Pebble mosaics – pre-cast method with George Howarth

Ref: SLW31817

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About this course

Learn the pre-cast method of pebble mosaic making where pebbles are placed best side down into a mould and the mosaic is made in reverse, allowing for greater detail and a stronger, more durable product.

Course Description

This course is aimed at those with prior experience of pebble mosaic or those who have completed the traditional method course. The pre-cast method technique offers advantages over the traditional method although more difficult to master. This course aims to build on the design principles taught in the traditional course and give a thorough understanding of this more advanced process from design to construction. Over the course of three days, you will complete a 50cm square practice piece, which you can take home. You will gain the skills and confidence necessary to undertake your own pre-cast projects and take on larger scale mosaics.

The first evening will give an overview of the entire pre-cast process from the complexities of working in reverse and computer aided design through to installation principles for larger pieces.

The first day will consist of a practical design workshop, followed by practice exercises using different pebble shapes and patterns. Mould making will begin in the afternoon and then you will begin your mosaics. You will continue and complete your mosaics on the second day. The tutor will spend the day offering practical assistance and talking you through the process. The day will finish with the casting of your mosaics.

The final day will begin with turning out of the mosaics, followed by a tutorial and demonstration of installation principles. Before finishing the course, there will be an opportunity to explore, discuss and get advice on any any pre-cast projects you may be planning after the course.


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 until 9pm, 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 college will supply most of the materials, including black, white, yellow, red and grey pebbles, sand, grout and wooden moulds.

What students need to bring

  • A pair of thin waterproof gardening gloves
  • Apron
  • Covered sturdy shoes
  • Paper, pencil and rubber
  • A small plastic tub – such as an empty margarine tub
  • You will be working outside throughout the course, so please bring appropriate clothing
  • Bubble wrap or old towels to protect the mosaics while being transported
  • Optional: Any special pebbles/pieces of stone you may like to use (these may or may not be suitable, but we will try to incorporate)
  • Optional: Any preliminary design ideas (We will cover design principles on the first day. Invariably, students will need to modify or re-design their ideas at this stage. Not everything is suitable for the medium.)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art and craft materials, including paper, pencils and rubbers
  • Available from tutor:
  • There will be some ‘Jewel’ pebbles, semi-precious pebbles, such as ammonite, lapis lazuli, slate features and glass nuggets to purchase from the tutor.

Additional information

Please note: Your workshop will be in the Sculpture Courtyard, which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. The Sculpture Courtyard is open on one side, so be prepared for any type of weather. Morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals). Safety boots if possible. Masks are provided, but you might like to bring fitting gloves to work in. Possible equipment restrictions in tutor absence.


George Howarth

George is a pebble mosaic artist and runs Maggy Howarth Studios; a thriving design studio and workshop which has produced hundreds of commissioned artworks over 35 years. He is the son of renowned pebble mosaic artist and creator of the pre-cast technique, Maggy Howarth. George has taught similar courses at Maggy Howarth studios and now brings his expertise to West Dean.


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

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