FINISHING SCHOOL: Surface treatments for Mosaic with Kelley Knickerbocker

Transforming surface texture, color, and reflectivity

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Are you working with a machine-smoothed material? What if you could selectively (or completely) give it some interesting texture?

Is your material interior color/reflectivity different from its outer color/reflectivity? What if you could remove a bit of that exterior to expose some of the interior loveliness, or remove all of the exterior on some tesserae and let the altered and unaltered sing together in complex harmony?

Are you using a shiny material? What if you could deglaze a handful of it and use the shiny and matte together?

Is that cut stone a little too pale? What if you could darken or "age" it a bit?

Want to alter the color of an open area of mortar to strengthen its visual connection to your mosaic? Let’s do that!

In this online course Kelley Knickerbocker, the perennial asker of “What if?”, has brought her creative process here to Mosaic Arts Online. Kelley has been inventively altering the surfaces of tesserae and mortar for nearly 15 years to add nuance, emphasis, and expressiveness to her mosaics. In this online course she’ll focus that accumulated knowledge on the how and when of three specific categories of surface changes: texture, color, and reflectivity, and step through multiple techniques to effect these changes on multiple materials.

Techniques include defacement, layered washes and rubs, gilding, read-through, deglazing and more. You can practice these effects on individual loose tesserae or build some simple, small sample boards of different materials to practice more extensively along with the course.

It wouldn’t be a Kelley workshop without some materials analysis, so of course you’ll be practicing on a variety of miscellaneous tesserae (a few types of glass, different types of glazed ceramic dishware or tile, a few types of stone, and unglazed porcelain) to contrast, compare, and transform. Each of these materials have different characteristics (porosity, transparency, hardness, etc.) that will determine which surface treatment technique will be most effective and when it will need to be applied. Learn which treatments need to begin as you’re processing your tesserae, and which can happen during or even after construction of your mosaic.


Your Instructor


Kelley Knickerbocker
Kelley Knickerbocker

Visual artist Kelley Knickerbocker left a 22-yr administrative career at the University of Washington in 2006 to found a mosaic studio (Rivenworks Mosaics, Seattle) and direct her accumulated skills in project management and planning toward designing/fabricating/installing mosaic artwork for public, commercial, residential and gallery environments.

Kelley’s ruggedly dimensional mosaics, in a broad range of materials, are a textural distillation of her fascination with contrast, material properties and the technical challenges of mosaic construction. Sharing that fascination and learning from other art makers are keys to the freshness of Kelley’s mosaic practice, and she travels extensively throughout North America speaking, collaborating and teaching in-depth workshops on mosaic style and technique.

Kelley’s fine art mosaic panels have been accepted to numerous national and international juried exhibitions, and many reside in private collections. She is an active member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.


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.

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