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PO Box 1551, Vienna, VA 22183 - (703) 856-5160

Using Smalti in a Painterly Way with Mireille Swinnen WAIT LISTING

Workshop Description


Workshop Location: Vienna Art Center, 115 Pleasant Street, NW, Vienna, VA

In this three-day workshop you will get a chance to experience what it is like to work with smalti, but more importantly how to work with a full palette of colors in smalti.

Starting out from an image you bring in or one we find together, the instructor will help you translate your image into mosaic by explaining one-on-one and every step along the way what choice of color to use, what shape to give your tesserae, what andamento to use, where to put your lights and darks, when to use warm or cold colors, why big or small pieces, etc., etc., until you achieve the desired result.

This is a fool-proof procedure. No matter what your skills are, you will go home with a serious understanding of what smalti can do for your mosaics and the piece that you walk away with will be a work of art, not just a sample.

To further your understanding of what makes a good mosaic, each day the instructor will show a vast array of mosaics on powerpoint for you to examine and for her to demonstrate how these powerful techniques are used in the very appealing works of the Spilimbergo students, one of the major mosaic schools in Italy.


Students should be prepared to work with smalti in the direct method. Previous experience with mosaic is not required. Those who know least, learn most. ☺

A basic amount of materials will be provided (enough to finish your project) but you are welcome to bring any colors that you have and may come in useful. The project size will be 11 x 11 inches.

You are welcome to suggest an image for your project, but please send it to Mireille first ( to see whether it will be an appropriate subject. Whether or not you finish your project will depend on the method and material you choose to work with and the ease with which you release the tesserae to the board, or not. Whichever the case, Mireille will make sure you go home inspired, enlightened and well on your way to start a new phase in the making of your mosaics.

Come and experience for yourself what Mireille can help you create.


Mireille SWINNEN is Belgian by nationality but has lived abroad all her adult life. She spent the past four years on a tour through California teaching workshops on how to use smalti in a painterly style, her preferred medium of expression. Mireille is a proud and celebrated member of SAMA and CMA Her work has been selected for various of their shows and exhibits, MAI Chicago, MAI Seattle, MAI Philadelphia (where she won Member’s Choice Award), MAI San Diego and the CMA exhibit in Ashland.

Over the next three years, Mireille hopes to bring much-needed foreign exposure and new techniques to her most dedicated her Belgium based studio, the Orsoni studio in Venice, Italy, and through sporadic tours to the US East and West coast.

Photo: by Mireille's student Barbara Mah

Workshop Details

Tuition: $450 • Supply Fee: $60


Workshop Date/Time:

Extended Weekend Workshop, three full days: April 21, 22 & 23, 2017
10 am to 5 pm all days