THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – finally in Ayvalik fourth week

Hello – be prepared for the unveiling!

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After48 hours of keeping the protective boards wet, one already fell off, revealing some beauty still lightly covered by thin paper
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remaining boards could easily be loosened from the top and hot water applied into the gap to soften the rest of the glue
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then with more hot water board and paper came off easily
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some of the glues used came off immediately with the paper, like in the very left of the picture, some stuck to the grout lines like rubber (middle)

With more  hot water, a scrub and the energy and enthusiasm of  Rifat Usta the remaining glue was removed.

The unveiling and cleaning of the wall took half a day of 3 people. The difficulty was to keep the surfaces wet and warm so the softened glue would not get cold  and dry and then stick to the tesserae again.

I am very satisfied by the result. Of course some tesserae came off.

IMG_6698I also left some deliberate gaps at the joints of the tiles for easy fitting. These we put back in one days work with liquidish tile cement which we squeezed into the cleaned holes and then stuck the prepared tesserae back..

Two days later, the figures for the floor were installed.

(Be prepared for more technical description.)

At this point I want to thank tiling master Yusuf and our foreman Rifat again for their patience to understand what I could only communicate in very limited vocabulary. They really took to the project and used their knowledge flexibly to adapt it to this very special task.

 

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I prepared the floor like this. The cardboard pieces simulate the figures. On the backing of the figures I head drawn the lines that you see here on the floor. This way the figures could be placed in line. It worked well for the installation. But it took me several sleepless nights to come up with this.

The installation of the floor pieces  went in similar steps then the wall.

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first I put sand into the grout lines. This time I did not fill them quite as much as on the wall pieces as I wanted more cement to enter the grout lines for more stability. In the end people will walk over the mosaic.
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then Yusuf added the tile cement (again mixed to the same color then the grout)
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after he added a layer of ordinary cement to add weight and press the tile cement into the grout lines (cement was mixed with a latex water solution )
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Then he spread tile cement on the floor exactly inside the outline of the figure on the floor
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turning the heavy and wobbly piece of mosaic upside down onto the slap was a bit tricky. But after 2 figures we became skilled!
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and the soft cover allowed to take the mosaic partially up and add more cement because the floor had to be leveled to allow for the water to run into the drain in the corner
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first piece set
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after 3 hours it looked like this. If you zoom in you can see the lines on the backing of the pieces in line with the lines on the floor

Today I had a rest to let the cement dry. At 4pm I wetted the pieces well with water, covered them with cloth and covered this again with a plastic sheet in order not to dry out over night.

It is raining heavily at the moment. This will help to keep them moist. Tomorrow afternoon I am planning to remove the protective sheets with my family.  You will read about it in the next blog.

I have been in Ayvalik on my own for 4 weeks now. Which was good in order to fully concentrate on finishing the building site and installing the mosaic.

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But there have been nights when I looked at the moon and was longing for the company of my loved ones.

THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – finally in Ayvalik – third week

I did it – the wall parts of the mosaic were installed on Thursday. I find help in a very experienced tiling master. Please see it step by step:

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for the tiles cement we mixed 2 parts of white and 1 part of grey BASF Mastertile 15  tile cement with about 1 cup of terra-cotta pigments dissolved in water,

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applying cement to the wall of the hamam bench

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the mosaic tiles laid our near the place that they gonna be installed

sieving a little bit of dry sand with a fine sieve over the mosaic in order to close the grout lines so that the cement can not fill the grout lines completely

sieving a little bit of dry sand with a fine sieve over the mosaic in order to close the grout lines a little bit so that the cement can not fill them completely.

 

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applying tile cement to the part with the dolphins head

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Yusuf is a great tiler with a lot of patience. Without ever having worked with this technique he did an excellent job in putting all the tiles exactly fitting into each other in place. And he was not disturbed by my nervousness…

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putting the tiles exactly next to one another  and in the right hight

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Yusuf exercised great care to join the tiles on their puzzle like edges

 

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The first tile sticks

We mixed terra cotta pigments with water and mixed that with 2 parts white and 1 part grey BASF master tile 15 tile cement

Ready! On Sunday I will wet them and hopefully take the boards away on Monday.

THE AYVALIK MOSAIC – finally in Ayvalik – second week

My dearest readers, I have to disappoint you:

there is nothing spectacular to show about the Ayvalik Mosaic yet. This week I tried installation techniques. Its all very technical in the following post.

But first the achievements:

All background stones are cut and tumbled. The two areas that still had to be filled with background  and all the conture lines around the figures were completed.

The kurna is made and ready to be tiled with mosaic.

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The last 3 days past with measuring the wall parts.  From the part with the dolphins head and the long fish I had to cut off 1cm in order to have the tesserae not go over the top edge of the wall.

Unfortunately the parts of the other bench are still to short and I have to add another 10 cm background left and right. Grrr!

The tesserae are glued in reverse onto craft paper and the craft paper is glued to 3mm Mdf board all with water soluble glue. This made the transport and now the handling in the trials very easy. Of course the one or the other tesserae comes loose and falls off but its easy to glue them back.

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in this pic the wall parts are lying on the benches. I will install them on the front of the benches.

Finding the right tile cement  here in Ayvalik was easy. Our builders use BASF Master Tile 15 fine grain. I made the first sample with this but it is too dark. I decided to make the tile cement and the grout the same color just to be sure that if the cement comes up to the surface of the tesserae it will not be visible because it has the same color then the grout. Making  small trial samples in a hidden corner was a bit painful for my legs but in the end the samples are protected as there is still building work going on in the rest of the room.

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The two little wall samples that I prepared just in reverse method on paper were easily installed with a mix of thin set cement and latex diluted in water 1:1. The Working with the same cement (which had the consistency of a paste)  on the floor and trying to put stone by stone was a catastrophe. All the stones sank in because the mortar was far to soft.

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Then I made the good old roman cement again just to get the feel of  its consistency once more. After that I was able to produce the same in thin set mortar. It has to have a consistency  like  soft play dough.

The second trial with this cement went well I could just loosely stick the tesserae onto the surface and then pound them to the right level using a board and a hammer.

So I am confident about handling the cement now. Just did not get to the grout yet.

On Friday the Getty Institute left an invitation in my inbox about an upcoming exhibition of mosaics from different areas of the Roman empire. The article behind the link gives a nice and short overview of some of the mosaics and their origins that will be displayed in the exhibition in Los Angeles.

Yesterday morning I was greeted by our neighbors  goats with a fresh jump into spring. Sooo sweet.

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