The mother of mosaics

I love a challenge.

It is only a piece of 42 by 95 centimeters, but it feels very decisive for the rest. Where writers sometimes suffer from writer’s block and stare anxiously at the white paper, I now suffer from a mosaicer’s block and stare anxiously at that piece of white wall.
You can only do it once. Then it’s stuck.

But now I am stuck.


Interestingly enough, I learn a lot from my mosaic students

Not always of course – they usually learn more from me during the mosaic workshops. That is ultimately the intention. But sometimes people do things that surprise me. I find it surprising that everyone makes something completely different, with exactly the same ingredients. Tiles, glue and a plasterboard.

You don’t need much to make something beautiful.

It started a while ago. The overarching theme is everywhere: fairy tales. Not the usual one Disney has already rui … excuse me, used, but unknown ones. In the mena time, they’re well known to me, because I once borrowed this book from my sister and never returned it (sorry Mathilda! Now you finally know!). I thought it were such beautiful stories, and it stimulated my imagination.
You can tell, because I have had it since I was six.


Together with my mosaic buddy Astrid and enthusiastic volunteer Viola we started above the entrance to the main hall.

If you work together with people, it’s useful to communicate with pictures. Otherwise it becomes very difficult to explain what kind of images you have in your mind.

I often recommend that to mosaic workshoppers

Do you want to make a dolphin? Look for a picture, preferably a drawing, so that you have the silhouette. That is ultimately what it is all about. Now the last mosaicists wanted something different: a colorful heart (a familiar shape, especially for young girls), a butterfly (here a drawing comes in handy), and the portrait of the youngest daughter (you can do this by heart – and the daughter’s right next to you).

You don’t need a drawing, because that image is engraved in your heart, of course. That is, if you are her mother. I thought it was a daring project for a first time mosaic, but as you can see it worked beautifully! The most important thing for me was the choice of background.

I generally do not interfere with anything – that is, I have the material and the knowledge, but I stay away of the design- and color choices. That is up to the maker. I always hated it when my boys went to “craft” at school – that usually meant that the teacher had everything ready, and that they had to stick it together a bit and then color it.

All very bland. Also something I learned from!

Mother chose a very busy pointilistic tile as the background. Okay. I didn’t have to bite my tongue, but I had to restrain myself from saying that I wasn’t going to say anything about it. But I didn’t say that! Well done!
And afterwards I’m very content, because it is beautiful.


And it is inspiring. Learned something again. The only challenge for me now is to overcome that mosaicer’s block, find the right tiles, and then come up with those 42 by 85 centimeters!


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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

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