Welcome to the SAN DIEGO MOSAIC SCHOOL!  All of our workshops are instructed by artists Kim Emerson & Dennis Reiter of Kim Emerson Mosaics, LLC located in the Normal Heights community of the City of San Diego, California, USA.  Kim has been creating mosaics for public and private spaces since 1991.


If you are NOT already on our contact list, and you would like to receive future emails announcing our upcoming workshop, dates, and prices please email: 


We register workshop attendees on a first come basis via email reply/confirmation with instructions about how to pre-register. Let us know which workshop you might be interested in and we will pencil you in to reserve your space!


This mosaic art workshop will be offered again in 2019!

This intuitive approach of making mosaics is inspired by the Spontaneous Mosaic” Method and philosophy made famous within the contemporary global mosaic community by the beloved late Ilana Shafir of Ashkelon, Israel.  The Shafir family has given permission to Kim Emerson to share and teach Kim’s version of Ilana’s method at the San Diego Mosaic School. 

The creative approach of Spontaneous Mosaic does not rely on an exact pattern or blueprint for the final mosaic, and, there is nothing spontaneous about this process.  This method is about being inspired by the beautiful and meaningful materials in the moment that are available to the artist.  This method is more about the process and the artist’s approach to the design of the mosaic composition whether the mosaic is comprised of ceramic, glass, stone, no matter what type of adhesive or substrate.  How do the materials and the way that they are arranged together inspire you?  What pleases you aesthetically?  What is your story?

“My mosaics evolve from the thoughts I have while I am working…I try to express something beyond the mundane and the decorative, to create a fusion of elements that will touch the viewer and express something that can be said in no other way”.

– Ilana Shafir

This workshop is open to beginners as well as the experienced mosaic artist.  We will be working with a variety of “tesserae” (that being all the pieces of material or tile that make-up a mosaic design).  You will have the opportunity to learn how to cut tesserae with a hammer and hardie, and also use various types of nippers, cutters, or a wet-saw if desired.  We will utilize what Kim Emerson refers to the “directly-direct” method using thin-set adhesive.  We are NOT typically grouting in this workshop. 

Quality wood panels for interior wall display will be your choice of a 9″ x 12″ or a 12″ x 12″.  The available tesserae will be everything from ceramic and glass tile, smalti (glass), dishware, beads, found objects, and natural stone.  All levels are welcome in the same workshop weekend, as we learn from one another – together!

Available upon request, in this workshop, you will have the opportunity to adhere your mosaic by using what Kim Emerson calls “transfer techniques” with TAPE and/or MESH.

See below examples of mosaics by students of the Spontaneous Mosaic Workshop:  Click images to enlarge

Mosaic by Lee


Mosaic by Erin


Mosaic by Stephanie


This mosaic art workshop will be offered again in 2019!

The inspiration for this workshop came to Kim Emerson during a trip in 2017 to Italy while visiting ancient Roman mosaic sites.  In Aquileia at the Museo Nazionale, on display there is a fragmented 2nd century still life themed floor mosaic known as “the unswept floor”.  The imagery of these infamous floor mosaics are hyper-realistic representations in stone tesserae of edible elements from the Roman banquet.  Using the basic geometry of the square, we will have fun recreating detailed representations of what was left on the floor after the dinner party!

In this workshop, using only Mexican smalti glass, we will create imagery of still life subject matter, such as a lemon or an olive branch.  We will focus on the main still-life element, the background andamento, as well as the play of shadows in tesserae.  This is an excellent workshop to better understand representational mosaic design, and perfect your precision cutting using modern materials, adhesives, and tools.

The size of the mosaic wall panel (on wood for interior display) will be your choice of an 8″ x 10″ or a 10″ x 10″.  We will NOT be using thin-set adhesive in this workshop, but we WILL be grouting the finished mosaics.

See below example mosaics by students of the Roman Representational Using Mexican Smalti Workshop:

Click images to enlarge:

Mosaic by Casie

Mosaic by Lydia

Mosaic by Kathy

ABSTRACT in SMALTI  (Multi-mini panels)  $300

December 8th & 9th  Full!

Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day

Smalti is glass and is the only material made especially for mosaics.  It was invented by the Romans and perfected through the centuries by the Italians.  This beautiful glass material has been specially developed to be cut with a mosaic hammer and a hardie (chisel), that are special metal tools designed for mosaics.  This colorful and reflective tesserae is what was used during the Byzantine Era to adorn the interior surfaces of churches in Ravenna, Venice, and Rome, Italy and beyond.

The prerequisite for this workshop is that you have already taken the Spontaneous Mosaic method workshop with Kim.  You will be designing your mosaic composition while utilizing the design philosophy of Ilana Shafir.

In this workshop we will be cutting and creating with smalti from both Italy and Mexico.  We will be discussing and sampling the unique differences of each.  You will be encouraged to use the hammer and hardie to create a composition that is abstract incorporating both “normal cuts’ and ‘pizzas and/or tortillas’.  The size panels (on wood for interior) will be approximately 8” x 8”.  We will be using thin-set and NOT grouting in this workshop.  Smalti is not typically meant to be grouted.

All materials, use of tools, serious mosaic instruction, and lunch are included in this two day workshop! Up to three smaller size panels are specially available in this workshop if there is a desire to create mosaic art gifts for the holiday season!

See below example mosaics by students of the Abstract in Smalti Workshop:

Mosaic by Lola

Mosaic by Kathy

Mosaic by Barbara

All workshops are held at the home & studio of Kim Emerson and her husband Dennis Reiter located in the Normal Heights community of San Diego, California, USA.

All Photo credits go to DENNIS REITER

Phone: 619.379.1123             

Email:  kim@kimemersonmosaics.com