Mosaics for beginners and improvers with Martin Cheek

Ref: SWE32935

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About this course

Develop your creativity using different ceramic and glass tiles. You will learn techniques for laying, grouting and cutting tiles into tesserae.

Course Description

Develop your creativity in mosaic design, using different ceramic and glass tiles. You will learn techniques for laying, grouting and cutting tiles into tesserae. Learn about the wonderful craft of making mosaics and create a unique piece of art, using colourful glass and ceramic tiles.

On the first evening, the tutor will give a slide show, showing the ancient production of Millefiori and Venetian smalti, as well as his own techniques for making glass fusions. The tutor will illustrate this talk with examples of his own work.

You will design and make a mosaic, either A3: 30 x 42cm, 30 x 30 cm or A4: 30 x 21 cm in area. The size is limited to ensure you can complete your design by the end of the course.

The tutor will cover numerous techniques to help your understanding of mosaic design, with a focus on the direct mosaic technique used to create your design. This method allows you to see your design as you add the pieces. Grouting techniques are also covered.

The tutor will bring a great selection of materials to use, including Venetian and Mexican smalti, Millefiori, vitreous glass and ‘Cinca’ unglazed ceramic tesserae, as well as the tutor’s handmade glass fusions, millefiori and murrini.

The course includes a lecture on Roman techniques, demonstrations and individual one-to-one tuition, ensuring you go home fully inspired and equipped to continue to make mosaics at home.

Course Materials


  • The College will supply the MDF and glue and some equipment for you to use during the course, including scissors, mosaic tile nippers, dustpan and brush, safety glasses, etc.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring your inspiration and reference material with you. This could be a drawing of your own, an image taken from your favourite book or greetings card, or even a piece of wrapping paper. Ideally, this should be blown up to the same size as your chosen mosaic size.
  • It is essential that you bring one, or ideally two, design ideas for your mosaic. Your design should be simple and preferably in black and white. You can bring other reference material with you for colours, etc. You will need two copies of each design, so please bring them along or you can photocopy them at the College.
  • A notebook /sketchbook, pencils and a digital camera (if available)
  • Work clothes – preferably an apron
  • Enclosed toe footwear (essential)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art and craft materials, including sketchbooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, rubbers, aprons, etc.
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will provide glass and ceramic mosaic materials – please pay him before the end of the course by cash, cheque or Paypal.
  • Prices range from £18 per kg for unglazed, ceramic tiles and vitreous glass to £35 per kg for Venetian Smalti glass. It is therefore difficult to give a specific cost for a project.
  • 1kg of vitreous glass/unglazed ceramic tiles covers an area of A3 in size or 500g covers an area of A4 in size with no allowance for wastage. It is therefore possible to make a small mosaic for as little as £9.
  • Smalti requires 17kg to cover 1 square metre. 2kg would cover 1 square foot.
  • Millefiori £12 per 100g and the tutor’s handmade infusions £20 per 100g
  • (100g of fusions covers an area approximately equal to a postcard.)
  • Please note: material prices constantly change, so these prices are not guaranteed.

Additional information

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


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)

General Information


Martin Cheek

Martin Cheek has been making mosaics for over 30 years and is the author of seven best selling books on the subject. He hand makes every piece of fused glass for his mosaics, each batch sometimes requiring several firings in the kiln to get it right. There is always some mystery in what the glass will do in the metamorphic process of heat.


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

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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.