Monday, November 16, 2015

brick by brick, breath by breath....

Lime rendering and plastering exterior and interior walls in the unusually mild autumn weather gives some relatively strenuous exercise and provides an opportunity to focus on the preparation of surfaces in layers that reflect a softer hand modeled quality in their less than perfect line. P has finished restoring the chimney using the platform and hooked ladders that the contractor left after installing the wood-stove. The view from the roof looking down to the new bathroom and kitchen roof and across to Sint Salvators was certainly exhilarating and the smell of the woodsmoke from burning recycled wooden pallets like incense. The wood-stove has become the heart of the house.

With the boiler and radiators installed and the shower and basins in bathroom and kitchen and new doors and windows on the way the focus of effort shifts to tiling and plastering walls and floor. In the hallway I plan to create a herring bone pattern floor using salvaged 18th century bricks donated by P on top of the 'lime-crete' slab made from an insulation layer of expanded clay balls and a mix of lime, sand and aggregate. Once cleaned and installed I plan to treat this traditional brick floor with linseed oil eventually.

The process of stripping right back, reconstructing and consolidating the structure and then slowly building surfaces back up to reflect the nature of the materials and construction simply and honestly is very satisfying but requires patience and endurance and there is much still to do. With each bucket lime plaster and sand that is mixed another patch of wall is covered. It will all be accomplished with each present moment, breath by breath, step by step, tile by tile, brick by brick.  

I want to create some modest surfaces that tend towards the experience of space itself, for itself, rather than as a neutral background or a vacuum waiting to be filled with something. Through the appreciation of the changing qualities of form, pattern, texture, colour and light and the simple nature of the unadorned materials themselves it is perhaps possible to create a contemplative and meditative place both inside and out. 

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