Case Study
In this section you can find the step-by-step guide to the creation and installation of the Medusa commission
Some design considerations, before getting started.

study1_1 study1_2


Decision made!

The original Medusa image.
Courtesy of the Isabella Stuart Gardner
Museum, Boston, USA.

Double Meander


The first very basic mock-up.
The technique and approach for creating the emblema!
The technique used is the Double Reverse method which was first used in Ravenna, Italy circa 4AD
•The design (see alongside) is copied and the cartoon transferred onto a temporary base of hydrated lime for the build to begin.
•The tesserae are hand cut and set into this temporary base.
With regular watering this soft base remains workable for a long time enabling corrections and adjustments at any time during the build.
•This is the most common and effective manner to recreate ancients mosaics. The work can be executed slowly allowing the reproduction of every single tessera from the original.

Stage 1 ~ Completing the design
Introducing the tools of the trade
Just as the Romans would have used: the hardie and the mosaic hammer.
Each tessera for the emblema was cut and shaped using only these tools.

Stage 2 ~ Creating the central emblema
Stage 2b ~ The emblema in detail
Stage 2c ~ Medusa appears!
Stage 3 ~ Removing Medusa from the temporary base, glueing multi-layers of gauze to the face of the mosaic.
A strong water soluble glue made from rabbit bones ~ maintaining the Roman traditions.
Stage 3a ~ The delicate exercise of removing the mosaic from the temporary lime base.
Cutting behind the mosaic; the complete piece is removed from the temporary base with the face of the mosaic remaining firmly attached to the gauze.
Stage 3b ~ Now it’s possible to turn the mosaic
over and work on the under-side to ensure all
the lime is removed.
Stage 3c ~ With the under-side now clean,
the cement is prepared and the mosaic finally
set onto its permanent base.
Stage 3d ~ With the mosaic set onto the base,
the gauze can now be removed and Medusa

As the glue is water soluble, wet cloths are laid over the mosaic to dissolve the glue and thus enable the gauze to be removed.
Stage 3e ~ Cleaning and removing the remaining
traces of rabbit glue
Stage 4 ~ Laying out the surround;
2.66m x 1.74m, meant working in the garage!
Stage 4 ~ Finally complete!
2.66m x 1.74m; Finished and ready for delivery. The design around the emblema is Opus Circumnactum.

Stage 5 ~ For transportation
and ease of installation,
the mosaic was cut into 9 sections leaving
the central emblema intact.

Just a few of the sections.
Stage 6 ~ Preparing and reinforcing
the base of the pergola. First day on site

The boards are cemented onto the original base, the joints reinforced and everything is prepared for the following day.
Stage 6a ~ Second day.
All elements of the mosaic are inter-connected
and installed,
the emblema is integrated.
Stage 6b ~ Second day.
Cleaning between the joints and ensuring
the mosaic looks perfect!
Stage 6c ~ Third day.
The mosaic is laid
and the joints are prepared for the grout.
Stage 6d ~ Third day.
Cleaning and final quality control
Stage 6e ~ Scenes of the finished masterpiece
The Medusa Project