The earliest mosaics were made of pebbles. Small, flat stones were hand-placed into mortar to create smooth surfaces for the Greeks to walk upon. Today, New Zealand mosaicist John Botica uses the same techniques and materials to create extraordinary works of art. His elegant designs incorporating Maori legends and the flora and fauna of his adopted country are universally appealing. Perhaps that is why his clients (including film maker Peter Jackson) place Botica’s work in spaces they consider very special. John Botica believes that pebble mosaics are his destiny. We do, too.
I am a self-taught pebble mosaic artist with no formal art training.
Across the Cultures, 2007 3 meters diameter Ponsonby’s Western Park
I am obsessed with pebbles – with their beauty, their shape, their form, their texture.
I love hunting for my pebbles. I search for them in places far across the oceans and in the beaches just a few kilometers from my home.
Porte Cochere Private residence
I love the process of placing each pebble, one by one, into its bed of sand. When I am working, I enter a realm of timeless awareness.
I love how my mosaics shimmer and vibrate with the hours of the day and changes in the weather. They are never the same at any moment in time.
The artist’s studio.
I love the physicality of working in pebble mosaics. Before I was an artist, I was an athlete. It feels good to work with my body.
I am fascinated by the power of pebble mosaic design. How can something so simple convey such big ideas?
Tane Mahuta and Kereru, 2009 3 meters diameter Wilson School, Takapuna, Aukland
I am humbled by the permanence of pebble mosaics – that I have created a thing of beauty that will last lifetimes is a joy to me.
Koru Land 2010 2.4 m diameterMangere Art Center, Auckland
People say that you have to find a passion in life to enjoy life – to make your life meaningful. Well, I am lucky. I have always loved beautiful things and now I am doing beautiful things. My art is a burning fire in my heart.
John Botica, March 2012 Auckland, New Zealand
John Botica creates site-specific pebble artwork for public, private and sacred spaces internationally. Previous articles on his work can be found on MAN here.
Portrait by Con Kiernan
For over six years now, Mosaic Art NOW (MAN) has been creating content about contemporary mosaic art on line and in print. With this website, we’re making it all available in one place. Here you will meet the people who are making and thinking about mosaic in modern and innovative ways. We also do homage to the mosaic-makers of the past whose techniques are the cornerstone for today’s dynamic explorations into the art form.
We are proud and honored to kick off the New MAN with four brand-new articles written by some of the most talented, accomplished and intriguing people from the world of contemporary mosaics. Do NOT miss these pieces currently showcased on the Home Page of MAN.
From our new Ideas section:
Discover the secrets of The Lod Mosaic with Lillian Sizemore in her new video “Lod 2.0 Above and Below”
Consider the nature of mosaic within the larger art world in “Mosaic? Non-Mosaic? Neo-Mosaic? Post-Mosaic?” by Ravenna-based instructor, writer and critic Daniele Torcellini.
From our new Why Mosaic? section:
Elaine M. Goodwin reveals how a personal discovery in Ravenna in the 1990s fueled her 20-year mosaic pursuit to “commune with the divine.”
Ilana Shafir takes us to her mosaic garden and studio in Ashkelon, Israel to show us why, at 87, she still finds “constant renewal and endless inspiration” in the making of mosaics.
Go to Exhibits and you will find the complete Mosaic Art NOW Exhibitions in Print from 2010 and 2011 exactly as they appeared in the magazines.
Go to Artists and you will find three years of blog posts organized by the artists who were showcased in them.
Go to Resources and you will find links to international organizations, publications and websites devoted to mosaics.
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Mosaic Artist, Historian, Teacher Lillian Sizemore Explores The Lod Mosaic In Video: Lod 2.0 Above and Below
Here at MAN we’ve been covering The Lod Mosaic, the “Rock Star of Roman pavements”, since 2009 when the Israeli Antiquities Authority began excavating the 1700 year-old pavement from it’s original site in Lod. Since then, the mosaic has captivated thousand of people while on its tour of US museums (starting with The Met) and a multi-million dollar museum is being built to house the mosaic when it returns to Israel. Scholars have written, teachers have lectured, school children have copied and lovers of art and antiquities have swooned over The Lod. All this for what is, basically, a floor covering?
What is it about ancient mosaic pavements that we find so compelling? What is it about their intricate designs and geometric patterns that beguiles us so much?
We are proud to premiere the video “Lod 2.0 Above and Below” by mosaic artist, scholar and MAN’s own Miss Marble, Lillian Sizemore, who has spent years researching The Lod and, in the process, has come up with some fascinating and provocative answers to those questions. In the video, Sizemore explains the mosaic’s symbolism and construction and introduces her revolutionary research that the flat pavement was imagined as a three-dimensional sphere. She decodes the underlying mysteries of this spectacular pavement and explains that ancient Greeks and Romans used the geometric shapes they saw in nature as a foundation for learning. Sizemore points out “Geometry served as a legitimate path of enlightenment, both scientific and spiritual. Ancient mosaic pavements embody vast stores of cultural knowledge, spiritual meaning, and sophisticated geometry, and this is why we resonate with them.”
So get comfortable and prepare to be inspired!
Recommended View: FULL SCREEN + SOUND ON
Run time: 19:27
This video is a short version of Ms. Sizemore’s complete lecture on The Lod Mosaic. For more information and to contact her for further information, please visit her blog at http://sfmosaic.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/the-lod-mosaic-the-universe-in-a-floor/
The Lod Mosaic is currently being shown at the Field Museum in Chicago through April 23, 2012 and then will move on to Columbus Ohio and Philadelphia, PA. To learn more about the mosaic and future exhibition schedules, visit it’s website http://www.lodmosaic.org
To read more about The Lod and other ancient mosaics on MAN, click here