Bathroom for Hard Times - A recent project by Jitka Palmer

14 Nov 2009

Jitka Palmer, tells how she has developed and delivered this project in her own bathroom.  

I have completed a project, which I would like to share.

I have covered my bathroom walls from top to bottom with hand cut tiles and slate.   Greek myths and their heroes were my inspiration and starting point.   My main ambition was to create a visual representation of what is important in life for me.

I start and finish my day in the bathroom.   I like to remind myself that  (apart from good health and love)   I also need lots of courage, perseverance, generosity, kindness and good will.
Now, every day I can look up to Greek heroes on my bathroom walls for clues and messages.   Morning message from ICARUS with his arms spread, ascending above my bath.   Be brave, dare to aim upwards, do not be afraid !! Evening message from PHOENIX just rising from his ashes by the toilet: 
Do not give up, try hard and try again!
Day message from ECHO hidden behind the door:
Communicate, think for yourself, do not dilute what is precious!
There are four birds marking the time of the day   Morning cockerel, midday seagull, afternoon raven and evening owl.   They have laid some eggs under the washbasin, so I am hoping for more.   Bath panel reflects the full moon and the night sky.   Tiles framing my window are moody, both sunny and rainy.    Like the weather outside.

Over 700 hand cut and hand glazed tiles and an abundance of pieces of slate were used.   Images were first drawn on the walls, copied on two sheets of tracing paper.   One sheet kept as reference for assembling, the other cut in ‘stencils’.   With a help of a slab roller I rolled out slabs of clay, cut individual shapes and numbered.   After first firing, all tiles were divided in colour groups and hand glazed.   After the glaze firing came the most exciting moment of assembling each wall section.   In order to successfully lay the tiles on the walls, I used a plastic mesh to hold them together.   I deliberately combined clay tile with stone/slate.

Small irregular pieces of grey Cornish slate were collected over the years on my visit to beloved Trebarwith Strand beach.   In this way I am always surrounded by snippets of Cornwall and it's geological history.   The larger pieces of black slate used to be on the roof of the house next door and they represent the local history.

My bathroom and studio will be open to public during the North Bristol Art trail weekend, Nov 27th-29th 2009

Project was supported by an equipment bursary from South West Arts (purchase of a slab roller)   Jitka Palmer, 3 Florence Park, Bristol BS6 7LS