Sunday, January 25, 2015


         The way old buildings work is incredibly simple. Before the days of cavity walls, structures had 'solid' walls built of breathable materials. Where bricks and stones were used, they were generally bonded with weak and permeable mortars made of lime and sand. the external walls were often coated with lime render which was lime-washed so the structure was able to 'breath'. When it rained, moisture was absorbed a few millimetres into the external surface but was able to evaporate as soon as the rain stopped, helped by the drying effects of the sun.   

              Old House Handbook, A Practical Guide to Care and Repair. Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr (Francis Lincoln Ltd) 

In 'The Wisdom of Sustainability, Buddhist Economics for the 21st Century'  Sulak Sivaraksa says 

If I were to go to the Buddha and ask for a simple formula to resolve our modern dilemmas, he might say: " I breathe, therefore I am." Breathing is the most important element in our lives and in the life of every living being. Without breathing, we die. Breathing goes on day and night, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 

Ice from the top of the rainwater collection tank's bucket used to flush the outside toilet
During the February break I plan to take delivery of a quantity of 'breathable ' hemp, to insulate the attic room between the roof joists, and lime mortar and sand to begin patching up interior walls where necessary ready for a final coat after all the rewiring is done. I will also use this lime mortar to point the exposed exterior walls of the small terrace ( binnenplaats) weather permitting. 

Upstairs the remodelled door is finally painted with a coat of white primer and set in its frame - it just needs the hinges screwed in. I have used a fully 'breathable' clay paint in a matt broken white on the walls which seems to both absorb and reflect light on the uneven surface. Exploring the nuanced qualities of various different whites and other natural muted colours and textures which complement them within various frames and spaces is a preoccupation both of my painting and decorating.  

Fugitive 7, 40x30cms. Oil on Wood 

No comments:

Post a Comment