TRADE PRICING for COMMISSIONED WORK  (to be marked up by designer/dealer)

Pricing depends primarily upon how detailed the composition is, the materials, possible economies of scale, difficulty of installation, etc. Some designs require several days of work to do a square foot; with others, the artist may be able to complete several square feet a day.

A 3x4’ pictorial panel, executed with traditional technique and materials (smalti and split stone) might well cost $4500-6000. A choice of vitreous glass or unglazed porcelains might reduce the cost by about 15-20%. The same size panel done in a looser, or more graphic style might cost 2/3 as much as a more complex style. 

Designs of a geometric or free-form nature, but using andamento (organized flowing courses of tesserae) is commonly priced at $200-300 per square foot. This includes the materials -- either unglazed porcelains or vitreous glass -- but not the shipping and installation.


Combinations of styles and materials require that each project be priced independently.

There are certain modest economies of scale that accrue to larger projects, however creating mosaics is analogous to typing, in that the thirtieth day of work still requires the same effort as the first and needs to be compensated equally. Still, it’s usually easier to organize and coordinate one large project, rather than four smaller ones.

A charge of $500-1000 for a series of preliminary drawings for each mosaic is customary. This fee may be deducted from the total budget on a larger project. 

On site installation costs usually range from an $15-$30 per square foot (plus travel/meals/lodging/misc. costs), depending upon the complexity of both the layout and the pre-mounting system used. A difficult installation may require a day for 10 square feet, whereas a simple, large-scale installation (of shattered tile, for instance) may proceed at several times that pace. It’s important to consider preparation of the substrate and coordination with other contractors.  

More often, panel mounting in the studio eliminates the need for complex installation. Instead the panels are simply installed like one or more stone slabs. I include panel-mounting as part of the cost of the project. Crating and shipping are calculated after the design/fabrication proposal has been accepted. Framing with a stainless or painted steel angle is often recommended -- especially for panels 3x4’ and larger. This protects mosaic edges and adds strength for shipping and installation.

copyright George Fishman 2017