The Cloister Floor

It is now almost exactly two months later. I have no idea how many hours it took, but it is almost done. I used the Cosmati designs from San Marcos in Venice, Italy. The Romans made great things out of marble, which were left in disrepair when Rome fell. The Italians said, “Hey let’s cut this up and piece this together.” Thus, they have the most magnificent floors in the world. I used tile books, a quilt book based on San Marcos in Venice, a bunch of postcards from Venice and put together a piece of Italy. I realize the castle is in Ireland, but if I, an American saw it in Italy and wanted to make it here, I can only imagine they would feel the same way in Ireland.  Cosmati started this whole school of design and I used my favorites.

Okay. You take polymer clay. Combine various colors. Mostly, whites, blacks, orange, red, green and brown. You knead, cut and pull etc. until they look like marble. Roll them out. Make a pattern of each six by six inch square out of paper. Place paper over rolled out polymer clay. Use a pin to tack the design. Use the pin after paper is removed to trace design onto the clay. Fire clay. Cut and trim the designed clay. Glue slowly and painstakingly. Repeat again for each color in the design.  It took about 12 hours for every 6-inch square. After a few tries, I realized sometimes you can roll the paper with the design and pinholes from the first color into clay of the next colors and not have to re-pinpoint. This was a great time saver.

This was really a meditative project. It was very enjoyable to do, but long. The good news is that it turned out to be one of the labor-intensive parts of the castle that is actually noticed.

As I write this, I am almost ready to grout, then attach the floor to the rest and then do the garden. Hopefully, that will be done soon. I wonder if I will be right?