Autumn entices our creativity with richly coloured and formed decorative pumpkins. For our autumn decoration I choose a collection of flat shaped pumpkins
Pumpkins, to biologists also known as cucurbits, are counted among the oldest cultivated plants. For more than 12’000 years have people cultivated the multifarious plant. It was the calabash, a cigar shaped pumpkin, that was first introduced in Europe and the Roman Empire via Egypt where it was known since about 2500 BC.
As autumn approaches and the days grow shorter we like to decorate the interior of our homes and even offices with candles and tee lights. Yet simple tee light enclosed in a bland glass jar appears cold and lifeless.
In a small outburst of creativity I decided to transform my tee lights into warmer and more colourful objects and what better than to use my many coloured mosaic tiles to beautify the glass jars.
Candles exist for at least 7000 years and originated in the Middle East. However these primal candles had little in common with candles as we know them today. The consisted of straw, hemp or reed which was dipped in animal fat or resin and thus resembled torches more than candles.
The “modern” candle was developed by the Romans during the second century. She carried the advantage of burning with far less fumes and thus greatly reducing the danger of fire.
The treasury chest was one of my very spontaneous ideas when I browsed a small creativity fare in Munich.
As a matter of fact it was a Matryoshka set of three treasury chests: a bigger chest containing a smaller chest which contained an even smaller chest.
The first chest gobbled up some of my everyday jewellery, while the second chest immediately was claimed by my younger son, aged eight at the time.
And of course he would not want it bland as it came, he wanted it to become a true treasure chest where he would safely stow away his most cherished objects.
Painting was too ordinary. He leered at the new golden mosaic tiles. It had to be them, and the symbols he intended to depict on the chest were obvious too- after all nobody should touch his treasure chest – not ever!
Even in roman times dogs were the most widespread companion animal throughout the empire.
Accordingly dogs featured in many of their mosaics covering entrance areas or patios of many roman villas.
What do Japanese stepping stones have in common with Pompeii the city of the thousand mosaics?
Stepping stones were already used in Pompeii and other Roman cities to enable its citizens to cross the often flooded or waste covered streets without any inconvenience.
At the same time carriages were able to pass the stepping stones which left enough space for their large wooden wheels.
In Japanese gardens stepping stones had very same very practical function, allowing to stroll through the gardens without soiling expensive clothes and shoes.
Stepping stones are ideal surfaces to cover with mosaics as they are large enough to covert hem with more intricate motives and at the same time one can even tell mosaic stories across a series of stepping stones thus inspiring the stroller.
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The dolphin is the favourite motive of our customers everywhere. This comes as no surprise as dolphin are perceived as intelligent, playful, friendly or even helpful to man and thus associate strongly positive impression. Countless are the stories of fishermen being guided towards land or ships through shallows by dolphins.
Today we know that dolphins belong to the few species who recognize themselves in mirrors and command a vocal language with at least 300 different expressions. The movement of dolphins and their bent shape in conjunction with a friendly looking rounded snout, their large eyes and their powerful moves jumping high above the ocean’s wave creates associations of lightness, freedom and mastery of the elements.
Giving flowers always feels special, but even more special when encased in a classy flower pot.
It is the beautiful 2 hued faience-colors of these blue Soft-Bits tiles that let this flower pot radiate an almost ethereal glint.
Of course not everyone likes to break larger tiles wrapped in cloth with a hammer. Not only can splinters cause injury but also does such a harsh treatment result in substantial material loss and surface abrasion of the bits that you actually can use for your mosaic.
Sharp edges are another inconvenience and cause for future splintering or cracking when exposed to freezing temperatures.
This is why Alea designed the Soft-Bits.