Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art

Small-Scale Mosaic Mural Elements for Garden, Home or Street

August 4 - 6, 2017
Friday - Sunday 9:30 - 4:30
Workshop $425
Materials $65
Some experience with mosaic suggested
For more information or to register:


Not ready to jump into a large-scale project but still want to make something awesome for your garden wall (or school… interior…park…streetscape…)?

In Laurel’s small-scale mosaic mural workshop, students will learn how to make mosaic elements that can be created in a couple of days and look great installed on a wall as unique, single elements or as part of a larger arrangement.

Laurel calls this technique “appliqué”, indicating affixing a specific shape (usually fabric, but in this case mosaic) onto a larger background.

Whether a mosaic flower for your garden wall, a mosaic butterfly to be done with a group of school kids, or something to be installed in the public sphere, students will learn how to make mural-like elements using the same principals Laurel teaches in her Mosaic Mural Making workshops, but on a smaller scale.

Students will design and create a mural element using the tile tape method, which can be installed later in an environment of their choice. 

Laurel will share her secrets, tips and tricks for successful, lasting installations, engaging students through demonstration and hands-on participation in installation and grouting techniques, using sample elements that will be installed at Santa Barbara Mosaic School. 

Workshop will cover:

  • Design development, color coding and planning techniques
  • Appropriateness and correct preparation of substrate to receive mosaic
  • How to work with Laurel’s signature mirrored lines*, including cutting mirror strips of various widths and thicknesses and thinking of these lines as “the bones” of a design
  • Working with ceramic tile and/ or glass and what the limitations of specific materials are in various climates
  • Selecting and creating various cuts and shapes of tile/ glass for specific areas of a design
  • Use of mosaic tools for best effect, including Laurel’s “Left Hand Theory
  • Use of the contact paper/ tile tape method (vs.using fiberglass mesh)
  • Dividing and coding larger elements for easy one-person installation
  • How to be a Radical Thin-Set Geek
  • Application of an even mortar bed for painless installation
  • Grouting with a finished, professional edge for a graceful transition onto background
  • Suggestions and inspirations for finishing wall behind mosaic elements

In this fun, information-rich workshop students will work in the company of other creative makers, while benefiting from Laurel’s more than 25 years of experience making mosaic murals and architectural elements around the world.

Students are welcome to bring special colors and materials to incorporate in their small-scale mural elements, provided they are the same thickness. 

Design templates ranging from approximately 12” x 12” to 20 “ x 20” will be provided that students can use or adapt, or, they can bring their own design. 

Patterns include: Flower, bird, dragonfly, butterfly, radial/ mandala, heart, lizard, lotus

Note: instructor will work with students to simplify or create more complexity in their designs as appropriate for duration of workshop.


* Laurel started making architectural mosaics after an apprenticeship with street artist Isaiah Zagar, whose work is characterized by flowing mirrored lines and large fields of broken tile. She has been incorporating mirror into her work ever since, adapting it to her own style and methods. Laurel gives props to her mentor and teacher for passing this down to her.