This blog post is about a bespoke mosaic kit that I created for a customer to give as a 40th birthday gift to somebody who loves Battersea Power Station. You can read the email exchanges below that I exchanged with the happy recipient of the gift and see the fabulous end result. I’m sure that you will be as impressed as I am!
9th March, 2015
two years on and Battersea is finally finished just when the real one is being demolished! I thought you might like to see the final mosaic. I put the last piece in tonight. Now we just have to grout and put it up in our kitchen. I’ll send you another pic when its up in its permanent home.I have loved doing the mosaic. It has been very therapeutic. I’ll definitely have to find another relaxing pastime!Thanks for providing all the great tools and advice. I’ll send the final photo when its all complete.
Charlotte’s Finished Mosaic, March 2015
4th February, 2014
Hi Tracey, we will certainly send you pictures! This is something we’ve wanted to do for years so we’re really excited. We’ve broken the tiles and traced the drawing onto hard board so now we’re ready to place the tiles. Your tips about colour are very useful. The sky was flummoxing us! I’ll keep you posted…
4th February 2014
How lovely to hear from you! I’ve occasionally wondered how that Battersea Power Station mosaic might be progressing…!!
The colour scheme was entirely monochrome, which I thought would be most effective for the design. I’m not sure what other information you have to work with there, but you must have the full size cartoon – line template – on which to set out the pieces to make up the design.
Attached is the image in grayscale again for reference. I think the best approach would be to start by cutting or breaking up the tiles into useful sized pieces and arranging them in containers (ice cream or take-away plastic tubs are good) in order of tonal value. (lightest at one end, darkest at the other) You could give each shade a number. Then reference on your cartoon which shade to use in each area using these code numbers.
Black must be reserved for the absolute darkest parts – eg. shadows under the bridge, where the bases of the right-hand towers meet the roof etc., white only for the very brightest – eg. arches of the bridge. I think the sky should be 2-3 shades, blended into each other. Probably jasmine as the lightest with pale grey. The bulk of the station would probably work out to be medium & dark grey, I expect. (I don’t have tiles around me here in the office, so its not that easy for me to prescribe)
I hope that this helps. Also, if you’re struggling to discern between tones, you might find it helps to half close your eyes when you look at the grayscale image.
Keep in touch – I’d love to see how you progress and if you have any further questions get in touch again.
3rd February, 2014
Thank you so much for the wonderful mosaic kit for Battersea Power Station. I got it for my 40th birthday back in May and we’ve only just started doing it!
I just wondered if you could give us a steer on how you anticipated the colour scheme? We have been given 12 Jasmine, 6 black, 4 Kalahari, 6 white, 6 medium grey and 6 light grey tiles. Did you have thoughts on how we might use the colours? For example, what colour should we do the sky, the bulk of the power station, the two tones of the chimneys? Any direction you can give us would be gratefully received.
We made a mosaic table some time ago and still use it. The Battersea Power station is more of a challenge but we’re looking forward to it!
The wonderful glass mosaic signage has always added a touch of class to Manchester’s Victoria Station. The ornate lettering is made from gold smalti, a glass and gold leaf mosaic material, beautifully set against the blue surround. (although now in need of careful attention)
a few gaps to fill
Most of the ornate signage is currently obscured from view whilst refurbishment works at Victoria near completion. These photographs are a reminder of the art nouveau style, and you can see at once that these designs were most probably influenced by the contemporary work of Angelo Orsoni.
in need of some TLC
Whilst the Orsoni piece below incorporates many more shades of green and exemplifies the textural qualities attainable using hand-made smalti, the foliage in the Victoria Station designs is more flamboyant in its swirly gesture. I would imagine that having pushed the boat out to accommodate the cost of the gold smalti, a more restrained approach to the rest of the palette must have been essential to stay within budget. Of course, in aesthetic terms, the limited palette is highly effective in creating a consistency and simplicity, that today we might refer to as it’s ‘corporate identity’.
A key influence? Mosaic by Angelo Orsoni, Venetia.