Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that I have been spending quite a lot of time making samples and prepping demos for my shows on Hochanda last Friday. It’s one reason that there have been very few blog updates recently, as there’s always a media embargo on sharing things before the shows go out. Now that they’re over though, here is one of the 8×8″ journals I decorated for the occasion.
Each spread uses the Pentart Matt Acrylic Paints in a baby-wipe swiped layer, stamped and stencilled, to give a tone-on-tone effect. Some worked well (purple and orange), others not so well (mentioning no names, green). The fine applicator nib is great for painting outlines and letters, as I demonstrated on air.
It’s my monthly Art Journal Session on Monday evening, and for this month’s theme we’re tackling ‘ATC art’. I’m not one for making artist trending cards most of the time – for the uninitiated, ATCs are 3½” x 2½” pieces of artwork that are designed to be swapped between crafters – and I thought it was time to revisit the format. I’ve sneaked them into my art journal timetable, and here’s the sample page. BTW – the frames are one of my first forays into the world of 3D design and printed here in The Studio.
At today’s bas relief cards workshop, I did the unthinkable (for me at least) – worked on a technique and a sample alongside a workshop guest, without trying it first weeks before. And despite the gung-ho attitude, we both ended up with, even if we do say so ourselves, a cracking outcome. There was something rather pleasing about making a 2D stamped image a little more 3D, smudging and smoothing paper clay into place before letting the stains and paint do their thing.
For my next trip abroad, I wanted to make another travel journal. I have previously handmade a small hardback pocket journal and a fold-out accordion journal. This time I decided to make a handmade journal using a piano hinge. This, for the unfamiliar, uses tabs and cylindrical objects (in this case bamboo skewers) to attach the pages at the spine. The benefit for a travel journal is that every other spread is the depth of the bamboo skewer, which means there is plenty of room for additional items of collage and other ephemera, and pockets to store memorabilia. It’s also possible to easily disassemble the book at the hinge to work on individual pages, or remove and add pages as required.
Constructed from canvas textured acrylic paper, I knocked back the white using an off-white chalky finish acrylic paint. I added a darker shade at the base of each page, using the same paint to stencil the building outlines. Overprinting with various travel oriented stamps using archival ink completed the decoration. It seems that the convention for piano hinge books is that the spine is visible, and the skewers extend from the bottom and the top. I wanted a more traditional book appearance as well as a protective cover, so I constructed cover pages before covering them with lokta paper which resembles old leather. A few coats of soft-touch varnish added to that illusion as well as protecting the paper. Adding this type of cover does restrict the addition of further pages. As I intend to use this on the flight as well, I thought it wise to trim the skewers… Some care needs to be taken to keep the pages vertically aligned, but in practice friction seems to keep the posts in place.
I started this page layout on Tuesday night as my teaching sample for my ‘Christmas Crackle’ art journal session on 7th November. Building up layers and techniques, I was very happy with the resulting background. I then spent just as many hours searching for the perfect ‘winter’ quote. Eventually I settled on this excerpt from ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’ attributed to Mary Frye.
Sometimes I go quiet on here… Regular readers will know that I’m always up to something (holidays are infrequent), and often can’t share my makes until after a ‘press embargo’ has been lifted. Happily, Hochanda seem to be less restrictive than a certain other channel I’ve done work for: keep your eyes peeled for sneaky peeks at the end of the month. Oh, and in passing, if you haven’t found the TV menu option above, that’s where you will find the latest information I have as to when I’m next on your screens.
Back to the point – I thought it would be fun to share a photo of my studio workspace as it appears right now. I’m in the middle of learning new products and prepping samples from which my show demonstrations will be developed. Whoever said that men can’t multi-task? I must be an exception as there are three different projects on the go at the moment – as I am waiting for one to dry, I’m working on the others.
Don’t worry about the naff lighting – that’s done in Photoshop so that I can hide the piles of stuff still waiting for their permanent home. So there’s glass paint, acrylic paint, crackle medium, varnishes, acrylic pieces, MDF pieces, a brayer, brushes and sponges, frost effect paint, Posca pens, scissors, a screwdriver and Gorilla glue, various polymer stamps, archival ink and not nearly enough tea. It does however support the adage that men typically do not clear up after themselves… But by tea time tomorrow, all has to be tidied away for another night of crafting with my studio guests.
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 😉