Welcome!  All of our workshops are instructed by artist Kim Emerson of Kim Emerson Mosaics, LLC in 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 new upcoming workshop schedules, please email Kim Emerson.

We register artists on a first come basis via email with a reply confirmation and instructions about how to pre-pay. Let us know and we will pencil you in to reserve your place!

VERY SOON – We will be posting here and registering more workshops starting again in April, May & June 2018!


Mid-March 2018 we will be taking a break from our workshop and studio schedule to attend the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) annual mosaic conference in Boston, MA from March 13th – 18thFor more information about the conference, go to SAMA’s website:

We will resume our weekend workshops again in April, May & June 2018.  Let us know if you would like to be on our contact list!

Descriptions of typical workshops that we offer:


This intuitive approach of making mosaics is inspired by the Spontaneous Mosaic” Method and philosophy made famous within the 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 in a way, there is nothing spontaneous about this process.  This method is about being inspired by the beautiful and meaningful materials that are available to the artist.  This method is 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 is your story?  What pleases you aesthetically? 

“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 experienced mosaic artists.  We will be working with a variety of tesserae (that being the pieces of material that make-up your mosaic).  You will 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 by request, in this workshop, you will have the opportunity to adhere your mosaic by using what Kim Emerson calls the “modified-direct transfer techniques” with TAPE and/or MESH.

Click images to enlarge

Mosaic by Susan


Mosaic by Lee


Mosaic by Erin


Mosaic by Stephanie



The theme for this workshop is inspired by a mosaic triptych created by the late and esteemed member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA)  JeanAnn Daub.  JeanAnn was an art historian, a mosaic scholar, and she created a very special wall mosaic she entitled Imaginary Archeology for the Society of American Mosaic Artists’ (SAMA) Mosaic Arts International (MAI) in San Diego 2009.  It was exhibited again for SAMA’s Master’s Invitational in San Diego 2016.  This mosaic belongs to the private collection of Kim Emerson and Dennis Reiter at the San Diego Mosaic School.  Each of the elements and tesserae that make up the three paneled mosaic were gathered “with permission” by JeanAnn herself during her travels to Tunisia, France, and her home state of Utah.

Are you a collector of found elements when you go on a trip or outdoor adventure?  Do your collectables tell a story?  In this workshop we will be working with natural stone and elements, such as crystals, geodes, marble, etc.  We will encourage you to find the meaning that tells a story in your mosaic creation.  For the assembly, we will draw upon the Spontaneous Mosaic method as you are intuitively inspired by the beautiful materials available to you.  You will be taught how to cut tesserae with the hammer and hardie.  We will refer to different types of stone, their scale of hardness, their meaning, how to cleave them open, as well as how to cut them into little tesserae ready to be incorporated into your mosaic.

The size of the mosaic wall panel (on wood for interior display) will be your choice of 9” x 12” or 10” x 10”.  We will be using thin-set adhesive in what Kim Emerson refers to as the “directly-direct” method.  We will NOT be grouting in this workshop.  All materials are provided.  As an option, you are welcome to bring your own found treasures, but that is not necessary because we will have everything you need to be creative!

Click images to enlarge



Mosaic by Carol



The inspiration for this workshop came to Kim Emerson during a recent trip to Italy while visiting ancient Roman mosaic sites.  Particularly in Aquileia at the Museo Nazionale, there on display is one of only five discovered 2nd century still life themed floor mosaics known as “the unswept floor”.  The imagery of these infamous floor mosaics are literal representations in stone tesserae of edible elements from nature and Roman times.  Using the square geometry in the Roman style of mosaic, 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 geometry of the main element, fill-in the background with classical andamento, as well as play with shadows in tesserae.  This is an excellent workshop to better understand representational design in mosaic, and practice 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 particular workshop.  We will employ what Kim Emerson refers to as the “directly-direct” method.  Grouting your finished mosaic will be optional, possibly after the workshop, if necessary.  All mosaic materials and Mexican smalti are included.

Click images to enlarge

Mosaic detail by Kim Emerson with Mexican Smalti glass

2nd c. Roman mosaic design from the “unswept floor” excavated in Aquileia, Italy.  This is a detail reproduced by students at La Scuola Mosaicsti del Friuli, in Spilimbergo, Italy.

All workshops are two days and on weekends.  The workshop fee includes ALL quality materials, one substrate panel, use of tools, adhesives, serious mosaic instruction, and a deli-style lunch!  We can accommodate only 7 students per workshop. Coffee, tea, and drinking water is always available during the workshops.  Workshop hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

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.

WORKSHOPS Coming Spring 2018:




Photo credits go to DENNIS REITER

Phone: 619.379.1123