Interior Design / Kitchen & Bath / Mosaics & Decorative Tile / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

Modernizing an ancient art form

July 14, 2011

Mosaics — like other decorative and glass tile — have the ability to add a splash of pizzazz and personal touch to an interior design. They are ideal for creating a focal point or a touch of artistry in a living space, such as the kitchen of a private residence in Connecticut. The backsplash, which was designed by Sara Baldwin, owner of New Ravenna in Exmore, VA, is an elegantly handcrafted piece that harmonizes well with the stone countertops, cabinetry and other architectural details in the kitchen.

Featured in the backsplash design are Acanthus leaves, which have been used extensively in ancient Greek and Italian art and architecture, and have been said to represent long life. “The leaves are completely classic,” said Baldwin. “They are featured prominently in some of the oldest mosaics that exist.”

The artist explained that she borrowed the Acanthus leave motif and combined it with floral elements of summer to create a one-of-kind design, which has been named “Tamsin.” “Backsplashes are all about romance and seduction,” she said. “The exciting thing about them is that they can make such an impact.”

Baldwinwent on to explain that the “Tamsin” design originally appeared as a floor medallion. “The beauty of this design is that it can be expanded or contracted to virtually any size piece,” she said. “Because it is organic, we can make it bigger or smaller. It can even become a skinny border under a window.”

Each design — such as that used for the backsplash — is made to measure and designed for that particular space, according to Baldwin. “We first do a line drawing, then color it in and then make the mosaics,” she explained. “The client can choose the colors. We do a custom color rendering so they can see what the design will look like.”

The custom mosaic backsplash — as well as all of New Ravenna’s products — are crafted by hand. “We import marble from all over the world and cut it here in Virginia,” said Baldwin. “Then, we have artisans nip the marble pieces to size and place them on top of the pattern — some of our employees are fabulous at blending, so the leaves look as realistic as possible. Finally, we tape-face the mosaic, cut it into interlocking sections like a puzzle, and ship them to your door.”  

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