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The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook
The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Edition Notes: Revised and Expanded Second Edition
Author Statement: by Maggy Howarth
Audience: Trade
Specs: 400 color photographs and illustrations, design templates, further reading, appendices, index
Pages: 256
Trim Size: 8 3/8" X 11 1/4" X 13/16"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20090201
Copyright Year: 2009
Price: Select Below


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The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook

This comprehensive, one-of-a-kind sourcebook is now revised and expanded with 32 additional pages. Ideal for architects, landscape designers and home crafters, it features authoritative text and beautiful photographs that explore classic and new mosaic materials, designs, tools and techniques.

The book opens with a section on techniques used in designing, making and installing pebble mosaics, including information on patterns, mosaics for frost-prone areas, how to pre-cast a mosaic, computer-aided patterns and unusual materials. Step-by-step photographs with clear how-to instructions show how each project is made. Maggy Howarth shares her designs templates for:

  • Allover patterns and interlacing patterns
  • Repeating centric patterns and borders
  • Celestial forms and geometrics
  • Humans and mythological figures
  • Reptiles, fish, insects, birds and other animals
  • Flowers, trees and other plants.
  • There is also a special section that explores pebble mosaics as a decorative art throughout history. Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook is a rich resource of design ideas, many based on Howarth's personal creations.


    Maggy Howarth is one of the world's leading authorities on pebble mosaics. Her commissions fetch high prices and appear in city squares, hospital grounds and public gardens and fountains. She teaches at the Chicago Mosaic School, and her summer workshops in the U.K. sell out year after year.


    This new edition brings a fresh look at some aspects of the art of pebble mosaics: new artists, new developments and new materials. In the last four years I have acquired a role as information gatherer, archivist and facilitator, putting artists, craftsmen and technicians in contact with each other across the world - in addition to responding to pleas for advice. So, there's plenty of news! It's a pleasure to show you some recent pebble mosaics that have been made all over the world, by both professional artists and enthusiastic amateurs.
    Catching the pebble "bug" can be life-changing: conscious of our mortality we grasp at the idea of permanence. There is a spiritual satisfaction to be gained from the careful placing of natural stones in rhythmic patterns and bonding them together like fossils in a lava flow. There is a basic appeal in the pebble as a found object, formed by the great forces of nature, recalling memories of happy childhood days spent on sunny beaches. We are naturally drawn to the smoothness of rounded stone; it's a small and perfect emblem of the earth we walk on. When we pick up a pebble and marvel at its beauty, we are holding a chunk of our planet; and when we pick up handfuls, and arrange them together in patterns we are reflecting the universe. Children love to do it; so do adults, if they give themselves the time to play. Some take it one step further, to make their collection of stones into something more permanent: designing, making and then leaving for posterity a pebble mosaic.
    However, even for the long-lived mosaic, times are changing. Today, imported pebbles from the Far East have become widely available and have altered the appearance and color of pebblework and, to some extent, our attitude. I regret the loss of those long days on the beach or the riverbank, searching for pristine and perfect material. Collecting our own pebbles brings a local distinctiveness to the craft, impossible to reproduce with foreign imports. But we have to use what we can get and, at least for the moment, the imports seem to be endless, whereas our own supplies are increasingly protected or unavailable.
    There have been other changes too. Commercial products such as "pebble tiles" have become widely available. They are cheap and cheerful and presented as a fashionable design solution, less permanent by nature, but more easily and cheaply achieved than the hand-made original genre. While we must recognize the trend, and to some extent adjust to the influence of fashion, I hope that the reader will once more indulge me as I bang the drum for the best and only the best in pebble mosaic. No half-measures.
    Design is everything! At the end of the day it is the designs with real artistic merit which will be valued and preserved. And good design for pebble mosaic means precise drawing, making use of the special shapes and properties of natural pebbles, and giving due consideration to the context in which the mosaic is to be placed. Within these guidelines, the solutions are endless. I never cease to be amazed at the variety of effects produced with the same materials by different artists and craftsmen.
    Bear in mind that it is never too late to change the design while it is still on paper. The process of making a mosaic is so laborious and time-consuing the it pays to be absolutely sure that the design is the best that you can do.
    Make it last! I must enter a plea for permanence. It takes an effort of will and great patience to maintain the highest standards of durability in materials and construction; but a mosaic of real beauty which will also last for hundreds of years is our ultimate aim.
    So, what you will see in this book is the best of pebble mosaic. The examples have been chosen on the basis that they are either original or inventive, or otherwise interesting for some aspect of their material construction. What we all know as "worthy projects" have not been included. Also, "complete" editions are never truly complete, and I hope to continue to gather information and bring it into the public domain in the future.
    My courses and workshops in the art of pebble mosaic are documented here. I know that people love to have personal one-on-one teaching, and the experience has also been rewarding for me. But it is my hope that the newly inspired will be brave enough to learn from the step-by-step sequences in this book without recourse to expensive workshop tuition. Many have done so from my previous books.
    All newcomers to the art are welcome to make use of designs in Section 3 as a starting-point for their work; although (please!) not for profit. Having gained experience and confidence, when you go on to make your own designs, do let me see your creations. I am always interested and forever thankful.

    - Maggy Howarth


    The Complete Pebble Mosaic
    Section 1: Core Techniques
    The Basic Principles
    Methods for In-situ Pebble Mosaic
    Precast Technique for Pebble Mosaic
    Using the Computer to Make Patterns for Pebble Mosaic
    More Ideas for Pebble Mosaic
    New Developments in Pebble Mosaic
    Section 2: Around the World
    Pebble Mosaic Traditions from Around the World
    Contemporary Pebble Mosaicists
    Section 3: Gazetteer of Design Ideas
    A Selected Further Reading
    B Directory of Pebble Mosaic Artists
    General Index
    Photo Credits

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