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San Diego, CA

My name is Rebecca Sauer, and I live in San Diego with my husband and son. I began creating mosaics about 15 years ago, in Philadelphia. There, I was greatly inspired by the masterful and prolific artist, Isaiah Zagar. Starting with “pique assiette” (the use of broken dishware), I moved on to ceramic tile, and then, glass tesserae, with which I produced flower pots, tables, and cabinets. My relocation to San Diego brought with it an introduction to Mexican Talavera, a school of distinctive ceramics largely produced in Hidalgo, Mexico. With its bright vibrant colors, beautiful designs, and inherent whimsicality, Talavera has become my favorite medium. I use the “direct method” (applying each piece individually to the desired surface). I love watching my creation emerge, one puzzle piece at a time, and then, by setting it with grout, seeing it come to life.


Materials and Techniques


I have recently started experimenting with smalti. Smalti refers to an opaque glass tile produced by pouring the molten glass into flat slabs, which are then chiseled into small bricks that can be cut and shaped further. Smalti originated in the Byzantine empire (4th-15th century) and can be seen in the stunning mosaics created during that time. The colors are deep and saturated and can be quite reflective. The inherent irregularity of smalti can create a highly textured mosaic. Smalti comes in a wide variety of hues, as well as iridescent and metallic. The Octopus and Anesthesia surfboards featured in the Gallery section of this website utilize both opaque and iridescent smalti.


I adore stained glass! Some of the raw sheets are so beautiful, it pains me to cut it. Stained glass as we know it today goes back as early as the 7th century, utilized in the leaded glass windows of churches and monasteries of Western Europe. The sheer number and variety of stained glass colors, patterns, and textures available today is staggering.


Glass fusing is the melting together of specific types of glass in a kiln to form a new, more interesting and complex piece. Sheets of glass are layered to form different textures, patterns, colors, and effects.


Direct from Venice, Italy, the term “Millefiori” means “a thousand flowers”. The art form may go back as far as ancient Rome, but the modern resurgence came about in the 19th century. Millefiori begins as long glass rods, or “canes”, containing multicolored patterns that run the length of the rod and are only visible from the cut ends. These canes are then sliced into discs. Millefiori comes in a multitude of colors, patterns, and sizes.


Talavera pottery is the Mexican variation of the Spanish majolica earthenware, a white and glazed type of ceramic. Although the Spaniards introduced this type of pottery, ironically the term Talavera is used much more in Mexico than in Talavera de la Reina, Spain.  In fact, Talavera is the oldest tin-glazed ceramic in the Americas and it is still being manufactured with the same techniques as in the 16th century.