Sarah McLeary

Ceramics and Architecture

we go together like

Our bathroom is a long, thin room, so decided in a fit of post-Hogmanay excitement that it needed a MAKEOVER to make it seem bigger. When we moved into the flat it looked like this

Isn’t the little patch of mosaic over the basic just brilliant?

There was no storage, so we installed some very, very high metal cabinets which are so high Ciara can’t even reach them. Luckily, Ferd and I are both very tall, so it works quite well! We also installed more of those generic mirror tiles, as the existing ones were too far down the wall for us tall people.

First I used Dulux extra reflective white paint on all the walls, but then I realised why they’d been rag rolled; all the walls are fairly bumpy. Well, I didn’t want to apply a paint texture, so I thought that a good idea would be to stencil a repeat pattern over the bumpy parts. At the library I found some quite fantastic books on wallpaper through the ages, and then remembered doing a project on Escher in primary school. Escher is just the master of tessellation, so I copied some of my favourite patterns from the books and took them home for perusal.

We chose this pattern of fish and birds. I cut out stencils from acetate [an easier way would be to use the type of acetate you can print onto and just print the image. Twice in this case, as I wanted two colourways; grey birds with white fish, and vice versa] and pencilled on my design in the bathroom. I just used the design in patches, not to overwhelm the white walls. In the photo above the stencil is sitting on our dining tabke, which – confusingly – is also decorated with decoupage fish. Try not to get blinded by the many layers of fish!

It’s important to take time to position things properly, as once you use paint on the stencil it won’t be transparent anymore, so you’ll need the pencil marks as a guide.

I then made a schoolboy error. I intended to use grey spraypaint. My usual method for spraying a stencil is to use spraymount to position the stencil, then use the spraypaint as recommended,  but the walls were so uneven that the acetate stencil wasn’t completely paint-proof and dribbled under the stencil all over the wall :-/ the technical term is underspray, and it’s the pits. Plan B was to use acrylic paint and a sponge. Ferd helped me, he said it was like being on Kirsty’s Homemade Homes!

There’s a knack to removing the stencil too, you can avoid the paint leaking under the acetate if you peel any detail very carefully.

Then it’s just a matter of a steady hand to outline and add the detail from the original Escher design, and there you have it, cheap and cheerful, and hopefully entertaining to your guests visiting the smallest room in the house!

Of course this got me thinking about other things that tesselate like… tiles! Escher tiles anyone?

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This entry was posted on January 29, 2011 by in Uncategorized.
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