The End (Part 3): Tadelakt / Goodbye Lisa

I don’t know why I looked forward to rubbing a stone on a wall for so long, but it was everything I thought it would be and more. On Wednesday between reminiscing about good times with Lisa and eating delicious treats from Eric’s wife, we crammed ourselves into the shower. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a shower with 5-7 other people.

Tadelakt works like this: You have your lathe which is then covered with lime plaster. That sits for a long time (for us about 1.5 months). We wet it down the night before, and the day of, several coats of water at frequent intervals. Then we apply a lime, sifted playground sand, water and pigment plaster with a sponge trowel. SO COOL. Immediately after that, practically following at the heels of the sponge troweler, someone else comes with a thinner mix and applies it with an Italian steel trowel. Following immediately after that, the third person comes around with a small steel Japanese trowel to smooth out any holes or trowel limes. If that one doesn’t seem to jive well with the plaster, we use a plastic Japanese trowel. While the plaster sets and dries one or two people are constantly checking for trowel marks and holes with that plastic trowel. When it’s dry enough (but not too dry), the fresco gets painted on. Yes, fresco as in the Sistine Chapel. Only ours wasn’t as detailed and, while it took a long time, not nearly as long as that church. The fresco, a mixture of water and pigment was applied with a brush and then spread around with a plastic trowel. Once that was dry enough, we began the Carpal-Tunnel Shuffle. Everyone grabbed a little smooth stone or a big smooth rock and rubbed in hard little circles on the wall. This action closed the pores in the plaster and facilitated a chemical reaction between all of the elements. We then rubbed with the addition of an olive oil soap and water mixture. The soap reacts with the lime and essentially creates soap scum…WATERPROOF!

It was a long day in the shower, close quarters, lots of bumping into each other and balancing on step stools over one another. Lisa was on her perfect game with sound effects and jokes. We miss you dearly, dearly, Lisa.

Remember: click the images to make ’em bigger and read the captions.

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