Co Down plaster artist Tanya Vacarda on her new collection of textured wall surfaces
The Northern-Ireland based creative is known for creating beautiful plaster work, and now she has created a range that allows you to purchase smaller pieces to be used as wall art.
It was a house renovation that first sparked Tanya Vacarda’s love of plaster. Doing as much of the work as possible herself, she was fascinated by the process, and experimented to get an Italian finish that she couldn’t find anyone in Belfast to do for her.
Continuing to play with textures, she noticed the effect plaster had on material, and so came the idea to create hand-worked wallpapers, tapestries and art pieces. She has recently launched a range of smaller pieces, perfect for adding the delicate and textural beauty of her plaster work to your home, whether as a single artwork, or combined to create a mural.
We spoke to Tanya to find out more about how she created the range.
How did you come up with the idea for plaster wall art?
I should thank my clients for that. I’ve been working on finishes for projects from all over the world. People want more original art around them, and designers I work with ask for more elaborate, exquisitely crafted textures that carry that aesthetic value. It’s my clients who suggested they could just frame the finishes I made for them as artwork. That kicked off the idea of accessible plaster art pieces that offer more than just a framed picture.
I spend so much time handcrafting each piece, I want people to appreciate the material and its beauty by putting their own spin on it. I wanted users to decide if they should frame the plaster, mix and match, rotate and arrange in a way that speaks to them. If someone wants to stick it straight to the wall, build their own mural – great. Tired of the look? Then remove, cut, and re-style it into an artwork of your own give it another life, make it part of your own story. Knowing that my work can have a second life is very rewarding.
Can you tell us more about the process of creating them? Is it similar to your other plaster work?
It is the same process of fusing and layering the finest-quality Italian plaster with a woven base. Then, I cut each piece by hand and work on them individually, adding layers of colour glaze and plaster. In the end, I get original art textures that can be used on their own or in combinations for a wall mural effect.
The process can be long and tiresome, but it makes a strong, honest and lightweight texture that’s also an original and individual artwork. Plaster doesn’t like perfection; its beauty is in authenticity and the only way to achieve it is by giving it the attention it needs.
You say each piece can be cut and even stitched, removed and reused, how does this work?
The plaster has a woven base and though it has a strong texture, it’s only 1-2 mm thick, which makes it pliable. You can stick it to any solid surface with a regular wallpaper adhesive and remove it too. Let’s say you no longer want it as a framed picture, then remove it from the base, trim or cut and rep-apply. It can be stitched with a regular needle too. I make art commissions with embroidery on plaster and I’m not the best at stitching.
When I discussed the possibilities with interior designers and stylists, they had so many ideas, like decorating furniture with it, making patchwork-style art, wall hangings… I’m sure my customers will come up with original interior projects too. There are a few short videos that show how to work with a plaster sheet on vacardadesign.com website for anyone interested.
Did you have any particular inspiration for the designs?
Simplicity. Though the textures are very elaborate, I really wanted them to have the timeless, elegant simplicity of design that elevates modern as well as traditional spaces. Trendy and trendless at the same time.
I also wanted them to have a soothing effect in space. The last twelve months have been about finding my own grounding energy, self-acceptance and getting rid of all the past waste that held me back. That’s, again, a lesson in simplicity and appreciation – of my skills, the material, and the people I’m lucky to work with. This inner work has translated in the making of this collection. I have several of these pieces framed at home, including my bedroom, where I need that sanctuary feel. It works.
Tanya is offering Vacarda Design’s exquisite art pieces to IMAGE readers with a 15% discount and free shipping to Ireland. Just use IMAGE15 code at the checkout at vacardadesign.com.