Relying on artistic skill

March 21, 2002
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Skilled artisans at Artsaics Studios in Deer Park, NY, create one-of-a-kind mosaic patterns.

Unlike the typical stone fabrication plant, the workspace of Artsaics Studios in Deer Park, NY, does not feature heavy machinery, overhead cranes or forklifts. Rather, the atmosphere is one of quiet concentration, as artisans carefully assemble intricate custom mosaics from a broad range of stone materials.

Artsaics Studios was founded three years ago by Nelson Londo¿o, a native of Colombia, who began creating mosaics for Old Country Tile several years ago. In fact, he still displays the first mosaic he designed ¿ a showroom piece for Old Country Tile ¿ in his studios in Deer Park.

Londo¿o started the business three years ago, and the company moved into its current location a year later. ¿A lot of people don¿t understand [creating] mosaics,¿ he said. ¿It¿s not about huge machinery. It¿s about having talent working with stone.¿ The fabricating process begins with 12- x 12- x 3/8-inch tiles, which are cut into 5/8- and 3/8-inch-square mosaic pieces. All of the cutting is done at night using two Felker saws, and the company has also begun working with an 8-blade saw. All of the saws utilize blades from Alpha.

After the mosaic pieces are cut, they are stored in one of nearly 300 individually marked storage drawers, so the artisans can easily choose which pieces they need for a design. During assembly of the mosaics, the pieces are split as needed using presses that were originally built for bending wire. These presses were modified by Londo¿o, who added carbide tips that allow them to split stone.

Londo¿o explained that the designs are usually based on nature, with a lot of flowers and shadowing. ¿It¿s a realistic style,¿ he said, adding that in addition to mosaic pieces, some of the designs have used larger pieces that were ground by hand to achieve a three-dimensional effect.

Most of the work produced by the company is custom, according to Londo¿o. ¿We don¿t want to compete with [producers of] stock patterns.¿ The company only sells through distributors, and in addition to the New York metropolitan area, Artsaics is producing work for distributors around the Northeast, including firms in Maine, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. For more complicated projects, the firm will work with a designer after the initial details are worked out with the distributor. ¿The design process can be complex,¿ Londo¿o said. ¿It take starts with an idea and matures over time.¿

Although the company has shown steady growth during its short life, the progress has required a great deal of hard work, according to Londo¿o. ¿The biggest challenge is taking something from an idea and making it a reality,¿ he said. ¿In three years, we¿ve accomplished a lot, but it takes perseverance.¿

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