Mosaic People

When I saw mosaic flooring in the public Baths of Caracalla in Rome, I was in awe. Each little piece of that flooring was carefully placed to create a design on the floor. The closer I looked at it, the more I realised how painstakingly they must have been placed in those times when factories weren’t churning out machine-made mosaic tiles. Of course, this is some of the simpler mosaic that the world has seen. There exist full-fledged, intricate, heavily-detailed works of mosaic art. There was even some in Pompeii, buried and perfectly preserved for 2000 years. (Don’t worry: I’m going somewhere with this…)

Mosaic Floor in Pompeii
Baths of Caracalla
Baths of Caracalla
In Pompeii

The Day I Was Mean To My Dog Bacchus

I chanced upon this article yesterday. It ties in closely with my last post and makes a great point: Everything we do is the real us. If, at times, we’re mean, unkind, uncaring, cruel, that’s a real side of our true selves too. Every such facet, whether good or bad, makes up our whole being. We have several dimensions and may be kind one day and hurtful the next. It’s all part of who we are.

Perhaps we’re afraid of admitting, even to ourselves, that that side of us exists; we want to think of ourselves as inherently good people. We may be, we probably are, but that doesn’t mean we don’t possess those unattractive streaks. I wrote about going against one’s nature; maybe I think it’s “against my nature” because it isn’t a pretty side of me and maybe that’s part of why I feel guilty, along with the possibility that I know I’ve been hurtful and I’m able to tell right from wrong, kind from unkind, niceness from meanness.

Maybe you get angry easily; that’s the real you. Maybe you apologise immediately for being rude; that’s the real you, while you’re being rude and while you’re feeling guilty and while you’re apologising and while you’re making it up to the wounded party. Maybe you are calm sometimes and impatient sometimes; you are always the real you. What you’re doing at every moment is defining who you are at that moment, and each flash is a part of you.

Perhaps we will be able to subdue those sides of us we don’t like very much, which we don’t want representing us. Perhaps we will be successful in not letting them surface often. Perhaps we will be able to keep a tighter leash on our ability to be hurtful in the moment, regretting it later. But that will come only with awareness of our good and bad qualities. We may all want to think of ourselves as good, kind, warm people, but we must be able to admit that we have moments when we give in to our baser instincts, when we get angry, when we don’t care, when we are selfish and mean and hurtful. As that article mentions, if you think that isn’t really you, you’re kidding yourself.

It’s like a intricate piece of mosaic art: Each tiny, little piece is an integral part of it, adds color to it, gives it shape, perhaps makes it unique…even the pieces close to its border, which we may not think are important, which we may choose to ignore, complete the picture. And although there may be a few pieces in the mosaic which are ugly, which look like they shouldn’t belong there, they exist, they lend some more character, and, if we’re looking at it right, cannot detract from the splendour and beauty of the entire work.

6 thoughts on “Mosaic People

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Usually the guilt makes you deny that the mean person saying nasty things is actually you…but denial doesn’t change the truth! :) Like the link to mosaic art!

    On a side note- I love reading your blog but I don’t know if someone has said this to you or not, but the colour scheme- the white on black makes it a little stressful on the eyes [or perhaps mine are just getting weaker with age :)]. Everytime I finish reading your post (especially if it’s a longer one) I end up seeing spots for a few seconds. And that experience sometimes takes away from the pleasure of reading the words. Perhaps an alternative colour scheme which soothes the eyes. Just a suggestion! Don’t kill me for ruining your aesthetic sense! :)

    1. Thank you! It’s a tough fact to face, certainly, but, you’re right, denial doesn’t change it.

      About the color scheme, it’s certainly not age (what a joke, Neha! :) Mine would go before yours!) I’ve actually found white on black less stressful on the eyes, because it isn’t as bright and glaring as a white background and black print. Or maybe that’s just me. Also, I find it’s more in keeping with the dark-ish mood of the blog, in a way, don’t you think? ;) (Partially kidding.) I’ve tried other color options in this theme as well as other themes, but I keep coming back to this somehow. I’m really sorry that it does that to you though, and now it makes me appreciate you reading my blog even more and that means a LOT to me! Thank you so much for that!

  2. Regarding the mosaic work–I certainly understand the hard work that the Romans went through when creating those beautiful mosaic floors. I have just been working for six hours straight on an all hand made mosaic piece, for which I also (painstakingly) hand-made all the mosaic pieces. A square foot of mosaic takes me about 4-5 hours to set!

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that and providing insight into what it’s really like working on mosaic pieces. I imagine it must take great amounts of patience and dedication to create these incredibly detailed works of art.

      Thank you, also, for visiting my blog and for taking the time to leave a comment. :)

      1. You are welcome.
        I should mention that this is the first time for me to make a large-scale mosaic, so with practice I am sure I can “speed up” my process a bit.

        The time-consuming part is the cutting of individual pieces. Geometric patterns with linear designs are faster to set, but anything more “organic” looking will eventually require to make a lot of cuts to fill the gaps along curves etc. where pieces don’t fit.

        The tiles I made were made from clay, and then glazed. When working with marble (as I assume most Romans did), the process may be different–I don’t have any experience with marble yet.

        Here is an image of what I have so far… still lots of work ahead!

        1. Again, thank you for sharing the link to your work!

          That is gorgeous, even in its incomplete state. The colors are beautiful and you have obviously put in a lot of work and heart into it. I can see what you mean about the “organic” curves and having to fill the spaces created by them. That fine work, of course, adds to the beauty of the piece and must make it more valuable than a relatively simpler one made of nothing but straight lines.

          I suppose marble would be less pliable or yielding than clay and, hence, more time-consuming to work with.

          This is somehow bringing me to the thought (or realisation) that there is no beauty without hard work and time.

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