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Pebbles, Rocks, Shells ... oh my!

a mosaic with pebbles rocks and vitreous tile

I am always so inspired by other artists who are using different and unique tesserae; and pebbles, rocks and shells are among those that are really fun and beautiful to use!

Good friends of mine own property that has a beautiful rocky river flowing through it. While visiting there, I wrangled my girlfriend and our husbands to help collect rocks and pebbles. Not only was it fun, but we found some really pretty ones that I used in a mosaic called "Beneath the Surface" as shown above. Whenever I see this piece, I have fond memories of that time with our good friends.

If you can't find rocks and pebbles, the next best thing is to go to your local hobby store and buy them. Same goes for shells. I live in Florida, and believe it or not, shells are getting hard to find!

The beauty of using pebbles, rocks and shells is that you embed them in a bed of thinset and you don't grout! You can use white thinset or gray and you can even color your thinset before you push your "fun finds" into it. The thinset acts as both your adhesive and your grout, so use a thick bed of thinset that your rocks, pebbles or shells will squish down into for a secure hold.

If you use seashells, fill the inside of the shell completely with thinset before you stick it into the bed of mortar. This protects your shell from breaking if something bumps into it. Also, if you do find your shells on the beach, soak them in clean water for several days, changing the water out daily, to help disinfect them. Then let them dry thoroughly.

So have fun rock hunting and for those of you who hate to grout, this is a great option for you!

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