Sunday, March 1, 2015

Magic in Helen's garden

We had two house minders to cover absence for five days, they were actually with us almost a month. Kimberly and Jeremie from Montreal became WWOOFers you dream of: excellent company, imaginative, happy at all sorts of work... family.

They very happily took on a creative project for Helen, to demolish and replace a sink base in the backyard, that which I had constructed in 2013 (with doubts evident from Helen and two French WWOOFers, David and Nicholas in photo below) had succumbed to its own ridiculousness...

The way it was. 
Jeremie is a landscaper who had done a lot of dry stone wall construction, but had never worked with mortar. He built the required structure. Kim's experience has been as an office administrator. She approached the business of making mosaics with an intense focus on the intricate, a delicate sense of style and ... and a discovered enthusiasm for hitting tiles with a hammer!

We used some of the demolished blocks, some wood on hand, and some old bricks we had.
Dennis did some slave work cleaning bricks.

The mosaic work was designed and laid out on tables and then covered with 'Contact'
- clear plastic sheet with one side adhesive, generally used for covering school books.
This was then cut into liftable manageable sized pieces and after putting tile adhesive on the vertical mortar bed,
the sections of tile were put in place, leaving the Contact sheet in place until tiles firmly stuck..

Some special items, like this half cup, need placement last,
for which a little polyurethane glue is used
To grout, you put a bog of the grout, toothpaste consistency or thicker, on the tiles,
after the tile adhesive has set very firmly. Rub carefully in and clean off the tile surfaces.
Compare (two photos back) with how this end looks before grout.
And a week later, some more photos.

We still have to grout the right hand side, Kim's mosaics. With light coloured grout, yet to be organised...
Already it has withstood high heat and storm.
We think we will probably leave the top without tiles, along with some areas with just mortar or bare brick.
Detail of Kim's work. Fine and light... we will have to get the grout right! 
The rooster has been hanging around Helen's front door since being found years ago, now has a proud situation.
Jeremie's work adopts a theme from Helen's mosaics elsewhere, which feature turtles.
Storm has sprayed sand on lower tiles, landscaping of ground still to come.
Jeremie's work continues up and across, from sea below to sun and birds.
The wiry lizard was a gift to Helen several years ago, finally has a fitting home.
The live lizards think the space below this sink is an excellent social gathering place,
with water run-off and pond below.
 Here's the whole structure again. Thanks Kim and Jeremie!

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