Mosaics – material exploration with Vanessa Benson

Ref: SWE09487

Suitable for all

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About this course

Explore mosaics working with different materials including ceramic, stone and glass. Learn how to break these materials up, how this process widens the medium's potential and use this knowledge to develop your own designs.

Course Description

This course aims to introduce you to the qualities of mosaics that distinguish it from other media. Mosaics may be used in many different contexts such as interior or garden design, as clothing of architecture or sculpture, and as fine art or decoration. It is a very tactile as well as visual medium and has the potential to include a wide range of materials, we aim to look at the qualities that different materials contribute to your work and you will be encouraged to explore them in a creative and supportive environment.

You will have an opportunity to play with materials and discover how they affect each other as neighbours and collaborators. You will be working on individual projects adhering materials directly onto a base. You may wish to follow a design, or allow the materials to suggest ideas to you, taking a more intuitive approach. Copying mosaics is not encouraged, as one of the aims of this course is to interact imaginatively with the materials and the medium as well as learning a set of skills. You will have an opportunity to practice using the hammer and hardy to break up stone, as well as other tools such as tile nippers for more regular materials.

By the end of the course, you will be able to work independently on projects using the direct method, distinguish a number of different styles commonly used in the medium, and research and develop ideas for further projects. This course offers opportunity to all, for the beginner to discover, and those with some experience the space and support to develop their skills, in this creative environment.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes a pack of mosaic tiles, grout and a base.

What students need to bring

  • No required preparation is necessary; however if there are some materials you have collected that you think may be suitable please bring them. If you would like to bring your own base to work on different to the one we provide please do so. Also bring ideas for designs.
  • Apron
  • Enclosed toe footwear (essential)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A range of vitreous and unglazed tiles will be available for purchase.
  • We have a generously stocked craft shop, which opens daily from 8.30am-2pm.
  • For any materials you need to purchase from the shop, we suggest you do so during the first morning of your course, after having discussed with your tutor.
  • Available from tutor:
  • A limited range of Smalti glass, stone, and unspecified material will be available for purchase from the tutor.

"The studios are so well equipped and have such a perfect atmosphere for working on projects. They run efficiently without anyone being obtrusive or making students feel intimidated. Considering the range of abilities on courses, everyone is catered for."

Rebecca, 2019


Vanessa Benson

Vanessa Benson is a London-based Artist working predominantly in the mosaic medium. She studied painting at Camberwell School of Art and lived in Italy for 8 years in the 80's, where she studied mosaics She has been teaching mosaics in adult education and running community projects since 1993.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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