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Mireille Valentin

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Mireille Valentin, born in Belgium, has been living in Florence since 1994. After receiving her degree from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Mireille acquired experience with florentine artisans. In 2005 she founded her own workshop. Specialized in the creation and the restoration of mosaic miniatures, wall hangings and tabletops in semiprecious stones, Mireille works using the traditional florentine technique employing the illimited different natural shades of the jaspers , chalcedony, lapis-lazuli, onyx… Every mosaic is a unique piece inspired by the classical repertoire of tradition or of original patterns and images. On commission she creates portraits , reproductions and contemporary artifacts. With skill and passion Mireille reinterprets the great tradition of italian craftmenship with an innovative style wich distinguishes her work. Her workshop is located just outside of the citycenter walls, within the cloister of il Vecchio Conventino where the excellence of tuscan artisanship is hosted. Florentine mosaic originated in the late 16°century through Medici family patronage. The ancient art of opus sectile was rediscovered and brought to a high level of perfection. Inlay technique or mosaic has remained basically the same from the 16°century to today. Aided by a very accurate drawing , the mosaicist or craftsman chooses the stones to be used working with the many colors and shades. The most common stones used in mosaic are chalcedony, jasper, agate, lapis lazuli, malachite, onyx, quartz, Arno green, shells. Paper models of the drawings are pasted on to thin slices of stone between 3 to 4 millimeters thick. The pieces are then cut or fretted using a traditional drill-bow. The various pieces cut by the fretwork are then assembled using files and abrasives until they fit together perfectly. Afterwards they are attached to the base using hot glue. The sections are then fitted into a background , wich is usually black Belgian marble and has been cut with the drill-bow. The entire piece is then lined with a thin slice of slate. Finally the mosaic is polished in order to make the stones as shiny and precious as possible. Florentine mosaic allows for the production of different types of objects, for example jewels, images of various sizes and tabletops, but also clock quadrants, cufflinks, walking stick handle.