Most of us know that a mosaic is an assemblage of tiny tiles that come together to make an image. But did you know that there are several ways to add movement and flow or andamento to your mosaic?
Andamento is determined by placement of tesserae and there are many ways to draw the eye to or away from the central motif or background of your design using one or more opus – or pattern.
For more basic mosiacs, opus regularum and opus tessellatum can be used. Opus regulatum is a square design where all if the tiles line up vertically and horizontally and opus tesselatum is variation on opus regularum where the tiles only like up horizontally or vertically, in a brick-like pattern. In the mosaic bird house below, the roof has an opus regularum pattern and the front and sides of the bird house have an opus tessellatum pattern.
Opus palladianum or crazy paving is great to use as a background. Opus palladianum involved randomly placing tesserae in the main motif or background. This pattern is great for beginners and experienced mosaic artist mostly because placing random tesserae isn’t always so random! This image looks like an assortment of random tile, but believe it or not, it take a bit of time to make this mosaic look random.
Opus sectile uses large shaped pieces of tesserae for the main motif.
One really great way to incorporate opus sectile into your mosaic is by using pieces cut from stained glass.
Opus vermiculatum is a curvy, winding type of pattern. It is often used to create movement in the main motif and around it like in the picture below. When it is used throughout the background or entire mosaic, opus vermiculatum is known as opus musivum. When opus vermiculatum take a fan shape, it is known as opus circumactum.