Tuesday, September 10, 2013

... and now, on to something musical

as if this wasn't a busy enough week/month for Babettopolis ..

but let's be honest .. it's hard to turn down a twinkly-blue-eyed request
'la famiglia' comes first, always
moreover, I happen to be an actual unbiased fan of the band's work so
any excuse to help out is more than welcome.

it started with a blank sheet of plywood.. many things do in my world
I came home one day to find this in the kitchen..
would have preferred a negroni and a lamb shank but oh well..
cutting out a festive and art-deco-ed 'pavaljun' pattern proved to be
the easiest of tasks in the whole process

My in-laws .. such great help .. super organized and always
carrying bountiful bags of sandwiches!
This is the sandpapering, dusting and crazy-taping stage..
proving, more than anything else I've ever done,  that I am,
really and truly, quite

How cool are they, they even bring me beer ..
beer drinking on the job .. I <3 my job(s)
black undercoat on, black eggshell paint layer on, nail-bed beyond hope or repair!

Alexandra stops by to help with the de-taping ..
and also ruins her nails for a good cause in the process ..

thank you for ruining your nails with me ^_^

under the watchful eye of 2 Safari poster tigers,
I start filling in the de-taped areas in white egg-shell paint.
A back-breaking balancing act when the surrounding black is still very

.. a weekend of drying time and one crafty handmade stencil later ..
it is done

.. and ready to be put up on site ..

photo credit: the lovely Jeanine Rizzo who happened to be walking by this very morning!

.. and for further advertising purposes ..
I also did the poster for the event
.. just the excuse to officially launch my imaginary career
in civic engineering/architecture

yes I'm still young/silly enough to dream I can be anything
 I want to be if I put my mind and pen to it..

.. as from next Monday I'll be launching my dancing career
with my interpretation of Ravel's Bolero..

and this is the poster ..

Last words .. if you're on the island and it's not rainy and feel like a live gig .. see you there ..
everyone involved is working really hard for this.. just so that you know!

related links:

Band Page

Event Page

Ticket Page

PS: I do expect/accept sushi as payment

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Olivia's Mural

This is Olivia's mural.
*sigh of relief*

Today, when we were putting the finishing touches to this mural, we realized that we had started working on this project in 2011. Some things take longer to jot off the to-do list, but in our line of work we've grown accustomed to this. This was, by no means, a quick-fix kind of project .. so *phew* and a well deserved *phew* if I may say so myself.

Oh, and when I say 'we' I mean me and my dad. Despite some very evident differences in opinion, we somehow managed to finish this one joint commission in one piece. Fuelled by one too many tepid coffees and minute-steak sandwiches, we have, today, bid adieu to what we hope will be the first of several custom ceramic projects.

Rewind to 2011.

This is the 'inspiration board I came up with in 2011.
This had to
 (a) convince my friend Olivia that she needed/wanted this mural in her home,
(b) convince her architects that despite my lack of 'rendering' skills, I knew exactly what I was talking about
(c) convince my dad, a no-nonsense ceramist in his own right, that I wasn't being downright silly/difficult.

I am grateful for the trust!

To do list:
(a) source some olive branches from tal-Providenza, l/o Siggiewi
 (*stealth and pocket-knives to go)
(b) grab a big-ass rolling pin and press some sense into huge slabs of clay
(c) let your inner geometry demons and memories of Moroccan rest-rooms take hold of you,
and chop chop chop them tiles

When I'm allowed into my dad's home studio, I tend to take up all of the space available.
That's me in the background, highlighting the olive branches in a medley of green engobes.
When I'm allowed into my dad's home studio,
I also make it a point to sweep the floor clean with my trousers ...
the way I see it, I'm really doing him a favour!

There you have it - the 4 steps before the first of 2 firings

organize, re-organize and keep very very still

this is, hands down, my favourite part of any tile project .. hand painting custom tiles according
to a loosely laid out plan in my head. I know Olivia well and that, to a certain extent,
made my life easy .. but I still wanted to surprise her by inserting some, perhaps,
unexpected details. So alongside tiles that would hopefully remind her of her (then recent)
travels to Morocco and Japan, I took the liberty to throw in ...

... a three dimensional frame with a bird sitting atop it...

... a not-so-hidden dedication ...

... and some bad-ass anatomical detail for good measure!

Yes, this is my favourite tile - it hangs alone at the very top of the
mural right above where the mirror will be installed.
Seen here, my 'manicured' (ha! funny!) hand gently scrubbing it clean. 

On site - footprints in the dust and a whole lot of measuring going on!

cutting and trimming and gluing and fitting ...

PS: dad's expertise is second to none - there I said it (best daughter in the world etc etc)
the meltdowns, not so much :p

... and trimming some more.

PS: this wet tile saw is my new best friend. Fuck off, rest of the world.

There you have it, after two years of on'n'off work, two scorching kiln firings, the even more scorching wake left behind by two fiery tilers, two large sheets of marine ply-wood that almost didn't make it upstairs into the bathroom and two-hundred cups of coffee - fitted, grouted and dusted.

I've learnt so much in the process - technical terms/buzz words such as 'friza', 'kurrenti' and 'horrox, borrox u il-'grouting' jghatti kollox' as well as how easy it is to blend in a crowd of construction workers at the bar when you're covered in equalizing dust and evidently sharing their main goal (ie: Kinnie and Ftira Bajd u Laham). I want to do this over and over again - bonding time and all!

Olivia,  we await your reaction .. *fingers crossed*
and just so that you know I have never wanted to keep something I've done MORE!