Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Most Difficult

The call came from Crescent Beach in White Rock, asking if I would hang a mural and how much would I charge. I asked a few questions, gave a price, and two weeks later arrived at the newly constructed home two blocks from the beach. What I did not ask, and the client did not tell me, was that this was no conventional mural. It was a 'peel and stick'. Now, I have worked with peel and stick cupboard liners, glass obscuring peel and stick, and peel and stick wallpaper borders. I never liked working with this medium because there is no slip and no second chance, making it almost impossible to line up the edge where you want it to go. I had no idea there was such a thing as a peel and stick wall mural. Did I mention it was 9 1/2 ' tall? Her daughter had chosen the photo from her mom's portfolio and it was actually a sunset from a few blocks away from their home. The manufacturer was from Germany and it was actually a commercial application and very expensive. It was custom made to fit her wall's height and width.

We had to really think this through as once it is started there is no turning back. We did not start in a corner because peeling a bent sheet as goes into the corner only creases it. I wanted to get the hang of it, so to speak, on an easy piece in the middle of the wall. Good thing I did. It was truly horrendously difficult. What made it even worse was that there was no distinct pattern match until the place where the horizon met with the water. Until then, the cloud match was nebulous and an eighth here or there made no difference. We worked out a way to match it, but did not realise that the material stretches slightly as it peels from its backing. By the time we got to the horizon, the match was off. Then we had to try to peel it back and rework it from the horizon up. The stretch and lack of forgiveness of this mural drove me crazy. At one point, the sticky side fell back on itself. We learned later, via Google, that this mural was worth more than $600.00 and I knew if I tore or creased it, I would be buying a new one. That was most tense 20 minutes of the day as we struggled to peel the sticky side from the sticky side without damaging the sheet.

I have never agonised and perspired over a project like this in all my 40 plus years of working.

The client came to check a few times and was falling in love with it and saying that she was so glad we were perfectionists. OK.

In the end, the last of the 6 panels got away on me and there was a crease, but in the best possible place.

Here, I am placing the bottom of the last panel, greatly relieved but shaking from the stress.

Two feet to go, trim the top and bottom, and it is done.

It was spectacular. I told the client that when her friends saw it, and wanted to do one like it, to not call me, unless they had it printed on conventional mural materials, like photographic paper or non-woven material. I will never hang one of these again. Ever!

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