Mosaics – an exploration with materials with Vanessa Benson

Ref: SWE29386

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

Explore the qualities of mosaics and their use in interior or garden design, as clothing of architecture or sculpture, and as fine art or decoration. This tactile and visual medium has the potential to include a wide range of materials.

You will have an opportunity to experiment 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. You will be able to recognise and choose which style(s) to work in. 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 practise 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 for those with some experience the space and support to develop their skills in a 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 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 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 from the one we provide, please do so. Please bring ideas for designs.
  • Apron
  • Enclosed toe footwear (essential)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials
  • Available from tutor:
  • A limited range of Smalti glass, stone and unspecified material will be available for purchase from the tutor.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


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.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.