I recently had to purchase a plaster ceiling rose and sourced a fantastic local family run business, Decorative Plasterwork Studio, West Road, Southend on Sea. I was warmly welcomed by the owner Graham, who was more then happy to share his passion and historic appreciation towards his trade, it became very clear that this was more then a day job to him.
I didn't realise how hard it would be to choose a ceiling rose. I had a rough idea of what I wanted but I was overwhelmed with the variety on offer. Graham then threw another spanner in the works by asking the address of installation and showed me an amazing ceiling rose they had restored from a house similar of age in that area, giving me the option to stay true to the houses original feature, you certainly don't get that in your general hardware shop!
He then proceeded to explain the complete restoration procedure, showing how they treated damaged or tired items as architectural antiques, using the same tools and skills as the original craftsman would have used in bygone years. How they manage to resurrect the finest of detail is beyond me, I thoroughly enjoyed my little educational trip, who knew shopping for plasterwork could be so much fun.
After selecting my ceiling rose, I was lucky enough to witness them handcraft my plasterwork. Bill (Grahams son) kindly walked me through the process, at each stage giving me technical and laymans terms (so I could keep up). This is a really quick overview of the process, obviously it's a lot more involved but to cut a long story short:-
Firstly he filled my chosen mold with the plaster mix, adding canvas layers to bind it together, otherwise it would (in laymans terms) open up like a packet of crisps.
As they layer it up great care is taken to avoid air bubbles, Bills arms were moving pretty damn fast hence the quality of my photos.
When the plaster is first in the mold it feels hot, when it cools down it's ready to come out, remove from mold (she says like that's the easy bit).
Trim the edges and Bob's your Uncle an amazing ceiling rose.
Graham kindly added the holes for it to be attached to the ceiling and carried it to my car (possibly trying to get rid of me faster haha).
Their Studio is absolutely amazing!
Check out their website www.theplasterworkstudio.co.uk
Following the ceiling rose story I have a top tip when you get it home and fix it to your ceiling. This is a common problem I have seen a few times and is easily avoided. DO NOT make the central ceiling rose hole bigger to fit your entire light pendant through, remove your pendant!!! I learnt this a while back when our electrician went to fit one of our fittings, if the holes bigger then the fittings fixing plate it's going to take a lot of fiddling about to make good and it looks rubbish. The plasterer on this particular job said I'm just going to make the central hole big enough to get this pendant through WOW, WOW, WOW...... step away from my ceiling rose matey, I'd recommend you remove the pendant and tape up the wires/ flex before they attach the ceiling rose (we always use a professional electrician) as the builders on site don't always ask.