Friday, October 19, 2012

Vintage tile chips rescued and reused


My workplace is in a century old palatial building that was built by the Mysore King.  

Cheluvamba Vilas

Some years ago, they were replacing the entire original mosaic floor of a room.  The beautiful little chips in perfect geometrical shapes and dimensions were being broken.  It was an exercise too difficult to watch and I wish not to divulge into detail. 

That is one of the three mansions built for the three Princesses at that time.  All the structures are a delight to connoisseurs.  Their interiors are exquisite.  Just to show how varied the patterns and colours were, in many such palatial buildings, let me show you the flooring of the other mansion [Karanji Mansion] which I visited some time ago.

This was not in good shape.

Now it houses the PTC.

Now let me come to ours.  Pictured below is a portion of the original floor and design the entire floor area had.  Observe the shapes and colours. They had been imported from England at the time of building these mansions.  Such mosaic floors of that period are so pleasing to the eye.

The broken floor debris were being heaped in the room to be loaded to trucks for landfills.  So sad.  Being a lover of heritage, I thought of preserving a tiny portion of these chips in my home.  In "Dave's Garden" I had seen what gardeners create with mosaic chips.  So I randomly picked up some of those to try my hand.  Mosaic art is a vast and creative subject many gardeners and hobbyists do for passion.

'Stepping stones' was an idea I had in mind. Those chips were now separate.  I tried different combinations and found that many different patterns were possible.  I set about working on the project.  Sand and cement were ready.  I put a piece of chicken mesh at the bottom for extra strength and carefully filled cement and placed the chips in the patterns I created.  See picture of 'work in progress': 

Five distinct patterns were made from the available good chips and embedded the 'stepping stones' in my yard, after proper curing.

The following picture shows the work I did in the centre of our living room with better pieces. 

But now we can see only one half of it.  Shortly after this was created, it so happened that a wall ran through the hall at that very spot.  Picture below shows the base for the wall getting ready. Observe the visible portion of tiles. 

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