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:
I’m exploring different mediums available to me via the DecoArt Helping Artist Program – and yesterday had time to experiment with their Americana Frost Gloss Enamels. These are paints that create a translucent etched glass appearance, and stick to most smooth surfaces. Application is fast and easy, dabbing on with a fine sponge, and relatively quick touch dry time allows layers to be added without too much waiting. After curing for four days, the items can be baked in the oven to make the frosting dishwasher safe. Just one note: the finish is not food safe. Wash up is easy – just rinse with water. And if you go horribly wrong, I’ve found recently applied enamel can be wiped off with rubbing alcohol.
As one Studio regular remarked last night: ‘you’re doing a lot of art journal pages recently’… She’d been away for a couple of months and hadn’t heard the news that I’m soon to be demonstrating on Hochanda TV channel. This week’s task is to pull together a supplies list for Sam (one of the channel’s buyers) so she can get some stock sorted and book me in for my first shows.
Last night, at The Studio’s monthly art journal session, we were carving our own stamps and developing patterns. I decided to do one too and carved the inverse of one of the stamps I’d previously done to demo the technique. Here’s the page that developed in between showing a first-timer how to build a background, and of course making the refreshments 😉
I was watching a film last night, and notice for the first time the motto above the roaring lion on the MGM titles: ‘ars gratia artis’ – art for art’s sake. What more apt saying could there be for an art journal page? This is part two of my bleeding tissue layouts – I stuck down the dried used up tissue strips using matte multi-medium over an acrylic paint background. I added more strips of Tim Holtz tissue wrap and tissue tape as well as some washi tape from Ikea. Finally, the text was printed using colour laser printer onto imitation rice paper to keep the tissue paper theme. The laser print has the benefit of not moving when using wet mediums over the top, unlike inkjet printed equivalents.
I’ve spent much of the afternoon wiring up outdoor lighting so that it’s much easier to get to and from the studio in the dark! Of course, one job led to another, so the wisteria has had a seeing to as well…
Just before I go and introduce mixed media to my church youth group, I decided to do the other side of my beech tile (12cmx2.5cm), this time working inside. As expected, the Dremel Versatip worked much better in the warm, though somewhat annoyingly the heat rising from the tool was enough to make holding it uncomfortable after a while. I think if I’m going to get into pyrography in a big way I am going to have to invest in the proper kit! Considering the small scale I think the doodled flowers turned out acceptably.
I was lucky enough to be given a Dremel Versatip for Christmas (thanks Dawn & Tim), which, for the unaware, is a butane powered heat tool that has various interchangeable tips. One set is for pyrography, which I also got for Christmas (thanks Tom).
I thought I’d have a go at doing some pyrography this afternoon, and not wanting to have the smell of singed wood mingling with my current quilt-in-the-making, I went outside to do it. It turns out that physics is alive and well, and that with the outside temperature approaching freezing, unsurprisingly a few things happened: I got cold, the tip didn’t really warm up that quickly, I burnt through a reservoir of butane and everything took a lot longer than I expected! However, for a first go, I’m fairly happy with the result.
One other thing I learnt – if you don’t keep the Versatip tool upright there is a risk of unintended scorching as the ceramic catalyst area throws out a lot of heat (that’s the white bit near the tip). Consequently I ended up with a scorched thumb and some scorching on the wood that I didn’t want. Happily the latter sanded off fairly well, and I managed to bring back the contrast fine.
And good old Ikea came to the fore again – the piece of wood I have used is 100% beech tile that they sell in a pack of 100 as building blocks (Fundera) for just £8. These seemed ideal for practice tiles, and may be even for finished projects. Once I have practiced a bit more (in a warmer environment) they might even be the wood equivalent of a zentangle tile?