Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming up on Mosaicology: Interview with Canadian mosaic artist Lilian Broca

δες ελληνικό κείμενο κάτω - vedi testo in italiano sotto

Lilian Broca, a pioneer and one of the most remarkable and famous mosaic artists today that I have been admiring for so long gave me a great joy and honour when I asked if she could answer a few questions. I have narrowed down what I wanted to ask her into only three key questions. I am sure that whoever loves mosaic or is intrigued by it would be happy to read the interview.I thank her from the bottom of my heart. Truly an honour for me personally and my blog. I need to prepare the post first which I want to translate into Italian and Greek for everybody, including my student who is Greek and who will be very thrilled for this (this is a surprise for her too!), Do not miss it!

Σύντομα στο ιστολόγιο αυτό θα δημοσιεύσω συνέντευξη που μου έδωσε η Λίλιαν Μπρόκα, ψηφιδογράφος από τον Κανάδα και μία από τις πιο διάσημες, αξιόλογες και πρωτοπόρους καλλιτέχνες στον χώρο. Μην το χάσετε. Το κείμενο το μεταφράζω στα Ελληνικά.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Red carpet

I made a little curve with the carpet tiles that could mean that by stepping on the red carpet you are elevated and ... get your Oscar!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Let's take a yacht ride (and enjoy some ancient mosaic boats)

The above dutch yacht has been considered one of the best yachts of 2010 and there is absolutely no surprise in that. If I ever win the lottery I would buy something like this and I would then embellish it with mosaics just like Onassis (a post I did last summer). The theme would probably be a sea mermaid or a pink octopus. But I also like the idea of patterns, perhaps composed of little sea shells or sea horses. Wow.

Now let us go back around 2000 years. I love sudden shifts and changes. They trigger all that inspiring energy in me for more creativity!! A mosaic of a boat dated 1st century AD.


This next one shows Ulysses at sea.

Through my blog I keep discovering how life can be linked to mosaic in so many ways!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chevron pattern then and now

mosaic from Damascus

chevron mug
Look at this pattern.

The pattern is the same (and rather trendy right now). what changes is who, when, why and what (for)

Facts about Theodora


I was watching John Romer's Byzantium, The lost Empire and when he describes the famous San Vitale mosaics with Theodora and her court he says that 2 - 3 months after the mosaic was finished, Theodora died of cancer. That was something I did not know. I decided to verify. My 1st source is from and the 2nd from  I have chosen to copy the texts, because in it you will read a lot more interesting facts. In the 1st text, you will read that she played a VITAL role in governing the state, she contributed in laws favouring the rights of women and generally provided a lot of support to her husband Justinian. As I had mentioned in a previous post about Theodora, we owe a lot to this woman, dancer, perhaps former courtesan and definitely of humble origins.

Possibly the most powerful woman in Byzantine history, Theodora was the wife of one of the most significant emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire, Justinian I.
Born the daughter of a bearkeeper, Theodora began her career as an actress at an early age. She may also have been a courtesan, and she gave birth to at least one child out of wedlock. Converting to monophysitism, Theodora became a devout, if unorthodox, Christian, and for a time earned a living as a wool spinner.
Theodora impressed Justinian, nephew of the current emperor Justin I, with her beauty, wit and insight, and he made her his mistress and raised her to the rank of patrician. In 525 they were wed, and when Justinian ascended to the throne two years later, Theodora was proclaimed "augusta."
The empress exercised notable influence on her husband and on the workings of state. In addition to providing support and encouragement to Justinian, Theodora took part in making laws of the period (nearly all of which mention her name) and handled diplomatic functions ordinarily reserved for the emperor. She is famous for advising her husband to stand his ground during the Nika revolt, which he did successfully.
Theodora is well-known for sponsoring laws affecting women's rights in divorce, inheritance and guardianship, and prostitution; in particular, she saw to it that strict laws were passed preventing traffic in young girls. She also worked to mitigate laws against the monophysites, successfully ending their persecution, though never convincing Justinian to alter the official policy that favored Orthodoxy.
It is very difficult to gauge what achievements of Justinian's reign are owed to Empress Theodora, for the two worked together closely, and after her death Justinian showed a considerable decrease in activity. Theodora died at about age 50, probably from cancer. 

The following text from oneonta helps us understand that

1. San Vitale church was dedicated to Bishop Maximian who was appointed Bishop in 546. He is actually the only labeled figure in the Justinian mosaic.
2. Theodora died in 548.  

It is very logical that the mosaics would have taken (at least) 2 years to finish between Bishop Maximian's appointment and Theodora's death.

 St. Vitalis, a second century martyr, was believed to be the head of a family of martyrs who were associated with the local foundation of Christianity. St. Vitalis was believed to be the husband of St. Valeria and the father of Sts. Gervase and Prothase. According to the story of Gervase and Prothase, they along with St. Vitalis were martyred on the spot of a "little Colosseum," the site of the church of San Vitale. As effectively the "proto" or first martyr of Ravenna, St. Vitalis was seen as the spiritual head of the Christian community in Ravenna.

The Church was begun by the Orthodox bishop of Ravenna, Ecclesius (522-32), shortly after the death of Theodoric in 526. The church was apparently financed by Julius Argentarius, whose name suggests he was a banker. Several capitals bear the monogram of Bishop Victor (538-545). The Church was dedicated by Bishop Maximian (546-56) in 547. The apse mosaic shows on the left hand side St. Vitalis receiving the crown of martyrdom from the enthroned Christ, while on the right hand side of the same mosaic Ecclesius is shown presenting a model of the church. Bishop Maximian appears as the only labeled figure in the Justinian mosaic.

Since Maximian was appointed as bishop of Ravenna in 546, this suggests
that the mosaic must be from after that date.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Backstage from Chanel 2011 Byzance

I was thrilled to come across these pictures while I was searching about Empress Theodora regarding which another post will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, ENJOY these backstage peeks. Wow...Oh, and if you have not checked out my Chanel Byzance go here.

Image credit and more info

An inspiring and rare Greek flower

I was completely stunned when I viewed this picture. The anemone hortensis ssp heldreichii is found in Crete, Kasos and Karpathos.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Green calm, gold charm - Living room with mosaic wall

The living room in the picture with gold mosaic wall and green/red curtains come from the gallery of pictures of Stone and Glass. The mosaic tiles shown in detail here are vitreous mosaic tiles from the same company.

Blue mosaic sparkle

de la renta via
blue mosaic shower
another blue mosaic bathroom

I thought it was interesting to make the association between the stunning sparkling Oscar de la Renta dress and the sparkle of mosaic blue tiles in the bathroom. Hubris? ...

Here's another interesting find with blue hue and glittery tiles on what appears to be a coffee table from Bisazza, a company that produces mosaic tiles.

bisazza furniture via
What glitters is not always gold. It could be silver..!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Santa Prassede mosaics, Rome

Sharing with you the beauty and "vagueness" of the mosaics in Santa Prassede church / St.Zenon Chapel in Rome, one of the very few examples of Byzantine mosaics in Rome. The name prassede derives from Greek meaning the one that acts, from the Greek word πράξις (praxis), action...think of the English word practice...I think it comes from the Greek praxis..? (I have a predilection for etymology...)

If you are ever in Rome go visit this church and the St.Zenon chapel to see the mosaics.

Looking at these mosaics, it is inevitable to think of Thessaloniki (Salonica in Greece) and the Rotunda mosaics and Ravenna though I see that these mosaics are inclined to resemble the mosaics in Ravenna in terms of the colour-focused approach rather than the linear-detailed fashion of the Rotunda mosaics on which I still have to dedicate a post!

Watch this video here on Santa Prassede church.

Monday, February 14, 2011

bad girl


I chose this mosaic here to write about a young girl I know. Age cannot be an excuse for bad manners and manipulative character so here it goes. She has been with this guy for 6 or 7 years (she is now 27 I think) and last year they had a big fight because he tried to break up with her after falling in love with another (sweeter, as he described her) girl. When things calmed down and they sort of decided to be together (I guess it was more his desire than hers) she was always saying that they would remain friends, she loved him blabla. (She has confessed to me not exactly in these words but it was very easy to deduce it, that she basically has no one to hang out with). Another parenthesis. She has such bad manners with everybody that it is not a surprise people do not befriend her. She is kind of "stuck" with this poor (he is in fact quite handsome and kind and girls want him) young guy who all he does is be her taxi driver and occasionally, I assume, he accommodates other needs, including his or basically it's his needs that are accommodated and it's her solitude that is fixed. She has talked so badly of him and his entire family to me and to others that it is peculiarly disturbing to see her with him all the time and to know she goes wherever he goes (drinks with his friends, shopping, you name it). On top of that, she misbehaves, she is very meager, she would put her feet up on the chair in peoples houses as if it was her house, she would open up the kitchen cupboards to make herself coffee, she doesn't respect timing, anyway the list is endless. Nobody wants her. His mother, his father, his sisters, his friends. And ...finally me. I was the last to understand what was happening. Why? She tried very hard to make me like her especially after they had the fight so I could speak "well" of her to her boyfriend and basically she needed an ally. Now she doesn't "disturb" me anymore on MSN Messenger and she doesn't call. Now she has solved the problem. Yes. She is "not together" with him but hangs out with him. He provides her company and security. I am happy not to have a burden on me because I cannot have "false" friendships but I will have to put up with her when he brings her along. What I don't like in this whole situation is that this guy will NOT understand that this girl just does not love him and she is using him. But I am a firm believer that revenge is a dish best eaten cold and one day she will truly be alone. However I am concerned that this guy will want to marry her, because the brain washing she has been doing on him is irreversible and she will just say yes (she had told me once that she would never marry him and that his wife will be a miserable woman) or because he will get her pregnant or because she will have no other options with men and will get herself pregnant with him. Unless the lucky "father" will be another....Her English is not good enough to understand this and I don't thing she bothers to read my blog even if she has always "expressed enthusiasm" for it.

Conclusion: some people "fake" they are celebrating today

ps: I hope that was funny to read. Do not mean to offend anybody, even her. I am just thinking out loud.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Savvy and successful (except in love) single ladies

Piazza Armerina, Sicily

It was not very difficult to find the right image for this post. This superb mosaic from Piazza Armerina evokes that sophisticated-insightful tone of an article called Are New York’s Savviest Single Women In Crisis? by Jenna Goudreau on Forbes. I am sharing this with you and I think the subject is terribly interesting regardless where you live, city or country. Whatever your situation is, single or non single, I recommend you read this article.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An eye for colour, paillette trend + a mosaic by Paolo Racagni

An eye for color. This looks like an interesting book on colour, how to develop your sense of colour, showing how to build your own color index by "dissecting" a gorgeous selection of works used by master painters, graphic designers, fashion and furniture designers and craftsmen-all selected for their exceptional use of color.

more details here.

As I was about to post about this book, I saw something quite remarkable on a blog I have been following, world market portraits blog. A spectacular yet economical decorative solution with colour pencils!


In the meantime, I received a newsletter which linked me somehow to Vogue Italia spring summer trends 2011 and I noticed not just honeysuckle but also green and yellow as leading colours. The trends are many, various and I am not a trends expert but I really enjoyed seeing a sparkling paillette trend ...reminiscent of glittery mosaic tiles.

luis vuitton
gianfranco ferre


The last marni and westwood garments remind me of this mosaic by artist Paolo Racagni.


What is your favourite colour right now? Do you have a permanent favourite colour or is your preference associated to your state of being of the moment, the season, and everything around you and in your life?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Leda and the swan mosaic print

I had this image printed on one of my plain tank tops by a print shop in my area. I am working on some other images to print on more tank tops and t-shirts. I am also thinking on long beach dresses. I am not considering selling anything right now because the idea of competition, prices and copyright baffles me so for now I am going along with the initiative and see what comes up. Your comments and thoughts are more than welcome as always.

Have a great week!

Read about this specific mosaic here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chanel Byzance (Mosaicology loves Karl Lagerfled)

My excitement was just too much when I stumbled above the logo of Coco Chanel in mosaic!!! I later discovered that this was the show invitation for the Chanel Byzance show.

The blog where I got this from is called Diary of a clotheshorse (a blog discovered by mere accident via bloglovin perhaps or google search - but what was I searching?..).

Byzantium is a limitless source of inspiration (often unknowingly as some things today considered to be Ottoman, Mediterranean, Arab etc. are in fact associated with the Byzantine Empire, fueled and altered through the ages).

It was a GREAT joy for me to actually see Coco Chanel's logo in mosaic (I knew it would happen one day!).

I am talking about Karl Lagerfeld and his pre fall 2010-2011 collection inspired by the Byzantine Empire.

Here he is talking about the collection, about the Byzantine Empire, the mosaics!!!! (he created the buttons in square forms to resemble mosaic tiles!!!!) Ravenna, Theodora (for those who missed my post on Empress Theodora go here), his inspiration for the collection, the role of women in Byzantium and everything you would love to know about Chanel Byzance.

Some pictures from the show..

Don't go away.. There's a video you must see.

As I read on diary of a clotheshorse, Coco Chanel took Byzantine art as her major inspiration when she launched her first line of costume jewellery in the 1920s.

These are the videos from the pre fall 2010/2011 Chanel Byzance from youtube.

part 1

part 2

Notice the mosaic table in the front of the first row?

Dear Karl Lagerfeld, will you consider hiring me for next time you want to create something that has mosaic in it?

Archeologists uncover 1500 year old mosaics on the Judean Hills

The very fresh news is on associated press today, read more here. Also view an interesting post on the subject on roman archeology blog, which is where I saw the news first here.

image from