Ancient methods, modern eye: the mosaic art of Carol Talkov


Although she now spends her days cutting and handling stone and glass, new Torpedo Factory artist Carol Talkov honed her mosaicist’s eye in a most unlikely medium: fabric.

“It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but actually it’s extremely creative,” she explains, recalling her jobs as a patternmaker for theatrical costumes and as a fabricator of custom draperies, pillows, and bedding. “Both roles required translating a vision or atmosphere based on movement, color, texture, how the fabric drapes, and the relationships between those elements and pieces. In interior design, there’s a term for putting together colors, textiles, and furniture called ‘scheming,’ which really isn’t very different from the process for creating a mosaic.”

“What’s Inside?”

Even as Talkov infuses an ancient art with modern materials and a love of abstraction, she uses the same tools mosaicists have relied on for 2,000 years: a hammer and a wedged cutting implement called a hardie. She points out that most people associate mosaics with representational art in churches, on ancient Roman floors, and in other public spaces created by tradesmen or craftsmen—a perception that she and other modern mosaicists delight in challenging.

“This is one of the oldest forms of art and should not be considered just for table tops, mirrors, or even murals,” she insists. “There is an enormous movement in the rest of the world for contemporary mosaics as fine art, and it is slowly being recognized in this country as such. I am very committed to help promote that process in the United States.”

Now that Talkov is part of the Torpedo Factory community, she’s eager to show visitors what modern artists can do with an ancient medium.

“Because mosaics are not commonly included in a fine-arts community, I feel a great responsibility to show others how interesting and fun this art form can be,” she says. “Most mosaic artists associate with each other but don’t get the chance to branch out and become part of a larger arts community. It’s a great opportunity.”

Come learn more about mosaics from Carol Talkov! During June 2013 and the first half of July, look for her in studio 27, just near the front door. Beginning in September 2013, you’ll find her in studio 308. See more of her incredible work at

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