JOE MORRIS’s fascination with the medium of Tadelakt – a centuries-old form of lime plaster – began when he moved to North Cornwall. Tadelakt originates from Morocco and is traditionally used as a beautiful wall covering, which is transformed by hand from a powder, to a fluid, to a stone-like surface. Having always experimented with different forms of artistic practice and, finding the time and opportunity to work with Tadelakt; Joe had discovered the perfect material with which to develop his art.
The essential and simple compositions which Morris achieves within the medium of Tadelakt have an enigmatic, ‘timeless’ quality, which is both contemporary and ancient. The process of mark-making is honest and spare; cutting, carving and colouring simple lines or geometric shapes, to form what he describes as ‘glimpses of a transformative landscape’. The act of burnishing the plaster by hand with a polishing stone, using thousands of circular motions, gives a sense of something that is gradually being ‘revealed’. Wax is applied when the image-making is finished, and the surface is finely polished once again, to achieve a lustrous final sheen. As Joe explains:
I find the process magical and alchemic, you start with a white powder and turn it into a beautiful, solid, colourful, shining object. The tiny fissures and cracks which occur only add to the appeal of the material.