout mix to fill in the gaps between the pieces. You can mosaic over curves and contours, just keep your mosaic pieces small. I would suggest you get some help at first, from someone who has mosaic experience. Mosaic done badly might spoil the rest of the artwork.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to discuss about mosaic products I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.


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