Thick silt required each tile to be hand cleaned with a conservator’s approach that Morris mastered, making sure that silt was not re-deposited on newly cleaned floors. Once the cleaning process was complete, Morris began conservation work on the iconic mosaic slate floor he created for the Slate Valley Museum almost a decade ago. Although remarkably well preserved, Morris replaced damaged tiles and damaged or stained grout to reflect the original beauty of the floor. After several weeks of delicate craftsmanship and a gift for designing in stone, Morris completed a new intricate slate floor mosaic. Morris donated his time, carefully selecting from colored slate contributed by slate companies, Evergreen Slate Co. and Mohawk Red Slate Co.
The new design welcomes visitors into the museum and celebrates the impressive amount of work contributed by the many volunteers who helped the museum recover after Hurricane Irene. Slate Valley Museum Executive Director Kathryn Weller commented, “Jim Morris combines an artistic eye tuned to intricate detail with a love and knowledge of stone that is unparalleled in the art community.
He creates designs that both compliment the natural qualities of stone and challenge our concepts of what is possible when working with a material that many in our community have known their whole lives. We knew when we contacted Mr. Morris that he would be able to not only clean our amazing slate floors, but also return them to their original appearance. The gift he gave in this entryway was an unexpected but wonderful surprise and something that symbolizes the success our museum has achieved despite this natural disaster and the ability to not only recover but thrive after Hurricane Irene.”