symposia: Forum Workshops 2017




 All workshops are £90 and are limited to 12 participants

Tickets available via Eventbrite from 8th April for Forum Attendees until 16th June.

After 16th June non-attendees can purchase workshop places if available.

All workshops will be held at Edinburgh School of Art, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9DF


1. Emma Biggs. Mosaic Artists’ Tutorials

2. Joanna Kessel and Tamara Froud with an introduction by Christopher Smith: Colour – it’s a Material Thing.  

3. Dugald MacInnes: Working with Slate -SOLD OUT

4. Helen Miles: The Mosaic Mesh Method

5. Marian Shapiro: Bend, Fold and Undulate – Creating Mosaic Substrates - SOLD OUT

6. Lillian Sizemore: Making Geometrical Patterns for Mosaics


Workshop at Forum 2016 - Joanna Kessel

1. Emma Biggs.


The idea of this session is to expand how we think about our work, putting it into a broader context of makers around the world. We will share information about techniques, materials and so on, but more specifically, everyone must to be willing to talk about ideas and aims. The intention is not to praise or fault-find, it is to look at ways other makers have addressed similar issues. We will discuss what we feel is effective, what seems difficult or unresolved and why that might be.


Workshop numbers are limited so everyone gets as much as possible from the session. You should expect to stay for the whole day, and be prepared to contribute to general discussion. Often there is as much or more to learn from taking part in a discussion about what others have been doing as there is when the focus is on you alone.

The day will begin with a PowerPoint presentation. The images you send in advance will be shown alongside the work of other mosaic artists, to explore possible directions the work could take, or see what solutions others have come up with; these might be historical examples, or works of contemporary mosaic. This will be followed by general discussion. The afternoon will be based on a detailed look at the work each individual has brought to the session.

Send three or four images of completed work to They must not be more than 1000 x 800 pixels at 72 res. and should be received by 9th September in order to be included in the presentation. Please include a short statement about the aims and intentions of the work, why you want to discuss it, and a summary of your interest and experience with mosaic. If you have a website, or other places where your images may be viewed, it would be useful to include links to them.

Emma Biggs has been a professional mosaicist for thirty years. Her particular interest is in using pattern and colour to convey something about the history of her chosen materials. These might be for example, industrial ceramics (Made in England), Roman pottery (Five Sisters), historical waste (Mudlark), or trace fossils she found on her allotment (in-of-oy). She makes paintings in collaboration with her partner, the artist and broadcaster Matthew Collings.  They are represented by Vigo Gallery, W1. At present, they are working on a public art project in London’s East End, to be made in Italian glass smalti.

2. Joanna Kessel and Tamara Froud with an introduction by  Christopher Smith.



(Photo and mosaic: @tamarafroud)

Mosaic offers a unique opportunity to work with ‘tangible colour’.  This experimental one day workshop, co-tutored by Tamara Froud and Joanna Kessel, will give participants an opportunity to explore colour and the effects created by the material qualities.  The workshop will mainly be practical including some theory.

Christopher Smith will kick start the session with an introduction to the interplay of colour, material and texture.  He will also discuss his work on Paolozzi’s Tottenham Court Road mosaics and the interpretation process, from the highly colourful watercolour and collaged designs into mosaics. 

Joanna and Tamara both have unique approaches to the use of colour and materials within their mosaic artworks.  Their complementary approach will give participants the opportunity to explore colour relationships focusing on; tone, mixing, proportion, balance, material properties (matt and reflective) and texture (physical and visual).  Not forgetting the benefits that come from throwing in an occasional wild card...

Participants will be encouraged to be creative in their experimentation and to enjoy the benefits of working within a group.  During the day people will create a few small samples that will inform a larger individual piece - inspired by a Scottish textile pattern (e.g. tartan, Harris tweed, Fairisle knit design).  Everyone will use the same design but choose an individual colour / material palette.  At the end of the session each individual mosaic will be brought together to form a large group piece, creating an opportunity for us all to learn from each other’s work and to discuss the different approaches and outcomes.  Before taking your individual mosaic home you’ll be encouraged to photograph the group work to use as reference. The workshop will be suitable for all people at all levels.

A range of materials will be provided however participants may wish to bring favourite materials and coloured tesserae to work with.

Joanna Kessel


Tamara Froud works extensively with schools and communities to create site-specific artwork for public and private spaces. Her work can be seen around the South of England and internationally, in Miami, Austria and Chile.

Joanna Kessel studied at Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal College of Art.  She creates exquisitely crafted contemporary mosaics for exhibition - her work is shown internationally, at London Design Fair and this year with the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh.  Joanna is co-organising the Edinburgh Forum.

Christopher Smith worked in conservation and creation of mosaic until 1995, completing over 600 projects. In 1984 he began work on the interpretation and translation of Eduardo Paolozzi’s designs for Tottenham Court Road into mosaic.

3. Dugald MacInnes


Slate of several varieties will be used by the participants in the workshop. Naturally occurring pieces will be made available along with saw-cut slate and it is this combination of the natural and the modified stone, in tandem with minimal use of smalti, that will be explored to create expressive works of art.

In a relaxed and enjoyable environment (a good sense of humour is essential), participants will work on a prepared plywood base and the slate affixed using a commercially-available tile cement, darkened with black Temprapaste.

The approach to the composition of the work will be carefully explained and demonstrated, and participants will be guided throughout the stages of the process.

There will be an emphasis on expressing forces of nature, particularly the geological forces beneath our feet that have shaped and continue to shape our planet. To this end, there will be examples of Dugald’s work on display as a reference point but all taking part will develop their own individual approach.

On completion, arrangements will be made to have your piece/s shipped home, if required.

Dugald MacInnes was born and raised on the west coast of Scotland, a landscape that would imbue him with passion for geology and archaeology. He was familiar with the slate quarries there, a familiarity that was to dramatically re-emerge when he was introduced to its use as an artistic medium by his tutor George Garson at the Glasgow School of Art. Following his graduation, Dugald obtained a degree in geology and, later, a qualification in archaeology; both disciplines providing him with a deeper understanding of the formation of landscape and how peoples throughout the ages have responded to it. It is slate that is Dugald’s principal medium; its variety of colour, texture, and form provides him with a range of approaches to his art.


4. Helen Miles


Do you love the direct method but wish you could make larger mosaics that are easy to transport? Do you have a niche that you’d like to decorate, but it’s in an awkward place? Do you want to mosaic curved surfaces with ease? The answer is simple: the mosaic mesh method.

In this practical, hands-on workshop suitable for all levels of experience you will make a direct method mosaic on mesh from start to (hopefully) finish. This tutorial will start with an examination of the uses and the advantages of the method and then you’ll roll up your sleeves and get to work.

You can either bring along your own design (no larger than 20cm by 20cm) or Helen will provide a variety of designs to choose from and lead you through the method starting with laying out the design, preparing it for work and the process of applying tesserae to the mesh. We will use ceramic tesserae and nippers and aim to have a completed work to take home with you by the end of the day.

All materials will be provided but you are welcome to bring your own tools if you’d like.

Helen Miles learnt how to make mosaics with Greek masters of the craft in Thessaloniki and Athens who taught using traditional methods with a focus on Byzantine iconography. Later, she became fixated with Roman designs and now makes site specific mosaics in marble for a wide variety of clients both in Europe and America as well as writing a popular blog on all manner of mosaic matters.


5. Marian Shapiro -SOLD OUT


Australian mosaic artist Marian Shapiro is well known for her use of three-dimensional hand-formed cement substrates, often giving the illusion of flowing material.  Join her in this fun and practical hands-on session to learn to make lightweight, dimensional, hand-formed substrates suitable for indoor or outdoor.  Working with fibreglass mesh and cement-based adhesive students will create two wall-hanging substrates of their own design for mosaic.   The first will be flat, folded or undulating (or a combination of all three) and the second will be a hollow shape such as a mask or torso using the technique of sand casting. 

As these substrates are made in two stages, students complete the first stage for both substrates during the workshop but will finish them in their own time afterwards.  Sufficient material will be provided to take away. Participants will also finish a half-made substrate (provided by the tutor) in class to give them hands-on experience in completing the process. Full course notes are provided.

This practical course starts off with a presentation giving examples of what can be achieved with this method and offering inspiration to the group.  This is immediately followed by design and construction of the first substrate.  The second substrate is completed after lunch, and the end of the day concentrates on finishing substrates made in this way plus a discussion of the issues to be taken into account when applying mosaic to a 3-d form. Discussion of design issues for this sort of substrate are an integral part of the day.  Participants are actively encouraged to ask questions.

This workshop is suitable for all levels but should particularly benefit those who wish to extend their artistic practice by moving beyond the flat surface to make their own custom substrates. NB: there is no actual mosaicking in this workshop.


Originally trained in art and theatre, Marian Shapiro became fascinated by the possibilities of the ancient art of mosaic in 2002 and has been a full-time working artist since 2003.  Living in the Blue Mountains just outside Sydney, she likes a visual and verbal pun and is well known for her sense of colour and her dimensional mosaic work which gives the impression of movement and material.   Her work is shown and collected nationally and internationally and has also been featured in a numerous books and magazines.   Marian frequently travels both in Australia and abroad to speak and teach.


6. Lillian Sizemore



This is a design course especially for mosaicists.  The workshop will begin with a visual feast of gorgeous images from around the world, in which Lillian Sizemore will introduce the concept of the underlying geometric patterns in nature which are also expressed in the arts, crafts and architecture. Participants will learn to construct a lotus blossom pattern, along with a variety of polygons using hand-drawn geometry. The aim of the workshop is to build confidence and accuracy with compass skills, gain an appreciation for geometry as a design tool and engage with geometry as a visual symbolic language.

Participants will learn basic forms, repeat patterns, and may experiment with their own designs. You will receive handouts, leave with several hand drawn designs. Mosaicists are encouraged to bring photos or actual mosaics for one-on-one dialogue with the instructor on composition and approach.

Materials for Workshop:

Students are required to bring their own materials for this workshop.

Compass (Precision, good quality such as Rotring or Staedtler, opening to at least 6” radius . Additional pen clamp recommended) 

Straight edge ruler (12”-18”)

2H & 2B pencils, sharpener, eraser, sanding pad

Colour pencils, colour markers (to fit in compass pen clamp)

A3 smooth heavy weight (135-140lb) bristol paper pad. (or similar non-textured pad)

Reading glasses, if needed for working close-up

Optional: protractor, stencil templates, french or flexible curves, simple watercolor kit


Compass Recommendations

Rotring Compass set or Helix Compass Set

 Staedtler Basic - (minimum tool for this course)

 (Lillian will have a few basic compasses, rulers, pencils and Bristol paper which will be on hand for those who may need them but are not available for purchase.)



Lillian Sizemore has studied geometry with master geometers Michael S. Schneider, author of “Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe” in USA, and at the renowned Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, learning visual Islamic traditions with Jonathan Horning, Tom Bree, Paul Marchant, Lisa DeLong and many others. She works in the abstract geometric style, and has been a mosaic maker since 1994.