"This book is indeed complete with every aspect of design material selection, installation and care considered... Appropriate as a coffee table book and an instructive text; beginner and pro alike will not be disappointed."
B and B, Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association
Maggy Howarth is one of the world's foremost pebble mosaic experts, known for the innovative traditional and contemporary designs she has used to create outdoor mosaics around the world.
This new edition is updated, revised and expanded by 32 pages to incorporate many new inspirational designs from the author's studio, Cobblestone Designs, including an experiment in 3-D, spirals and roundels, and large mosaic designs for community spaces. There is also a special section that explores pebble mosaics as a decorative art throughout history.
The book provides practical step-by-step instructions for creating mosaics using traditional and modern materials, tools and techniques. The 400 beautiful color photographs and illustrations offer inspiration and make this a stunning how-to book and wish-book.
The sections and their chapters are:
- Core Techniques
- The basic principles of mosaic
- In-situ techniques
- Precast technique
- Using the computer to make patterns
- New developments in pebble mosaic
- Around the World
- Pebble mosaic traditions from around the world
- Contemporary pebble mosaicists
- Gazetteer of Design Ideas and Templates by Maggy Howarth
- Allover patterns; Chinese allover patterns; interlacing patterns; allover centrical designs;
borders; stars; sun and moon; spiral, cross and maze; human figures; mythological figures and anthropomorphic creatures; stick figures; animals; reptiles and fish; birds; insects; flowers; trees; other suitable subjects.
|Publisher:||Firefly Books, Limited|
|Edition description:||Third Edition, Revised and Expanded|
|Product dimensions:||8.40(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Maggy Howarth is one of the world's leading authorities on pebble mosaics. Her designs appear in city squares, hospital grounds and public gardens and fountains. A portfolio of her designs can be viewed at www.maggyhowarth.co.uk.
Read an Excerpt
Is it just coincidence that so many different people enjoy collecting and handling beautiful pebbles? There must be a basic appeal in the pebble as a found object, formed by the great forces of nature, recalling memories of happy childhood days spent on sunny beaches. We are naturally drawn to the smoothness of rounded stone; it's a small and perfect emblem of the earth we walk on. When we pick up a pebble and marvel at its beauty, we are holding a chunk of our planet; and when we pick up handfuls, and arrange them together in patterns, we are reflecting the universe. Children love to do it; so do adults if they give themselves the time to play. Some take the one step further that makes their collection of stones into something more permanent: designing, making and then leaving, for posterity, a pebble mosaic.
It is now nine years since the publication of The Art of Pebble
Mosaics, and a lot has happened in that time. A busy working life, involving many pebble commissions, has led me to some useful discoveries and refinements of the basic techniques. In this book I can share with you some of those new ideas and experiences which I hope will in turn lead to more experimentation and development.
In addition to research in the workshop, opportunities have also arisen during travel abroad to see for myself some of the marvelous mosaics in far-flung places which have been very little known outside their own countries. Each holiday has become a research trip, trying to take in some of the different pebblework around the world. The photographs and observations are presented here for your delectation. There is so much more out there to discover, and I expect that there will be many more of these adventures explorations with eyes down!
A third source of information has come from readers of the first book. They were invited to contact me with news of any pebble projects of their own. The call didn't fall on stony ground and there has been a steady stream of information about public and private projects, and lots of pictures. Getting those letters and e-mails was like opening a box of delights, each one new and different. Every pair of hands transforms the pebbles differently. The many artists who have contributed to this book and generously shared information show a breadth of vision and invention that is a source of constant joy and admiration.
What you will see here is the best of pebble mosaic. The criteria for my selection are very simple. Firstly, of course, the work must be principally pebblework (not, say, tesserae). Secondly, it must be good work, and not just anything that happens to be made of pebbles. Sometimes it might be extremely simple, or rough and imperfect, or experimental; it might be quite mundane and everyday, or it might be complex, highly skillful and solidly professional. But, whatever their status, they all have a certain quality in common. They must be either interesting (in whatever way), or original and inventive. I have put in as many as space will permit. Whether or not this can be really thought of as "complete" is a debate for the future.
In the gazetteer of design ideas at the end of the book you'll find a large collection of pictures and drawings, all of which have been made into pebble mosaics (by me or others) or designed specifically for the medium. A thorough knowledge of pebble mosaic has informed their selection and the drawing of them. It would be wrong of anyone to "copy" them (each design is the copyright of the individual artist); but it is perfectly OK to use them as the inspiration and starting point for new versions. Since time began, artists have fed their imagination from the works of other artists, sparking off new connections and visions. I hope that, in turn, these pages will feed your imagination. That wonderful elusive trigger-point, inspiration, is the vital element that leads, through draftsmanship and selection, to good design. This is what lifts the medium of pebble mosaic from function and craft to a thing of beauty and art.
Table of Contents
The Complete Pebble Mosaic
Section 1: Core Techniques
The Basic Principles
Methods for In-situ Pebble Mosaic
Precast Technique for Pebble Mosaic
Using the Computer to Make Patterns for Pebble Mosaic
More Ideas for Pebble Mosaic
New Developments in Pebble Mosaic
Section 2: Around the World
Pebble Mosaic Traditions from Around the World
Contemporary Pebble Mosaicists
Section 3: Gazetteer of Design Ideas
A Selected Further Reading
B Directory of Pebble Mosaic Artists
This new edition brings a fresh look at some aspects of the art of pebble mosaics: new artists, new developments and new materials. In the last four years I have acquired a role as information gatherer, archivist and facilitator, putting artists, craftsmen and technicians in contact with each other across the world - in addition to responding to pleas for advice. So, there's plenty of news! It's a pleasure to show you some recent pebble mosaics that have been made all over the world, by both professional artists and enthusiastic amateurs.
Catching the pebble "bug" can be life-changing: conscious of our mortality we grasp at the idea of permanence. There is a spiritual satisfaction to be gained from the careful placing of natural stones in rhythmic patterns and bonding them together like fossils in a lava flow. There is a basic appeal in the pebble as a found object, formed by the great forces of nature, recalling memories of happy childhood days spent on sunny beaches. We are naturally drawn to the smoothness of rounded stone; it's a small and perfect emblem of the earth we walk on. When we pick up a pebble and marvel at its beauty, we are holding a chunk of our planet; and when we pick up handfuls, and arrange them together in patterns we are reflecting the universe. Children love to do it; so do adults, if they give themselves the time to play. Some take it one step further, to make their collection of stones into something more permanent: designing, making and then leaving for posterity a pebble mosaic.
However, even for the long-lived mosaic, times are changing. Today, imported pebbles from the Far East have become widely available and have altered the appearance and color of pebblework and, to some extent, our attitude. I regret the loss of those long days on the beach or the riverbank, searching for pristine and perfect material. Collecting our own pebbles brings a local distinctiveness to the craft, impossible to reproduce with foreign imports. But we have to use what we can get and, at least for the moment, the imports seem to be endless, whereas our own supplies are increasingly protected or unavailable.
There have been other changes too. Commercial products such as "pebble tiles" have become widely available. They are cheap and cheerful and presented as a fashionable design solution, less permanent by nature, but more easily and cheaply achieved than the hand-made original genre. While we must recognize the trend, and to some extent adjust to the influence of fashion, I hope that the reader will once more indulge me as I bang the drum for the best and only the best in pebble mosaic. No half-measures.
Design is everything! At the end of the day it is the designs with real artistic merit which will be valued and preserved. And good design for pebble mosaic means precise drawing, making use of the special shapes and properties of natural pebbles, and giving due consideration to the context in which the mosaic is to be placed. Within these guidelines, the solutions are endless. I never cease to be amazed at the variety of effects produced with the same materials by different artists and craftsmen.
Bear in mind that it is never too late to change the design while it is still on paper. The process of making a mosaic is so laborious and time-consuing the it pays to be absolutely sure that the design is the best that you can do.
Make it last! I must enter a plea for permanence. It takes an effort of will and great patience to maintain the highest standards of durability in materials and construction; but a mosaic of real beauty which will also last for hundreds of years is our ultimate aim.
So, what you will see in this book is the best of pebble mosaic. The examples have been chosen on the basis that they are either original or inventive, or otherwise interesting for some aspect of their material construction. What we all know as "worthy projects" have not been included. Also, "complete" editions are never truly complete, and I hope to continue to gather information and bring it into the public domain in the future.
My courses and workshops in the art of pebble mosaic are documented here. I know that people love to have personal one-on-one teaching, and the experience has also been rewarding for me. But it is my hope that the newly inspired will be brave enough to learn from the step-by-step sequences in this book without recourse to expensive workshop tuition. Many have done so from my previous books.
All newcomers to the art are welcome to make use of designs in Section 3 as a starting-point for their work; although (please!) not for profit. Having gained experience and confidence, when you go on to make your own designs, do let me see your creations. I am always interested and forever thankful.
- Maggy Howarth