There’s always that moment when you see something on Facebook or Pinterest that you think – I could do that. This project was one of those – a link to a YouTube video that popped up on my timeline (sorry – haven’t found it since). It was in German, and seemed to be 20 minutes of the two presenters describing – but not actually doing – the process to make these cast concrete votives.
The floor, tables and just about every other surface in the studio is currently covered with a fine layer of shredded wool polishing wheels and jeweller’s rouge… I’m also going to have to do a thorough wipe down of all the aluminium filings that didn’t hit the bin beneath…
I’ve been working in a production line over the last two days, making these hanging tree decorations. You may remember my ‘sit and be wind chime’ was made from the sidings of my grandfather’s old caravan – these are too. All are hand cut from the sheet aluminium, cleaned up with wire brush and wet’n’dry sandpaper, hand drilled and hand sawn, hammered, punched, filed and polished. Ok, I did use a Dremel for the polishing.
If you’d like a set, let me know – I will make them to order for £10 each including p&p to UK addresses (international orders extra), so if you’d like them in time for Christmas please order by the end of October.
Regular readers of my blog will know that when I try something new, I tend to go straight for it, often not practicing first, and sometimes not really having any clue as to how the finished project will turn out. Well, I was recently asked by one of my Studio regulars if I had tried book folding… I haven’t, despite it being all the rage at the moment.
I thought it couldn’t be that hard, so decided to fold the Studio logo () into a spare hardback (The Tommmyknockers, if you’re wondering). I watched a quick video on YouTube, and got on with it. Two hours later I discovered that to avoid the art piece apparently advertising a Jackie Collins book title, I’m going to have to stick in a few more pages…
What I have learnt doing this: firstly, it takes time. A lot of time. Secondly, italics and swooshes need more pages. Thirdly, too many letters makes for poor resolution and difficult to read final result. And finally, I think this may be addictive, and I’m going to work on the method more so that I can be even more ambitious with the art form. Time to hit the charity shops methinks…
I recently undertook a house clearance, and one of the items that caught my eye was a wooden caddy that had been used for many years to keep tea bags in:
I decided this box needed a new lease of life, and rescued it from the pile destined for the tip. A quick discussion in one of my Tuesday evening groups came up with the suggestion to make it a seed storage box. After a bit of a rub down, addition of some moulded embellishments and some cut and layered lettering, I painted everything with Americana Decor Chalky Finish in Lace:
I then decided to age it, and covered it in tarmac and left it over night to ‘set’ before cleaning it back to get the vintage look.
It was at this point the seed of an idea took root and I decided that it would become a ‘seeds of inspiration’ box and went on to cut out and make matchboxes, pillow boxes and seed packets ready for my collection. Over the past few weeks I have filled, labelled and collected and here present my altered art assemblage ‘Inspiration Seeds’:
Now when I have a creative block, I can dip into my box, and with just a few items can hopefully spark off the next piece of creative genius.
This month I have the gorgeously summery ‘Sandy Toes’ collection from Kaisercraft to play with. I also got sent a Candy Box Crafts Bird Box Clock Kit to work with… So I combined them both to make this beach hut themed clock.
I once smoked cigars, back when I had money to burn. Cigar boxes are great for altering. Then came the career change and I switched to an occasional pipe, and no longer were boxes in ready supply. Instead I have an increasing pile of round tobacco tins, as I was sure I would find a use for them (other than hoarding screws in them that is). Well yesterday I had a spark of inspiration (I blame the new medication) and I’ve spent some time using skills with a piercing saw that I picked up at college. A pierced celtic knot allows the contained pot-pourri pong to escape and gives tantalising glimpses of the bits ‘n’ bobs included. Perfect piece of pungent upcycling!
- Find stencil patterns to adapt – that way you know whole chunks you wanted to keep won’t suddenly fall into the bin
- Remove all labels and adhesive from the tin before you start cutting
- Use a decent piercing saw and a blade with high number of teeth per inch for a smooth cut – change regularly even if you don’t manage to break the blade
- Use a jeweller’s bench peg to work on as it’s so much safer and easier
- Regularly clean your cutting surface of the metal burrs – I didn’t at the start and that’s what has sanded off the gold around the edge
- Mark the cutting lines on the inside of the lid and cut upside down as well – this reduces the bounce of the metal as you can hold it closer to the bench peg
- Work from the middle out to help keep everything as rigid as possible
- If you need to flatten out the final piercing, hit with a flat hammer onto a flat surface a couple of times.
I’ve been using the tarmac technique again today, again on a trusty Ikea mirror. This time, I’ve used my Silhouette Cameo to cut shapes and letters from 300gsm card which I’ve stuck down directly to the frame. I kept the waste to use as a stencil later to layer the colours. Both colours are metallic, and much more iridescent in reality than in the picture. Careful masking with the waste layer and touching up with a brush allowed the lettering to be picked out against the main colour. I put an Art Deco style border around the mirror itself just to pick it out a bit more – of course, the viewer will be framed nicely. Add a bit of bitumen, rub back, and the piece is done.
Available to purchase (or order), £25, p&p extra. Please email with your requirements.