Mosaic Masters

An Artisan’s view
Alessandra di Gennaro and Romuald Mesdagh, Mosaic Masters

Honours graduates at Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli – the only legally recognised mosaic master training institution in the world – Alessandra di Gennaro and Romauld Mesdagh moved to Venice to become a part of the long-forgotten Venetian mosaic art tradition. In their workshop Artefact in the Castello district, they use only the finest Murano glass to craft their iconic ‘made-to-measure’ mosaic art. The foundations for their beautifully inventive and unique modern style are rooted in the value of handcraft and the search for beauty.

An Artisan’s view
Alessandra di Gennaro, Master Mosaic Artist

How did you become involved in your craft?

For me it was a complete coincidence. I was living in Rome, studying at university and working for a contemporary artist, when a friend of mine discovered a small historic mosaic workshop. I started taking lessons there, and the more I discovered about the mosaic craft, the more passionate I became. I then set my sights on the Scuola Mosaicisti del Friuli, where I met Romuald. We studied together, we graduated together, so naturally we opened our studio here in Venice together.

What was the last skill you learned in your craft?

Mosaic artisans typically use a hammer to cut the glass, but lately a great artisan friend introduced me to a whole new way of shaping mosaic glass – with fire. With it we can enrich the normally rigid lines of mosaic with the soft curves only possible through fusion with fire.

What is the most meditative part of your process?

Each mosaic project has a very long meditative path, from receiving a photograph or a painting, and then trying to mimic but also enrich the same image in mosaic form. Checking my work at the end of the day is a particularly contemplative part of my process.

An Artisan’s view
Romuald Mesdagh, Master Mosaic Artist

What inspires you in Venice?

Everything! Everything is beautiful. Craftsmanship in Venice can be seen at the corner of every calle and campo. This city, standing on poles and mud, is still standing to this day thanks to genius artisans, craftsmen and builders. It instills in me a desire to follow this tradition.

Is your craft still relevant in Venice?

Mosaic in Venice has a rich history and boasts great names, like Salviati, and Facchina who invented a special mosaic technique just for the Opera Garnier in Paris. Venetian Mosaic artisans were specially called to work on St. Peter’s in Rome. Even if things have changed since the Serenissima, Venice continues to be a worldwide centre for mosaics, and Venetian mosaic artisans have spread across the globe.