Mosaics, an ancient art form, but yet its innovative techniques and various materials are used by many nameless mosaicists, makers, craftsmen and artists to depict daily life of their times. Mosaics became part of the grand architectural projects of private residences by portraying images of its patrons' social and cultural occupations into pictorial interpretations.
Available materials determined the color palette. With access to local organic or inorganic pieces, mosaicists knew how to work around the supply. If one color started getting low in supply, they were as innovative, creative and practical as we are today. Instead of green in the greenery, the nature was presented in grey, blue or red. Breakdown in design was common. Also, optical mixing, abstract coloring and geometric patterns were some of the tools, a mosaicist knew how to use skillfully.
Observations of current social and cultural clues, material, scientific and technical advancements, philosophical views of of seeing the world around us are all reflected in the art we create today; exactly the same way, artists in ancient civilizations did reflect upon the same subjects thousands years ago. In historical terms, small pieces of some materials are used to put together, like a puzzle, to create pictorial, non figurative or geometric patterns to last into the coming centuries.
The process of developing art and design ideas today is not much different than the way it was done in the past. Mosaicists still continues to contribute into the evolution of this medium as we chug along the flow of time towards the future, for mosaic to become ancient again.
reference : Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World by Katherine M.D. Dunbabin