SEA: Painting the Upper Hearth Room
Design: We started working on this in early 2021. After the Lower Hearth room took a very strong color theme and reflected power, people and land, we wanted a contrast for the next room up. It evolved into a sea theme when we considered our location on the south coast of Wexford. Liz and Veda reviewed many images online. in the year leading up to the actual work. The main wall pattern evolved from the leafy idea to a pattern from the Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608 (Folger Shakespeare Library). Veda substituted the original hearts and acorns into shells and dolphins to align with our nautical theme. She then created a colored pattern and Liz cut a large scale stencil. There was an acanthus pattern which turned into a wave (slightly Japanese art feel) and then eventually was laid horizontally as the vertical orientation was too busy. Inspired by maps showing wonderful mythical (?) creatures we decided on a wall of "calm seas" and fishing, a "ships in peril" wall, and general creatures on the slim area on the north wall. For the hearth, Liz chose the 1610 John Speed Map of Leinster and zoomed in on the south Wexford coast, having one dot for the castle. The mermaid was inserted by Veda, sitting on the hearth mantle stone, and the monster turned out to be her pet! Liz created a presentation that included the measurements and a mockup of each wall. We had to adjust for some limited space. For each motif, Veda created a line drawing that was projected on the wall, then filled in by hand.
Installation: We did the first round of painting in September 2021. Liz had prepped the color bands of green and white, and Tom Justin helped us with transfer of images to the walls. Liz had started the grey pattern work using the big stencil, but we all were concentrating more on the lower hearth room. At the end of 2021 we had the pattern and wave pattern blocked out, with designs on the walls and the calligraphy on the beams (done by daughter Morgan Jones). We found the projector would distort slightly over distance so we had to adjust some letters and images manually. In April 2022, Veda returned, this time with two capable friends, Elaine Allen and Jazmine Carroll to help finish the lower and upper hearth rooms. Rosemarie Morris also stepped in to help. Elaine did the bulk of the sea monster detail and named them all - the character of the merpeople and monsters owes much to Elaine's whimsy! Veda supervised all the painters, and had provided instruction for me to detail the shells and dolphins, which were finished by the enthusiastic team (thank goodness). This room is slightly lower in height than the one below, and less complicated so we actually finished it in 2022 - Hurray!