Many people have asked how Moroccan plasterers manage to make such wonderful shapes and designs. Well, here is a simple demonstration of one such undertaking.
The plasterer is Abellkader and his task is to transform a hammam doorway into a more traditional style.
Next comes the cutting of the template. This is the only point in the work where Abellkader uses a non-traditional tool.
Abellkader checks the template against the door.
Unlike other countries where plaster mixing is often done with a large electric mixer, Abellkader prefers to mix by hand. "With my hand I can continually monitor the mixture and get it perfect. A machine can not do that," he says.
A small notch has been made in the door frame and nails hammered into the top of the door. Abellkader balances a traditional clay brick into the notch and the secures it with a thick, quick drying rough plaster.
It takes the plaster a couple of minutes to make the brick secure.
Using the same rough plaster mix, Abellkader fills in behind the brick and strengthens it by pushing small scraps of brick into the mixture.
Once both sides have been given the rough shape, Abellkader checks with the plywood template.
The bottom of the design must be straight on both sides, so Abellkader adds a wooden guide.
The template is then attached with a small amount of plaster and the shape of the design is refined.
The final touches are added.
Next the template is removed and the already hardening plaster is scraped into the final shape, leaving a good surface that is the correct shape, but with a texture that allows a good grip for the final addition of fine plaster.
Abellkader - happy with the final outcome. Total time? Three hours.
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