The irregular cutout in this herringbone-pattern layout provides the background for a crossed pair of rose stems, complete with foliage and thorns.
The irregular cutout in this herringbone-pattern layout provides the background for a crossed pair of rose stems, complete with foliage and thorns.

Randy Clarke has a practiced eye for pavers. He knows how regional differences in aggregate type affect color and texture. He understands how their appearance changes with dry and rainy weather, and he's quick to notice minor variations between individual bricks within a given lot. He's been known to sort through an entire cube of 400 pavers in search of exactly the right shade for the job at hand. He's always on the lookout for remnants of large runs of custom architectural pavers, and he cultivates relationships with suppliers who are willing to turn out limited runs of custom colors for him.

But then, that's his job. Clarke's business, RocArt, of Perth, Ont., specializes in detailed mosaics that may contain up to 3,000 full-thickness pieces of interlocking concrete paver. The process starts when Clarke scans a photograph, painting, or other piece of artwork into a computer and uses a graphics program to develop a workable pattern....

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