Anatomy of a Mural - advance prep GROUP 1 









 HYPERLINK "", eileen gay







 HYPERLINK "", Roxana Nizza  HYPERLINK "", 


Mrs Carolina Kawall Chiesi

Mrs. Daryl Lynne Wood

Hello George,

    Bruce and I (Daryl Lynne Wood)  met you and your wife during the Gaziantep Conference and tour.  We have recently returned (after 2 years of preparation) from a 6 month volunteer work stint on the remote island of Tanna, Vanuatu.  There were none of the lifestyle comforts of home and no cafes, shops, galleries etc etc etc.  We lived next to "stone age" villages.  I did manage to take mosaic materials with me and, with the mercy of the mosaic gods, managed to have the piece I created accepted into the Austin MAI exhibit.

    I am still re-entering the joys of our industrialized civilization ... clean toilets, communications and so many creative possiblities.  I am working on another contemporary style, heat bent plexiglas, fairly large wall piece and several smaller projects.  I do not have immediate plans for a large commissioned wall mural, but I really just wanted the opportunity to hear about your process and ideas.  I hope it is alright if I enjoy listening for the most part.  I feel I need to reconnect with other people working in mosaics and immerse myself in exposure to ideas after being isolated for so long.  Bruce was the only doctor on the island of Tanna, and there was only one other  "ex-pat" living anywhere near us.  Crude grass bungalows, gekkos, ants, centipedes, wild chickens, pigs, dogs, rats, cats and friendly but shy indigenous people, were my only contact while Bruce worked in the makeshift hospital 7 days a week.  

     I am so in need of simply being with other people who are doing mosaics!!!!  I hope this rather primitive attitude will be OK with you!

               See you soon,  Daryl Lynne

Jamie Weisbrod

I'm looking forward to your class.  I've been working with Sonia King in Dallas for about 8 yrs.  I've studied with Emma Biggs, Mateo Randi, Ellen Blakely,  Shug Jones, and various artists at SAMA.  I'm very interested in pricing and how to work with outdoor installations.  I have been in a gallery for the past two yrs selling mostly mixed media/tempered glass mosaics. I have a background in painting, so tempered glass allows me to do everything I enjoy and it's much faster than traditional technique mosaics.  I do enjoy traditional technique mosaics and work on them all the time whether I sell them or not. 

Claire Barnett

I have been making mosaics for 10 years and opened a mosaic studio in Seattle (HYPERLINK "" two years ago.  At the studio we teach classes, have members who work at the studio, sell tesserae and supplies, as well as do commission work.

My personal experience with larger scale mosaics include kitchen back-splashes, a 25' shower install and most recently a 30' commercial oven facade for a local restaurant.  The most challenging aspect of commissions so far has been pricing.  I am also very interested in tips re: how to design/create mosaics that are larger than your studio space - especially being able to "see" the work in progress when it is so large.

Ms Gwyn Kaitis

I have been doing mosaics for over 15 years, mostly smaller fine art type mosaics.  I initially worked on a couple of larger mosaics with a local public art group many years ago but was really only involved in the fabrication aspects of those projects.  More recently three of us created a 5' x 9' mural for the SC Johnson Company in Racine, WI.  That project really whetted my appetite for working on a larger scale.  I have also been involved with several large projects as a teacher at the Chicago Mosaic School but again, more in the fabrication than other aspects.  I designed the panels for SAMA's mosaic marathon last year as part of my work with children affected by domestic violence.  I would really like to learn the process from beginning to end.


Tami Zweig

I started doing mosaic art in 1995 and have not stopped since.  I started doing small items and then got the bug and started doing mirrors and anything else I could get my hands on.  By 2000 I had a full fledged business.  I still kept my day job, (set costumer for movies and tv) but went to part time.  My first commissions were mirrors and fireplaces.  Then I moved on to kitchen backsplashes, walls, fountains and many other substrates.  I now also have a school called the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art.  I would like to learn from this workshop your pricing/contract structures, your installation process and anything else you have to offer from your years of experience.  


Ms Jill Stevenson Ritter

Hello George,

I am really looking forward to your class, and it will be my first experience at a SAMA convention.  I was a self taught mosaicist for years, until I discovered the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland, California.  I started with a couple of basic classes, and now am working at the Institute of Mosaic Art!


I work predominately in stained glass, but I am now venturing out into other mosaic materials ( I just recently took a class with Lillian Sizemore working with marble and stone).

Some of my work was part of an online exhibit "510 art: World Culture in the Bay Area"   


This class will be my first regarding mural making, and I am very interested in the process from start to finish.  On a personal note, I would like to broaden my mosaic education and experiences so that I may venture into bidding on commissioned work.  



Eileen Gay

I’ve been doing a mix of projects – concrete sculptural and flat panel mosaics – all rather large.  I moved out of my basement and into my garage to do mostly public art projects on commission.  I am interested in learning more solutions to creative challenges to add to my arsenal.  My mosaics ARE my day job.  

I have worked mostly in stone and glazed tile, and some vitreous / miscellaneous glass materials.  So far thematically my focus has been nature.

I have not done a mural yet, only a series of panels (4’ x 6’ each).  I was not satisfied with some aspects of my choices of materials for that commission and would like to learn about more methods, materials and planning ideas.  I want to be able to continue to work effectively off-site in my ‘studio’ creating work that will be easily transportable with a straightforward installation workflow on-site.

Basically, I know how I have been answering the challenges involved but feel I’d benefit from seeing how others ‘do the work’.

Eileen Gay

Mrs. christina ann fletcher

Michele Patrick 

I’ve enjoyed doing mosaics for about 12 years, the first 10 years as a hobbyist and professionally now for the last 2 years.  I’ve studied under Laurel True and Eric Rattan… this is my first SAMA conference experience.  I have a large studio in my home and teach mosaic classes about once a month.  I also teach at three art venues in town.  I sell smaller mosaics at local art festivals and farmers’ markets and sometimes get a small commission through someone I meet there .  Last year I collaborated with five other mosaic artists in designing/creating a mosaic headboard for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  I was also on a local morning news segment for about 3 minutes showing their viewers how to make a mosaic.  I’ve done a mosaic backsplash, fireplace mantel, stepping stones, etc. in my own home.  Currently I am partnering with a mosaic friend on our first large commission.  The potential client has a 20 sf outdoor niche that she would like mosaicked.  We are just in the preliminary stages now… drawing sketches, figuring out prices, etc.  I would have to say that the topics I am most interested in are Contract/Pricing and Layout Considerations.


Michele Patrick 

Mrs. Mary Karen Ruddy, Ph.D.

I am 73 years old and have an undergraduate degree in Art and Education (1973) from Doane College, in Crete, Nebraska. I was into large projects, a 8x14 foot mosaic, an 8x8 foot mural, one woman shows at Nebraska Weslyn University and The Haymarket Museum in Lincoln- really into Art - but after graduation,  I moved with my husband to several different locations and did not get a teaching porsition in Art and had a career change (MLS and Ph.D. in Library Science) and spent the next 35 years out of art. I retired in 2004 and have been back into my first love - art, in all it's forms. 

I have done 7x7 inch venetian smalti mosaics, selling them at Arts on Grande in Spencer, Iowa. I participate in the Artisan Road Trip in NorthWest Iowa, selling paintings and murals.  I volunteered to restore 14 Stations of the Cross for my home parish (Holy Family) in Emmetsburg, Iowa (where we retired - our home town- after being gone for 50 years) and was written up in the Sioux City Dioses newspaper and have received several commissions as a result - one at Queen of Peace in Sioux City, Iowa. 

My husband, Victor and I have a second home in Donna Texas where we get out of the snow for six months of the year and when I saw that SAMA was going to be in Austin (in our back yard so to speak) I signed up for four classes one of which was yours.  

I am mainly interested in learning the technical part of mosaic construction and restoration  - what material will withstand the elements, what guarantee can I give my patrons as to the durability of the final reconstruction, etc. 

Your class appealed to my heart as I love murals and mosaics and all things big and beautiful. I have a hard time working at anything where I have to stand very long - so I know how impractical it would probably be for me to do anything large now  but it is a special love and so that is why I signed up for your class. 

Jacqueline Ridley

Most of my mosaics have been custom wall hangings for commissions. I also belong to a group of 45 other mosaic artists Mosaic Artists Of Michigan. We do about 4-6 exhibits a year where I also sell my work. I have done fireplaces and a couple larger pieces approx 10' x 5'. One was a 3 dimensional piece that was part of the ArtPrize competition last year.

I want to learn more about large scale installations - pricing, contract info, installation, enlarging and customer proposals.

Cyndi K Barnes

I am an artist who about 5 years ago started studying mosaics under the guidance of Sonia King here in Dallas area as well as other great teachers, Emma Biggs and Lynn Chinn. I have been mostly creating fine art piece mosaics, but I would like to broaden this by working architecturally. But I do not know how to sell my experience or who to present myself too to do this? I am very interested in learning about contracts and pricing as well as all aspects of working for and in the the public forum. Yes, Sonia has taught some of this to us but I am very interested in others knowledge as well.

I have worked on a couple of small projects, one for a school (a small bench) and the other for a woman's shelter, but these both were under other artists. Which was great, cause I did learned a lot but gave me the bug to want to keep going in this area. I would like to learn how to eventually lead one or be a big part of one??? Basically, I am trying to get more confident in the art and know where to present it to get attention?

I hope I have expressed myself, concerns and wants clearly in a condensed version. I really look forward to your workshop. I have enjoyed your radio blogspot show a lot, it really has been fun to learn more about issues and people in our field without waiting for a book, so much more personal. Thank you for this. So listening to you in person is something I am excited about. (no pressure) I love continuing to learn from others experiences and knowledge.

Rachel Rodi

~I have been creating small to medium scale site specific and community mosaics for 4 years. I also have been assisting a mosaic artist on their public art murals and sculptures.  My time has been divided equally between the two. I am now moving into working full time on my own and am focused on large scale installations. I would like to hear about your process from the initial meeting to the client commitment. WHat makes them Stick? Also- Origins of Project, and your install tips and tricks

Roxana R. Nizza

I am a professional mosaic artist.  I have been working full time(non-stop) for the last 5 years.  Previously, I owned and operated Mosaic retail store south of Houston.  The retail store was not centrally located, therefore was not as much as a success as I had hoped for,  but it opened doors for me to begin my career as a commission mosaic artist. 


My first three commissions I got through an Interior Designer who “Was in a Pinch” while I still owned my retail store.  The following commissions I got through referrals by mosaic and artist friends, and other stained glass retail store owners.


My largest commission was “His Majesty’s Garden”, a large smalti mural, it was a collaborative work who’s initial customer contact came through Sharon Plummer.  All other commission work since had been through word of mouth.


The reason I am interested and signed up for your workshop us that I am in the very early stages of planning a Public Work of Art.  The details of this project are still being ironed out (size, theme, etc.).  I will be working in Denver and collaborating with a young Graffiti Artist.  The mural will be designed and painted by the graffiti artist, and I will share/compliment/embellish the mural with mosaic. 


After looking over your class outline, I am sure you will cover in detail and answer all of my questions.  Weather considerations, materials and adhesives for outdoor work as well as transportation and installation considerations. 


I have never worked on an a public art project, or an outdoor mosaic or where the mosaic needed to be shipped.


Roxana R. Nizza


Michelle Embs

The reason for taking your course is for a few reasons. I really want to work with kids doing community projects. With many schools unable to afford art classes. I'd like to start working with preteens and teens to do community projects to empower them to feel good about themselves and in turn to expose them to serving their community in a unique way. I'd be honored to learn not only the fundamentals of doing a mural but also the politics and pitfalls that enter into the process. 

My experience is rather varied and some times too spread out. I'm currently a jack of many art trades and master of none. For the past 9 months I have been salvaging old boxes and building onto them to include hidden compartments. I'm in the process of decorating them and have about 20 prototypes to be rebuilt for future boxes. (So I am out of my woodworking phase)

I've participated in Artprize for the past 2 years and have yet to win the big prize! However the interaction with the public was awesome!  My goal is too focus my training in mosaics as my primary art expression. I'm super excited to be taking your class and look forward to meeting you!

Nancy Gong

I have been designing and fabrication architectural art glass designs for 30 years by way of my studio Gong Glass Works, HYPERLINK ""

I am a full time professional artist. I have experience with scaling designs to full size, general installation logistics and have crated and shipped leaded glass and monolithic (plate) glass. I have not shipped mosaics. I have experience dealing with architects, interior designers, general contractors, builders, other tradesmen and site work. I resisted mosaic making for many years for mixed reasons. Then I saw smalti mosaics - groutless. These spoke to me. I attended the two week Master Mosaic class at Orsoni's. I have been working an architectural mosaic commission for a number of months now. You can see it in progress here on my FaceBook photos: HYPERLINK "!/album.php?aid=403236&id=277127560693"!/album.php?aid=403236&id=277127560693

These panels are not divided, although I planned on it. My installer said they could handle the weight. We shall see in April.

So, my mosaic making experience is with cut smalti, direct method for interior wall pieces (as made at Orsoni's) and this exterior commission.

I would like to learn more specifics about preparing for fit in the indirect method - build on paper. I'd like to learn more about the considerations for paper shrinkage and sizing the mosaic in this method. I observed a quick demo at Orsoni's, but didn't actually make such a mosaic. I feel that I should become familiar with this method as I may come across projects that may require this method. For both direct and indirect methods, I'd be interested in a discussion about dividing the panels.

I based my current project price based on the time and materials it took for me to create this piece at Orsoni's: HYPERLINK ""

In reality, although I review the quantities with Orsoni's, we both felt I had ordered sufficient material - wrong. Also the time on this project has well exceeded my estimates.

So, I'd be very interested in a discussion on methods of pricing that are being used.

Materials selection would be interesting. 

If there more to preparing drawing for the reverse method than flipping the design, then i'd be interested in that, otherwise, not interested.

Interested in the below:

• Layout considerations: Color mixing and transitions, perspective, andamento, cutting, gluing 

• Creating seams

• Transfer from face mount to panels – substrates and adhesives

• Grout/no-grout considerations

• Edge treatment

• “Processing” of finished studio work – lessons learned, completion, 

• Preparation for crating

• Installation


Design elements scale, density, color, andamento, continuity of design


Shifting tone and color balance and saturation

Plan lighting with architect

Let me know if you need nay other info from me. Thanks for checking in. Looking forward to the time with you.

copyright George Fishman 2017