For tobytub and glass-addiction - opus (laying techniques)

silvamaeNovember 21, 2009

I am paraphrasing from my favorite mosaic book Classic Mosaic by Elaine M. Goodwin. The way tesserae are laid out are called the Opus. Opus Tessellatum is where the image is surrounded by one or two bands of tesserae to define its form. Opus Vermiculatum is when the tesserae resemble vermicelli, or curved lines. Opus Musivum occurs on larger floors (overall design). Opus Palladianum - random shapes. Andamento, the way in which the tesserae are made to flow in directional lines ...rhythm, movement.

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african

Opus literally means "work", but in mosaics could be method or style - There are even more Opuses or Opera, to be more correct in Latin. See mosaics dictionary for more of them

Here is a link that might be useful: mosaics dictionary

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 7:15PM
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tobytub

There are a bewildering number of these opuses explained fairly clearly in the dictionary. But are all these techniques just for old fashioned (Roman type) mosaics - or are they still used for modern pieces?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 10:28PM
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nicethyme

they are contantly relied upon in modern mosaics as well mostly often as backfill techniqhues to make subjects stand out, look at the works of Martin Cheek as great examples.

My own Sidonea is outlined in vermiculatum while the fill was regulatum.

try not to look at these techniques as having or being rules, they can add amazing interest to a piece even when simply mixed into abstracts

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 10:42PM
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tobytub

When you do an "opus" background or outline, should you stick to just one color of tesserae?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 5:16PM
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african

As it is a background - I would guess just one color would be fine - does anyone know?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 5:45PM
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nicethyme

use what is complimentary to you subject. that can be many colors, materials... as long as the movement is continued, the tess can change

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 9:50PM
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cathyscache

I find it literally depends on the piece how many or how little color goes in the background. My mosaic rule if it looks good and I like it , I do it. That's the nice thing about mosaics you can use the rules already laid out or follow your own!!! There is no right or wrong when it comes to color. But that's just my thinking.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:46AM
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african

Hi nicethyme - you have a point. But I don't think you can press it too far - no point using a particular style of background opus for emphasis, if you are going to stray too far from the style. I would imagine that as long as the particular "opus" that is selected makes use of muted tesserae, compared to the main focus of the work, the color could vary somewhat, but only gradually and you would need to use complimentary colors, so as not to distract from the object(s) that it is supposed to be emphasising.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 4:31PM
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nicethyme

I think that goes without saying and is part and parcel of an attractive piece surely.

Check out Bama's Sunflower for a combo of tess in the background adding interest

Here is a link that might be useful: Bama's sunflower

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 6:12PM
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tobytub

Thanks for advice - when you use these opuses in the traditional way - I suppose you should take care to use only use carefully cut square tesserae, and these should be on the small side.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:54PM
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nicethyme

If your desire is for that Roman look then sure. But with this caveat, its all going to depend on the scale of the piece whether it can support larger tess, laid traditionally.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:02AM
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tobytub

If it was an "opus" type background, I wouldn't think you would be using larger pieces. Having now read a bit more on the subject, my gut feel says that whether it was a Roman type of mosaic or not, in using the various "opus" techniques for your background to create "flow" or "emphasis", one should always use even sized square tesserae. Any other shape or the use of uneven sizing would end making for a randomised background and wouldn't set up the even lines (curved or straight) that are explicit in the use in the various opus techniques.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 4:53AM
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nicethyme

I agree with you

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 6:49PM
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