Line, Shape, and Space: Abstract Design for Mosaic with Kelley Knickerbocker

Creating story with line and shape

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Abstract design can be intimidating, and more than a little confusing. Where do we begin? How do we decide where the energy, weight, or balance of an artwork will be when the composition isn’t based on anything in our objective reality? How do we express meaning, emotion, and story with just line, shape, and space?

Mosaic Arts Online presents Kelley Knickerbocker - abstract mosaic artist extraordinaire - to walk us through her unique approach to abstract design for mosaic, and show us how vital good design and composition are for our artworks’ success.

Not only does Kelley answer those - and more - questions with her usual humor and thoroughness, but she defines terms and gives practical examples and exercises for creating simple frameworks of line and shape that can then be brought to rich, complex life by the lush texture, value and rhythm of our mosaic lines.

Keeping the basic principles of art and design close at hand (Kelley shares her favorite design book), as well as the many functions of line and shape in design (handy templates abound), Kelley shows us how to find relationships and stories in basic lines and shapes and how they’re occupying the space they’re in. For example, as soon as you bisect an open space with a line you have created two spaces with a relationship to one another. Will that relationship be tense? Peaceful? Balanced? Competitive? These are the choices you’ll learn to make and exploit in order to most effectively begin conveying an idea or mood.

If you tend to overthink your plan, never fear; Kelley has a couple of fun exercises to give you something unexpected to respond to and keep spontaneity alive in your compositions. And as Kelley lays out an effective technique for bridging representational and non-objective design, you may be surprised to find you’ve already been venturing into abstract!

After sharing all the details of her abstract design philosophy, Kelley builds a small abstract mosaic, talking through each decision and technique along the way.

This course will show you a clear, fun, fascinating path into the abstract design realm. Whether you’re ready to take big steps or small, you’ll be taking them with confidence.


Included in this course is a PDF for download with a list of supplies, resources, and practical templates.


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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