News stuff plus how to set out Opus Circulatum as background
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     Roman Mosaic Workshops
May 2nd 2014 Newsletter

Workshop news
I've a large marble order due in the week after next  and I'm following up another supplier who can deliver a lot more of the coloured marbles. That will be great if it comes off but it won't be for another month or so. my new camcorder will be here next week to so watch out for a lot of totally inane video diary entries while I test it out. 

What's going on
 I'll be at Rosebery Park in Surrey doing a living history demonstration on May 31st, just for the 1 day. I've not done a demo for a while so I'm making up more display panels to show using the staff.

I had a student on one of the new hammer and hardie full day workshops recently. It was interesting to see how quickly she managed to pick it up, one reason for this is she was a pianist so not only was she used to putting her weight down through her arms to her fingers but her wrists were relaxed which made it easier for her to flex them. One problem at the start is always where you lock your wrist which forces you to move your elbow and shoulder which you must avoid. 
For details of this and other workshops click here
Opus Circulatum
Seen as a background and also makes up a type of border pattern. I'm just showing here how to set it as background.
1. Work out what size you want each element to be, here I've made each one 10 tesserae width. This gives a radius (centre to outside) of 5 tess. 
2. Create a grid, each box should be 5 tess. x 5 tess. You can see that the circles are drawn in on A. The next row below the circles are drawn with the spike of the compass off set by one box.
If you set this out using a staff then B is where you would gauge your mark to be.
3. This shows how the lines (andamento) can be set. You set out your internal borderline, marked in red, then you fill in as if you are setting concentric circles but near the centre the lines become straight.
4. This shows you a 'correct' pattern. Compare this with the photo of an original section below.
As you can see the pattern used in this background section is definitely Opus Circulatum but to a modern eye is very scruffy. Look at any number of original pieces and you'll see that they weren't too concerned about everything being exact, so long as it looked alright from a distance, which they do.
If you want to incorporate this as background to a figure mosaic then I would mark a staff at point B (see section 2 above). This marking equates to all 3 points on each element of the pattern. Set your figure then using the staff just set the triangles of the base of each element. Unless you really want a precise mosaic then this way will make it a little more 'relaxed'! By marking where each triangle goes you should be able to set the background allowing it to disappear behind the figure then reappear on the other side.
I've the hare mosaic to finish in the workshop so I'll set this background and photograph it in stages.
Until next week!

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