Handmade faux leather book

I’ve previously made a ‘book’, to hold various ephemera, as a leaving present for the minister of my previous church. So when it came to putting together another bespoke binder for prayer flags, a photo book and collected digital photos, I built on my previous project and created a faux leather effect ‘book’.

The ‘book’ is just about the size of a sheet of A4 and about 1½” deep. Constructed from 2mm greyboard and 5mm foamcore board, the canvas cover is painted with a mix of rose madder and burnt sienna acrylic paints to resemble worn leather. The spine text is pressed in with an embossing tool to give an impression of embossed foiling, whilst the frontplate uses careful shading to achieve the same effect.
Continue reading

Altered Art: Decorated Tree Decoration

treeThis is another of my specially designed tree decorations for today’s workshop in The Studio (candy cane one here if you missed it). The workshop has just finished, so you’ve missed out! Cut out from card and pushed onto a split-pin clothes peg, I’ve decorated with DecoArt Media fluid acrylics, Ranger Stickles and Liquid Pearls.

Continue reading

Art Journal: Piano Hinge Travel Journal

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.

Continue reading

Altered Art: Tealight Holders Part II

I previously posted an advert for October’s workshop in The Studio featuring an altered MDF tealight holders Now, it’s that time of year when the church Christmas Fayre is just ten days away. I still have a box full of holders left over. So, over the last couple of days I’ve been sponging acrylics, metallics and glass paints over MDF and acetate and waiting for spray gloss varnish to stop being tacky. I’m now making bespoke packaging for each of these individual gifts:

img_3197 img_3204 img_3201 Continue reading

Art Journal Page: Diamond Glints

DiamondGlintI 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.

Continue reading

Mixed Media Plaster Panel

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.

img_3169

Continue reading

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.

img_7357

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.

Continue reading