There is a certain magic in working with natural materials, there is life in using earth and lime. There is a large palette to play with, but it was not until I learnt about Tadelakt, the Moroccan marvel technique, did I discover the pure class of craftsmanship in earth.
There were almost twenty of us, trying out this magical technique, on small earth block samples; Unsure of what it is going to feel like, how it is going to turn out, and what kind of commitment it requires. We had prepared our based plaster with lime and pigment on an adobe block, asked to choose a stone and begin!
Dating thousands of years, Tadelakt is a magical water resistant chemistry of lime & vegetable oil resulting in a glimmering monolithic plaster that twinkles in the light as it seamlessly extends across surfaces of our structures, showcasing its extreme craftsmanship. A living surface that’s as hard as stone and as soft as leather, as breathing and waterproof as our skin; has its origins in the ancient city of Marrakech in Morocco.
Tadelakt is a particularly high lime-to- aggregate ratio which is applied in multiple thin coats to a substrate, such as an earthen wall surface, polished and then caressed with smooth stones. Finally. it is rubbed down with organic soap, with patience and a lot of love to make the surface seamless.
It took time, a lot of time, for the surface to evolve, and to obtain the finish for this technique is all about the time spent making it.
Tadelakt did surprise us. It demanded much more respect, and turned out much more elegant than what we expected. Now I know how and why this moroccan masterpiece had the ability to withstand the sands of time. Being water proof and customisable in different coloured finishes, having the ability to follow all forms of building; still holding the ability to breathe, with a property to gain beauty and strength over time, there is definitely magic here. It takes time to create timeless masterpieces; and if we have enough, Tadelakt surfaces are carefully sculpted artwork with a soul.