Bits and pieces become ‘ancient’ artworks

     The history of mosaic has been dated back to 5000 BC for background decoration in terracotta cones. Used were glass, pebbles, marble and even gold pieces that were found in various locations such as, Greece, Italy, Mexico and Egypt. Most of this art form consisted of geometric patterns or stories of their gods and goddesses, and it was the Greeks, in the four centuries BC, who raised the pebble technique to an art form, with precise geometric patterns and detailed scenes of people and animals, but is also believed many early mosaics were intended to imitate carpets or tapestries.

     By the eighth century BC, the Romans utilized mosaics to decorate their floors using different colored stones to create patterns. One of the most known mosaics is of Alexander the Great in the battle against Darius the Great. The Byzantines concentrated on covering walls and ceilings, setting the mosaics at angles in the wall and not grouted so the light would reflect and refract within the glass to catch the light in different ways.

     The Medeba Map was originally part of the floor of a Byzantine church built during the reign of emperor Justinian 527-565 AD. The mosaic floor was created using 1.5 million pieces and it was found during the construction of the Church of St. George and is still the oldest map in existence of the Holy Land. Medeba is located 20 miles south of Jordan’s capital city, Amman.

     Although the use of mosaics ended during the Renaissance period, its rival began in the 19th century, and today most art teachers adhere to the philosophy of ‘Green’ or simply nothing goes to waste. They believe about everything has use and can be recycled in one form or another for an art project. The other motivation, including the thinking that goes into creativity, it is an excellent fiscal support to their regular art supply base that provides the opportunity for many more art projects.

     One such project, a lesson in Mosaics can produce many rewards. In this project, when students give their broken crayons, the learning goes beyond art creating which sets up the class for participation. They come together as a team or in groups doing not only the humdrum task of removing the wrapping, but also the ‘multi-tasking’ of separating them by color, including question-ask brain storming, like what makes different colors.

    As that saying goes, “What is one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure,” definitely can produce much academic knowledge while in a hands-on mode, and it all started with broken crayons.

Ben Rayman/AAPJ

Published by on October 2010. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Bugle Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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