Creativity Through Constraint with Julie Sperling

Learn a new approach to creating and working with handmade thinset tesserae.

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Do you feel like you’re in a rut with your mosaic art work? Are you looking to step out of your comfort zone? Or maybe you need to go back to basics or recentre yourself? In this creative exercise, Julie Sperling teaches you how putting constraints on yourself—in this case making a mosaic with just one piece of a material and using every last scrap of it—can open up a world of possibilities.

To get the most out of the exercise, Julie will lead you through three different ways to make your own tesserae out of thinset. She’ll cover how to approach cutting them with your hammer and hardie in a way that embraces their unique properties and leads to better options (and learning opportunities) once you start putting the pieces back together again. She’ll also talk about strategic thinking and creative problem-solving, and cover several different considerations and approaches that can help push your andamento into new territory as you follow the lines between the tesserae and also the lines within the tesserae.

What you learn here has applications far beyond this particular exercise. This is also an exercise that you can come back to over and over again, and always walk away with a new insight.

Your Instructor

Julie Sperling
Julie Sperling

Julie Sperling is a Canadian mosaic artist camped out at the intersection of art, environment, science, and policy. She is best known for her ongoing series of mosaics about climate change, “Fiddling While Rome Burns.” Her work has been shown in several juried exhibitions, including Mosaic Arts International, and in 2017 she served as the City of Kitchener’s Artist in Residence. When she’s not advocating through art, she works for the Canadian government, helping scientists share the important work they do.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 14 days and we will give you a full refund.


Julie, this was a fabulous on-line class! Thank you so much for sharing your technique! Marguerite T.

Julie, this course is absolutely fascinating! Your thin-set tesserae mosaics are beautiful, and, in my eyes, much more than just "exercises"; indeed, they are abstract masterpieces. Jennifer R.

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