Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Painting with an Aliz

We’ve built our walls with two types of plaster – earthen plaster made from the beautiful southern Utah red earth on our building site and lime plaster created by combining type-S lime, sand, pumice, kaolin clay and soda ash. The earthen plaster is on the walls which are completely protected from weather by our 8-foot-deep porch. Lime plaster covers the walls of the north and south bump-outs. In both places, an 18-inch (about) overhang provides some protection from precipitation, but that is not enough to keep direct rain from the walls. These walls need a material that won’t melt in the rain. We remember the melting witch scene from the Wizard of Oz and don’t want a melting wall scene in Torrey.

Each type of plaster requires a different paint. Earthen walls receive a clay paint called aliz (alis). Lime walls receive a lime wash.

We wanted the walls under the porch to be the same color as the natural Torrey earth. To produce this, we wanted smaller particles of clay, so we sifted our 1/8-inch screened clay to even finer particles through one of our sieves.

Next we combined water with what Scott calls his special polyvinylacetate polymer additive. He means Elmer’s white glue.
Then we combined the sifted clay with the water/glue mixture.
Painting the walls with this aliz went very quickly and resulted in a wall with a strong finish in a color exactly matching the landscape that surrounds us.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have any close-up pictures of what the aliz looks like with the chopped straw in it? I am trying to decide whether or not to add that when I do mine.