A NOVICE mosaic maker has won a prize in a national competition.

Cliff Hughes, of Chester, who has recently completed a beginner’s course in mosaic, is a finalist in a competition, sponsored by Topps Tiles.

Cliff is one of a group of budding mosaic makers taught by local artist Tricia Jones and his mosaic of sea horses impressed judges.

More than 250 students across the country entered the competition, and, as one of the 18 finalists, Cliff’s work will now go forward for national judging later this month.

If he wins, he will receive a £500 Topps Tiles commission for a mosaic artwork to be exhibited at the company’s headquarters near Leicester. The recipient of the national award will be announced in September 2010.

Now in its fourth year, the Topps Tiles Awards for Achievement in Mosaic celebrate the work of beginners who are learning mosaic at education centres, community groups and workshops. Competition judge is David Tuhill, who has taught at various art colleges, including the Royal College of Art in London.

Mr Tuhill said: “The father and child sea horses are wonderfully put together and I like the angled background, as well as the way in which this goes from light to dark. This chunky seabed is also a nice contrast of texture and feel, helping to complete this mosaic. Cliff and his teacher are to be congratulated.”

Cliff received a certificate and a cheque for £100, whilst teacher Tricia Jones was awarded store vouchers worth £300 to purchase coursework materials.

Cliff added: “Newly-born seahorses on the shores of Loch Lomond inspired the design of my mosaic. My piece shows father and baby and I am extremely pleased with the end result.”