Following my TV appearance a fortnight ago, I do apologise for not getting a tutorial done earlier as I promised – I came down with a humdinger of a cold the week following the shows. Between the lethargy, the laryngitis and other stuff, I didn’t get to do what I wanted in The Studio. ‘Tis done now though, so grab a cup of your favourite beverage and start reading!
I thought I would show you how I created my stained glass window arch using the fabulous Arch Upright from That’s Crafty! since I didn’t get the chance to show it off on air. Mixing different types of ink (alcohol and Distress) and paint, and making full use of a Dinky Stencil, this window brings together a number of techniques to complete a mixed media mediaeval masterpiece!
I am live on Hochanda – the home of crafts, hobbies and art – available on Sky 663, Freeview 85 or Freesat 817, and on www.hochanda.com right now. With top tips for working with That’s Crafty! Surfaces, clock stacks and dreamcatchers, I’ll also be showcasing Pentart glass paints and Express Transfer medium.
I’ll be posting mini-tutorials for each of the projects over the next week. Don’t forget to check out the fabulous That’s Crafty! blog and the design team blogs (on the That’s Crafty! blog side bar) for more inspiration and projects.
Oh, I’m on at 11am as well, or you can catch up or watch again for the next 10 days over at Hochanda’s online TV Schedule – just set the date in the drop down list for 7th October and look for my shows at 8am and 11am.
Over the last ten days or so, I’ve been playing with cast plaster panels. I used all the techniques I learnt at college to mould, soap, build clay dams, pour and pull a plaster of paris piece. Unfortunately, despite all that work, I completely forgot about overhangs. I ruined both the plaster mould and the panel as I attempted to separate the two with a screwdriver.
Undaunted, though slightly miffed, I went back to the drawing board and tried again. This time I pressed items into a clay slab and took a direct cast from that.
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.
360° 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… This 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.
For 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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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.