Mastering Mud course description:
Curious about or frustrated with mortar* as a mosaic adhesive? Then you’re in the right place. Mosaic Arts Online presents Kelley Knickerbocker and her latest course "Mastering Mud." Kelley has been setting every imaginable type of tessera directly into mortar to create mosaic for nearly two decades, and in this online course she walks you through her favorite mortar-wrangling techniques for super strong bonding, clean working (yes, it can be done!), and a great finished look. In addition, you’ll discover that setting into mortar eliminates the need for grout in most instances and makes working with wildly varied heights of materials a breeze.
Step by step, from scratch coat to finishing coat, Kelley guides you through the correct consistency for different applications of mortar, mixing with water vs a polymer admix, tinting with dry or wet tints, maneuvering the stuff around on the substrate, and three different methods of setting tesserae into place (mortar bed, backbuttering, and the baggie method). Along the way, of course, she demystifies all kinds of terms like slaking, pot life, load rate, and read-through.
Along with all the technical and structural information about mortar, Kelley hopes to plant the notion in your creative psyche that mortar can be as vital a visual design element as your tesserae and your substrate (what?!). By showing a wealth of images, and building a mostly-mortar mosaic from start to finish, you’ll come away with a new appreciation – and new inspiration - of how mortar can be a gorgeous, strong addition to your mosaic designs.
*The terms thinset, cement mortar, mortar, and tile adhesive will be defined and then used interchangeably in this course
FUNdamento course description:
Mosaic Arts Online is thrilled to present Kelley Knickerbocker and her unique spin on andamento, titled FUNdamento. Kelley began her mosaic explorations by reassembling random shards of broken materials and found objects. And that’s a good thing, because fitting those come-as-they-are shapes together honed her sense of visual/spatial unity. In other words, the ability to match up sides and angles of disparate shapes to reveal their unique harmony.
In FUNdamento, Kelley takes you to the next level and explores using wheeled nippers to cut specific shapes with specific intentions of direction and flow. This intentional expressiveness is what in classical Italian mosaic vocabulary is called andamento. Exploring this process together and learning from each other is what Kelley calls FUNdamento!
Kelley teaches this course by building a simple three-section mosaic seascape while analyzing three different types of andamento (circles, squares/rectangles, and classic linear) and you will learn how to construct them, how to combine them, and how to decide which is most useful when.
By using the direct setting method into thinset mortar, you will get a bit of an education on how height differentials work with no grouting! Kelley will discuss a little about design (simplicity vs complexity, hard edges vs organic, transferring to substrate), a fair bit about process (preprocessing materials, order of construction, adding unplanned elements), and address a few color issues (variety in a single-color field, boosting the vividness of colors) as they arise.
The main focus of this course will be on shaping: coaxing circles from squares, a foolproof trick for perfect keystoning angles, keeping randomness random, consistent inconsistency, creating/reinforcing directionality when you want it, diverging a line with a piece shaped like a pair of underpants (yes, really!), and more.
When you’ve completed this course you’ll be conversant in three andamenti, you’ll be a better cutter of materials, and you’ll have gained the confidence and skill to be intentionally expressive with both directionality and randomness in your mosaics.
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.