Justyna: During my restoration work I often found fragments of damaged, historical, colourful wallpapers. Often in the form of shredded relics, crumpled, dirty remnants. They were found under floor boards, doorway woodwork. Only after cleaning did these indistinct fragments regain their true colour and legibility of patterns. They were wonderful and so much different from today’s, mass-produced wallpapers.
Trying to learn as much as possible about the historical wallpapers, not only about their place of origin – the old manufacturers – but also about the technique applied to achieve such rich patterns, I became fascinated with the oldest paper wallpapers – woodblock printed wallpapers from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The oldest ones made by hand-printing with a carved oak block. Their nobility comes from the crude form of the matrix contrasting with the paper background. In this case their monochrome character was their strength – it created in a simple way a pattern which became an image itself. Their imperfections, which were corrected in the process of machine production, were an advantage. The visible signs of manual labour, the differences in the pressure of the matrix, not only create the sense of a unique impression but also the nobility and authenticity of the ornamental surface. In the 18th century patterns began to be created with wooden rollers attached to hand-operated machines.
First, I suggested to my daughter designing a matrix together.