One of the first references to the briny deep appears in ancient Greek literature. Homer's The Odyssey is an epic poem that chronicles Odysseus' ten-year journey across the Mediterranean Sea. During his travels, Odysseus endures rough seas, high winds, and sea monsters. He spends years as a captive on the island of Calypso before secretly landing back in Greece.
Despite his hazardous journey, Odysseus experienced the wonders of the briny deep as he sailed throughout the blue waters of the Mediterranean. He saw manatees and seahorses and watched sharks swim alongside his ships. He witnessed marine life hiding among the coral reefs. He learned to respect the waters while he grew to appreciate the wonders under the sea.
Not everyone can have as epic a journey as Odysseus, but anyone can create their own odyssey using sea-life mosaics. Begin your sea excursion in an entryway and carry it through to a backyard or pool. Your journey into the briny deep is only limited by your imagination.
Set the tone of your journey with a coral reef. Surface corals abound in the warm waters of the Caribbean and Pacific Rim, creating colorful displays. Deep-sea corals have more subtle tones as they grow on the ocean floor. As Odysseus sailed the Mediterranean, he would have seen a vast array of sun-drenched coral. Why not add coral to an entry mosaic or a patio floor as a salute to Ancient Greece?
Incorporate crabs and lobsters into a mosaic for a bit of whimsy or give a nod to the ancients with a replica of the original art. Clamshells are a frequent motif in sea-life mosaics. Whether interspersed among coral or used as stepping stones, crabs and lobsters add visual interest to the ocean floor.
There's something mesmerizing about the way whales and orcas erupt from the ocean. How such large sea mammals can gracefully move through the water is a mystery. Imagine how the ancient mariners felt as they were pulled off course for their first glimpse of these monster-sized creatures.
Dugongs, a manatee species found in the western Mediterranean, were thought to be the origin of mythical sea creatures such as mermaids and sirens. No journey through the briny deep would be complete without a few of these images along a swimming pool floor.
The sleek aerodynamic design of rays lends elegance to any sea-life mosaic. Whether it's the curious manta ray or the dangerous stingray, there's a beauty to the way they glide through the water. Consider a mural on a patio wall that includes the swooping lines of a ray.
Mantas live in warm, tropical waters such as the Mediterranean, with some growing to 29 feet across. They tend to stay localized and may live up to 50 years. Despite their placid disposition, manta rays have appeared in ancient sea tales as monsters that smash into ships and sweep sailors overboard.
A whimsical octopus pairs well with a comedic lobster or crab for a touch of fun amid fantastical sea life. Hiding an octopus among seaweeds is another way to add interest to a wall mosaic or patio floor. Use a more traditional image to continue with an Odyssey theme. Just remember that a giant octopus or squid was one of the dominant sea monster myths, even into modern times.
Mosaics tend to emphasize two shark characteristics -- sleekness and teeth. Sharks like dolphins and whales have clean lines that enable them to move through the water quickly. Their perfectly balanced lines make for an elegant statement in any room or pool. For a more striking image, there's always the toothy grin of a killer shark. Whether an animated or natural version, shark mosaics add another dimension to a swimming pool or water treatment.
Billfish include sailfish, swordfish, and marlin. Sailfish mosaics are the most common because their large dorsal fin looks like a sail, creating an eye-catching image. Marlins and swordfish are a low-key version of a billfish with a single dorsal fin; however, they make a nice touch in homes where deep-sea fishing is a sport. Use a sailfish to create a focal point on a shower wall or add a marlin to a backyard pool.
What sea journey would be complete without seahorses and starfish? There's something magical about the seahorse suspended in open waters or a starfish resting on the ocean floor. With their unique characteristics, it's easy to imagine them as part of a mythical sea voyage.
Seashells come in all shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. In fact, they create a mosaic all their own. Pair them with seagrass or coral for a multi-dimensional view of the sea bottom. Seashells make a perfect base for a colorful mural of sea-life mosaics.
Seagrass lends movement to a sea mural. With lightly swaying stalks, seaweed contrasts perfectly with the more rigid lines of corals. Have a seahorse peek through the grass or hide a lobster in their sandy roots for a fun twist. Fields of seaweed can replace seashells and sand as the base for a unique mural on a kitchen backsplash.
Like Odysseus, you can experience a personal journey through an underwater world. Begin at the front door with a seascape. Add more drama in the bathroom with a sailfish on the shower floor. Design a mural on a kitchen backsplash with grasses and seashells. Transition into the backyard with marine life stepping stones. Put a lobster or octopus on a mosaic path. Finish your odyssey with a wall mural of your favorite marine life, such as a manatee or shark. Then, add a whale or ray to the bottom of a reflecting pool to end your voyage on a tranquil note.
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