Decor Concrete Cast Bowl

One of the great things about my job is that I get to play with new products. Yesterday I had a go with a sample of coarse Decor Concrete from Pentart. It resembles sand when dry, and once the bonding agent is mixed in it moves like the magic sand stuff you can get in toy shops. It needs to be packed in a mould, and doesn’t mould round something such as a balloon as it doesn’t particularly stick to itself. A quick whizz in the microwave sets the bonding agent, and once it’s cooled, it can be removed from the mould. It becomes waterproof when baked at 200°C for five minutes. There is quite a lot of weight to the finished objects, and I’m amazed at how resilient the thin edges are. The finished surface looks like a light sandstone.

bowl360° product shots are so much easier now I have a foldio360 to fit in my Foldio 2 photo booth. They still have some kinks to work out (such as coordinating with DSLR remotely), but so far, so good! All I need to do now is practice getting items in the middle of the turntable…
img_7365This disc was moulded in the inside of a finished roll of tape, and then imprinted with a stamp image [That’s Crafty! ‘Beck’] and filled after baking with a water-based black outliner paste. I also added the metallic gold to the edge. Both items required a felt base to be added to avoid scratching any surface they were placed on.

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Commission: Baku 2016

img_7362For the last two days, I’ve been working with my mum to complete her commission for a piece of artwork featuring the skyline of Baku, Azerbaijan. Mum knew what buildings she would like to include, and provided the primed canvas (roughly 90cm wide) and a sketch of the layout. The first step was to tweak the sketch a little to improve the flow around the picture.

That done, we settled on trying a bas relief technique since she had no preconceptions of a finished piece. Thus started a mammoth 5 hour session cutting, pasting and carving paper clay, finishing at 10:30pm at night in an effort to allow drying time overnight. Unfortunately, humidity prevented that and we had a morning’s hiatus as it dried in the sun. Uneven drying left some pieces lifting, so these were promptly glued back down with gesso.

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Next was the decision as to whether to leave it white-on-white, or to add colour. Well, we went with the colour option, and much spraying with DecoArt Media Shimmer Misters in white and turquoise, with a tiniest spritz of DecoArt Media Mister in Primary Cyan. Add water to blend and water spot, dab off with kitchen towel and repeat. Drying brushing with gesso restored the contrast between the buildings and the background. Embellishment with Cosmic Shimmer Gilding Flakes, Stardust Stickles and DecoArt Media Gloss Varnish completed the picture. Then I decided a little more shimmer was needed on the sea, so added a wash of Perfect Pearls Perfect Pearl.

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Altered Art: Create in 3D

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As a follow up art piece to my ‘Dream’, I thought I would add another 3D word to my studio – this time, Create. The letters are again paper mâché, all undercoated with two layers of gesso and then decorated. I wanted this assemblage to reflect all the creative pursuits that take place in various forms in The Studio, both by me and my studio guests. Sculpture didn’t quite make it, but then I can always say the whole thing is sculpture 😉

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Altered Art: Tealight holders

I’m prepping samples for workshops leading up to Christmas at The Studio to include on my Workshops page and in a future newsletter. First up, in October, we will be altering MDF tealight holders using mixed media techniques – basically anything sticky, inky or painty is a go!

The purpose of this post however, is to demonstrate a bit of behind the scenes work that goes into preparing a workshop. I’m not really an artist that meticulously plans what I am going to do on paper… I’m much more a wade in and see what happens (admittedly having thought about it for a while in between other things). Most times, the work turns out as I’d like. Other times, there’s something that niggles.

This is the starting point – a MDF block with holes drilled in ready for the tealights. Quick gesso undercoat to seal, and then I layered up paint and varnishes to create faux-granite.

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So – above is version one. Ornamented with frosted glass stars the granite finish looks fairly convincing (the metallic flecks show up better in real life). But the frosted glass flame shields just didn’t seem to work. Too informal? Too tall? After a little more pondering I decided to create a new flame shield design, with simple lines to give a more formal look. The result below shows a much more cohesive end result, with a 1920s feel, and one which I’d be happy to allow to leave The Studio for pastures new.

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Altered Art: Peace

PEACE

This is another art piece I made for the DecoArt shows last month. It didn’t get much screen time though, so I thought I would share it here. I think I made full use of the media and particularly the stencils. I wanted to do something a little different to the serenity type of peace, so I went for the hippy-free-love-peace-man vibe!
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Altered Art: Dream

Dream

I chose to keep this little piece of altered art under wraps until I’d featured it on my DecoArt TV shows on Hochanda early last month. I’d also left the originals with John the floor manager/set designer to use, and had to make a second set with what was left of my prepped demos. Building on the 6½” high paper-mâché letter forms, I’ve used a lot of mixed media tricks to make this home decor piece. Continue reading

Work Experience: Wedding Favours

IMG_7228Hi, my name is Harry and I am finishing a week’s work experience at Neil’s Studio. My commission was to design, make and blog 100 wedding favours. The wedding theme was liquorice allsorts. These favours are going to be collected by my client this afternoon and then used at her wedding in the summer. I was told to narrow down 10-15 initial ideas to three and then prototype and present them to my client on Tuesday evening. She chose her preferred favour and then was to return to the Studio in three days time to collect them. During that time, I had to make all hundred and blog about them.

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