Perimeters, margins and borders : a developing mosaic

Stanley, Jan (2013) Perimeters, margins and borders : a developing mosaic. Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, Special E (4). pp. 11-17. ISSN 2046-5378

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In her book "Finding Beauty in a Broken World," environmental and ecosystems writer Terry Tempest Williams (2008) described the art of creating mosaics. She discussed the process of cutting and placing small colored tiles called tesserae to form the work’s images. Cut, color and placement work together to move light across the piece, illuminating and bringing the completed mosaic to life. Intentional, subtle variations in the hue of individual tesserae accent and give depth to the work, often blending to suggest a consistency of color that is not really there. Perception varies depending on the position of the viewer—the mosaic is seen differently up close than from a distance and again differently from varied angles. Spaces between the tesserae contribute to this. In the play of light and definition of images, interstices and irregular edges are as important as the tesserae themselves. In Tempest Williams’s words, the “gaps between the tesserae speak their own language,” and “there is a perfection in imperfection.” Readers are reminded often that "the play of light is the first and last rule of mosaic."