I spent most of the weekend with gluing together the base walls of the salon de thé, then making holes and channels to the electric wires. Pretty dull activity, I can tell you... then I moved forward to painting the back corridor, what will be limestone. Usually in baroque castles the back corridors and other "service rooms" were covered only limestone, so I decided to paint an aged wall with wet parts at the bottom. It took days, but it was a suitable practice before I start to work on the outer walls. Before I started to paint the wall I tried to look into the future and see how it will look like when it will be finished.
So, here are some spy photos I made using only the shell as background:
The not-so-attractive wall:
Finally the limestone corridor in Petit Trianon (I used this as reference)
This is an extra post for today, as I finally managed to finish the grand mirror which will hang on the wall in the salon de thé.
It took a while (days....) to make all the leaves and fruits which ornate the frame. I gave up to count the leaves at 300.... It is 10 cm long and 15 cm high at the heighest point. I made it a bit blurry, as it is an old piece and the mirrors fade and blind with time.
The first steps: sculpting the frame and the fruits
Sculpting finished, but still unpainted:
Covered with gesso and partially painted
Painted and aged
We have tropical heat here, so I won't make too much in the next few days, but I hope I will be able to post next week.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) is one of my favourite painters, therefore I dedicate a separate post to his residence, which is located in Giverny, France.
I have adored this place since my first visit there back to Spring 2002.
Monet found Giverny in 1890 and spent the rest of his life there. After the first some years he gave up to travel difference destinations for looking for topics to his paintings, as Giverny provided everything he needed. If you visit it, you will agree with him completely. The house is pale salmon pinkish with green doors and shutters with an amazing view to the garden. The garden is separated by a road (now you have to use a subway to walk from the upper garden to the lower one with the pond and the waterlilies). The upper garden is full with different flowers, roses, geraniums, sunflowers, dozens of species I have never seen before in my life. The air was heavy with their fragrance, birds twittered among the trees and though the garden was packed with visitors I felt myself extremely calm and contented. People sat on the benches, chatted with each other or simply were mesmerized by the fragrances and sounds of the garden. It is the Paradise itself.
The waterlilies on the pond are in full bloom, whites, pinks and pale yellows, the water reflects the wheeping willows, the sun plays tricks on the surface of the water. You are safe here. It is a different world: peaceful yet vivid. Harsh colours are everywhere: yellows and pinks and magentas, purples, oranges and reds with the thousand different shades of green. Monet wasn't only one of the greatest painter and father of impressionism, he was a great gardener too. If you have a chance don't skip it and visit Giverny. It is about 1 hour from Paris. You can take the train from Gare St. Lazare, the train station where Monet painted the steam some 140 years ago....
I know I didn't posted anything in the last 3 weeks, but I was fortunate enough to take a short trip to France and made some studies to my salon de thé (yes, it included some visits to different Ladurée salons: Champs-Elysées, Chateau Versailles and rue Royal). We accomodated in Paris and took a trip to Vernon and Giverny (to Claude Monet's house and beautiful garden) and certainly Versailles and the Trianon Estates.
Vernon was fantastic with a tiny old town centre packed with half-timbered houses from the 15-16th centuries and a Romanesque - Gothic style cathedral. We took a long walk to the Old Mill and Chateau des Tourelles as well as to the Chateau de Bizy.
Versailles was as magnificent as ever. Though there was huge crowd and people were everywhere, we were able to reach the Trianon Estates before the crowd and spent some fantastic hours there. This was my 6th visit to Versailles, but I'm still amazed and always discover something new what I didn't see before.
Here are some photos about my trip:
Ok, I moved on to salty things, but there is no photo yet, so I decided to write about my eco project I built earlier, it is called Blackberry Bush Garden Cottage.
18 months ago I found a plastic bucket, which originally was a detergent container and my neighbour threw it away. I thought about build something from leftover materials and keep the budget really low. This plastic bucket became the base of the cottage. A leftover piece of wood served as baseboard, bamboo placemats did good job as wall covering both inside and outside, the windows were made of an old child-safe picture frame's fake glass (plastic). An unused Ikea birch blind became the roof (it was a hard work to cut it into pieces....). I used some ceiling decoration material to make the box in the garden, the soil is a mixture of grinded tea leaves (boiled and dried first) and lavender flowers. The flowers were made of silk paper and paper coated wire. I made the wrought iron chairs and table (thanks to my former teacher, Alan Hamer). All I had to buy was a bottle of paint and some air drying clay to make the stones outside and the floor inside. So altogether I spent less than 20 pounds to make a cottage with a garden and noone can tell it was made out of scrap I "collected" during the years :)
Today is a big day or BIG DAY to be correct. The real work started today. The cardboard and wood panels arrived and cleaned. It will be much bigger than I first thought. When I saw the biggest wood panel, which will be the base of the Salon de Thé I just stared and started to find out how it will fit into the planned space....
I know this photo shows only pieces of wood, but I'm always very excited when I start a new project. You start with a bunch of wood and board and something totally different: a room or a house will come out of it. Now it is hard to imagine that within 6-7 months it will be a perfectly elegant French tearoom.
I hope you will enjoy this "journey".