The Basics of Pique Assiette Mosaic: Fun and Art Rolled Into One

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Pique Assiette Mosaic: Fun and Art Rolled Into One

Broken things have a sense of being put together and look marvelous as a whole. That is exactly what a pique assiette is all about.

Pique assiette, also known as shard arts, is a very popular folk art style of mosaics. In French, pique assiette literally means stolen from plates. This kind of art incorporates recycled bits of broken china, porcelain, ceramic tile pottery, stoneware and found objects that are used to make one-of-a-kind and eye- catching art creations.

Pique assiette was originally presented by Raymond Edouard Isidore. He was recognized as the French pique assiette father. Now, you might wonder how he attained this title. The answer is simple yet truly amazing. He covered his entire house and garden with mosaics of broken glass and crockery. Imagine that.

Raymond Eduoard Isidore never considered himself as an artist. He was a graveyard sweeper by day. He lived in Chartres, which is in the northern part of France. Every time he walked home, Isidore picked broken pieces of glass and crockery for his home masterpiece. For 30 years, it was his obsession. His entire house, inside and out, including the garden were decorated and designed with mosaic. They say that his bed sheets were the only thing in their home that were not touched by mosaic. The home now serves as a public museum.

Some people may assume that pique assiette is a very difficult and laborious work of art to learn. Yes making pique assiette is an art. Don?t be scared though if you have never done any art projects before, because it is simple to learn and anybody can do it. It is a fabulous way to bring the artistic and creative side out of you. You can get totally lost in it as you learn how to apply the varying types of shards to your pieces and time seems to just fly by. Then the next thing you know your whole house is covered, well maybe in your minds eye you see it that way.

With its unique and extraordinary appearance, there is no wonder why pique assiette has become a sensation once again. There are several stores selling assembly line pieces of pique assiette, but nothing will compare to what you can make yourself. So why not give it a try? Why buy someone else’s when you can make your own?

Making a pique assiette does not require you to be an established artist or any previous experience with mosaic. Believe me, I have taught hundreds of students and you don?t have to have done a single mosaic ever in your life to create a masterpiece? All you need to be successful is to gather the materials you need, have a wide colorful imagination, and let your hands do the magic for you.

You will find this 3 step beginners instruction guide on how to make a mosaic will not make you even break a sweat. It is my hope that after you accomplished all these steps, you will find yourself still yearning make many more mosaic projects.

Before you begin your 3 steps to mosaic stardom you?ll need to do a few things as listed below.

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Choose an project base item that you would like to apply the mosaic tiles onto. You should start with a small item like a picture frame or a flowerpot. ( I have found that students that start small continue with this art form, versus one that start big).

Gather together an assortment of shards. This can be chipped up china plates, cups & saucers or ceramic pieces, jewelry, shells, pebbles, figurines or micro tiles.

Gather the tools that you will need for your creation
1. Small Hammer, stained glass cutters or tile nippers
2. Tacky Glue for indoor pieces and tile mastic for outside pieces
3. Grout
4. Sponge
5. Small pail
6. Paint stirrer
7. Several rags
8. Grout sealer

Great! Just a few steps more and your mosaic masterpiece will be just underneath your touch. Here are the step-by-step instructions to set you on your way to being a pique assiette artist.

Step 1 Break your china into several small pieces with the hand tools. If you already have broken china at hand, it will be useful too. Making a mosaic is like putting a puzzle together. You will need several different sizes and even different colors. After cutting enough tiles to cover your piece, you are ready to glue them on the surface of the item.

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Step 2 Apply enough glue to cover about 4-5 square inches at a time. The glue dries very fast that is why you are doing small sections at a time. If some glue dries before you can apply your shards don?t be upset you can always reapply it. Practice makes perfect. When everything?s done, cover the entire piece should be covered with the tiles. You can choose a certain design or pattern style for your first mosaic, or simply randomly apply the pieces. Let your imagination wander. Play with the colors and sizes of the tiles. After you have covered your entire piece clean up any excess glue from the tiles with water. Let it dry for a few hours or preferably leave it overnight for the best result.

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Step 3 If you are satisfied with the placement and the arrangement of your tiles, it is time to grout. Mix grout and small amounts of water until you obtain a peanut butter consistency. Apply grout with an old paintbrush or small spackle spatula, to be sure to get it into all the joints. I often apply gloves and do it by hand. It lets me get into the cracks of the irregular shaped pieces. Wipe off the excess grout as you go. Next when the entire piece is covered with grout, wipe away remaining excess with smooth damp rags. Keep wiping over your piece with the damp, not wet sponge. It will look hazy but do not fret. That is totally normal. You might have the urge to give up during this process, but don?t! Just keep rinsing your cloth or sponge and wiping until it is free of the haze. After the grout is set and is dry, buff with a clean dry cloth and apply the grout sealer as recommended on the bottle.

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Wow take a deep breath. You have just completed your first masterpiece. Congratulations! You see I told you could do it. It?s not that hard to make a pique assiette right? Patience, hard work and imagination are all you ever need to be successful at anything. And just a few parting thoughts. Art is in the eye of the beholder. You have just created your first pique assiette masterpiece. Many people think about doing this but never even attempt to because they think they just could?t do it. Well I know that you can do anything your mind can conceive. Enjoy what you have accomplished. Share it with your friends and family. If you are like me when I first started doing mosaic almost 20 years ago I just couldn’t get enough. If that?s you please stop on by and visit me at nancyolliver.com or themosaicchinacabinet.com for more goodies and instructional inspiration.

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God Bless You, Nancy Olliver
The Mosaic Mermaid

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