Mosaic Tile Workshop in South Africa

Photos of work in South Africa

Mosaic-tile workshop display of finished products, at the ORT headquarters, Johannesburg, South Africa. This work, by local youth, is for sale and includes
decorated flowerpots [on shelf], picture frames, mirrors and decorated trays.
Workshop at the ORT headquarters. ORT South Africa is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization, specializing in vocational training for marginalized communities, established in 1936.
Work includes wall hangings and garden decorations.

Occasional workshops are held by Danzig [in white shirt] for adults in the community, to raise funds for the vocational training and provide a creative leisure-time activity.

Participants draw a simple design on paper, then cut out unique shapes from
industrial tile for the foreground. Next, they fill in background.

Lena monitors the use of the tile cutting machine, used to cut commercial kitchen and bathroom-type tiles into smaller, square and rectangular shapes.

Adult participant learned mosaic-tile techniques in the 'hands-on' workshop and developed enough confidence to teach her newly acquired skills to her own class in middle school.

The first step is to cover the paper sketch with tiles cut into specific shapes reflecting
the 'foreground' of the desired design. In this case, a flower centered in a wooden tray.

Master artist Phil Danzig demonstrates how to make a specific curved shape
by 'nibbling' with a side-nipper. The finished designs were completed in two

A completed design, spelling 'Welcome' in Arabic, in
white tiles with a colored background, ready for grouting.

Here, the blue flower shown above, left, has been surrounded with a contrasting white background.

A unique geometric design, cemented to a wooden
backing board, ready for final grouting of the cracks.

Here, a circle was formed by careful placement of rectangular
'tessera.' Danzig also creates site-specific mosaic tile murals.

A loose, 'freehand' cat has been enclosed within a more
formal rectangular frame, or, border, in contrasting colors.

Here, a chameleon scrambles up a sunlit wall. The random
background is rendered in two warm colors, for added interest.

The class gathers to watch a demonstration of the final step,
grouting, by Ben, a member of the vocational training program at ORT.

Ben uses rubber gloves to applying a contrasting
blue grout to a white garden decoration.

At workshop's end, participants proudly show off their completed projects: one wall hanging or, trivet, and two decorated serving trays. There is no limit to design concepts.

The mosaic technique has been utilized since ancient Roman times using colored stones. Today,
a similar crafted effect is produced with industrial tile, tile cement and lots of 'elbow grease.'