It's tempting to say it's all done with mirrors.

It's tempting to say it's all done with mirrors.

In fact, the murals that local artist Lynda Elias hopes to create on many of Delaware's brick walls are composed of mirrors, whole and broken tiles, and colored grout.

"It's a very quick way to do mosaic," Elias said.

She learned the process firsthand from Philadelphia mural artist Isaiah Zagar, who continues to brighten Philadelphia's urban landscape with his colorful work.

Elias, an art teacher at Hayes High School until her retirement, took one of Zagar's weekend workshops in south Philadelphia. During the two-day program, 17 students learned Zagar's method and techniques.

"Each step is something people can master," Elias said.

After outlining a design with mirrors -- "Mirrors are very important," she said -- the workshop members filled it in with tile and glass.

"Anybody can do it," Elias said. "You feel you're a part of this project."

Zagar encourages workshop alumni to use his methods in projects of their own.

"He likes passing on his knowledge," Elias said. "It's not like a commonly known process."

Back in Delaware, Elias designed and created a mural at her West Lincoln Avenue home, then took on her first public wall, at the back entrance of Corner Framing and Gallery at 27 N. Sandusky St. Working with her were Virginia Corwin, a retired teacher, and 2006 Hayes graduate Sammy Jameson.

"So far, they're my assistants and they've helped me with everything I've done," Elias said.

Delaware County Habitat for Humanity's ReStore contributed all the mirrors they've used so far, as well as some tiles, Elias said. The Hamilton-Parker Co. also donated tiles; Sherwin-Williams donated the color for the mortar. Joe Diamond -- owner with his wife, Linda, of Corner Framing's building, and an enthusiastic supporter of the mosaic project -- said costs so far total less than $200, which paid for mortar, sand and glue.

At Hamilton-Parker, "literally, we filled a truck with tile," Diamond said.

Elias starts each project with a sketch. Her first effort featured flowers -- she called it "kind of very organic" -- and her second, at Corner Framing, is of a garden and a garden gate.

"I was a little worried about getting everything in the right place," Elias said, but she's pleased with the result.

So is Corner Framing owner Linda Shearer.

"I love it," Shearer said. "I just love the color."

The grout Elias and her assistants used is a blend of gold, salmon and yellow. The result, Shearer said, is "bright and beautiful."

Corner Framing customers also are complimentary.

"They really like it," Shearer said. "It reminds them of someplace else."

"Someplace else" includes India and other countries, probably because the mural is so exotic looking, Shearer said. "It's better than a way-finding sign."

Way-finding signs direct a city's visitors to parking areas. Now, Shearer said, people come to look at the artwork, and they find the parking lot.

That's exactly what Diamond hopes people will do: find the parking lot.

Decorating the back entrances of downtown businesses encourages people to use those entrances, Diamond said.

And then? Mosaic murals on the brick walls of downtown's pedestrian alleyways would enhance downtown's appeal and "make art a focus," Diamond said. "It becomes a tourist attraction; it becomes a very positive way of dealing with the back ends of buildings."

Elias, too, has a vision for downtown -- a many-colored vision with lots of mirrors.

"I thought, 'We have all this old brick,'" she said.

Elias hopes to realize her vision by conducting workshops similar to those Zagar presents. For $125 per participant, Elias will lead a group of five to 10 people through a two-day hands-on class.

Jameson, 20, assisted Elias with both of the completed mosaics.

The process is "kind of hodge-podge," she said, "but it ends up looking really great."

Diamond said response has been huge.

"I can't tell you how many people have commented," he said. "People are excited about it."

He said he wanted to see mosaic murals in Delaware even before Elias went to Philadelphia for the workshop.

"My immediate thought was, 'When you come back, why don't you think about doing something about the back of the building?'" Diamond said.

The art is "almost three-dimensional," he said. It can be three-dimensional if artists choose to include bottles, plates, teacups and other items in the design.

Elias' next mural will be next door to Corner Framing, at the back entrance of Beehive Books, also owned by the Diamonds.

The effect will be to "wrap the back of the building," Diamond said.

For more information on the workshops, call (740) 815-2252. For more information on Isaiah Zagar, visit