Friday, January 27, 2012

Isles of Tiles

by Drew Martin
When I was kid I thought islands floated around the oceans and that you could swim under them. Islands are paradoxes...beautiful getaways and prisons for castaways. Unlike other chunks of land (deserts, mountain ranges, plateaus, plains, etc.) an island is not an island unless it is dwarfed by a vast body of water. This relationship of dry land and water is very much like my basement, which sits only a few inches above the water table. When that rises with the winter snow-melt and the spring downpours, my cellar floor is inundated with ground water. It is a very stressful time because I depend on a sump pump in a well to remove the water. If the water rises too quickly and overtakes the pump or if a storm knocks out the electricity then the water will rise a few feet and kill the boiler, hot water heater and appliances. Even if the water is constantly removed, the concrete floor can be wet for days. A neighbor has been giving me scrap tiles for projects so I started making tile islands around the basement. I do it in part as an art project but at the same time these elevated areas are placed in areas that I frequent and will hopefully remain dry. (Click here to see a video of one of the larger and more formal tile islands - in it I am cleaning off extra grout)