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.
It’s no secret that time flies when you’re busy! Lots of prep going on behind the scenes ready for my TV return next week, and a weekend away in the Lakes wasn’t exactly a rest, but it was a lovely break with lovely friends. But back to the here and now, and I’ve rustled up another art journal page. It’s been a while, but I have to make an example for Monday night’s art journal session in The Studio!
The highlights of this page are: brayer layers, and the newly available Molotow Liquid Chrome pens. These are alcohol based markers in various nib widths, and on a smooth surface, they really are impressively flat and mirror like when dry. I’ll let you know if they perform better than Krylon leafing pens after a couple of weeks of non-use. And I’ll let you know when and where you can get them – I’ve been sent samples to play with 🙂
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.
The last ‘proper’ day of the Creative Chemistry 103, and we were taught several techniques with alcohol inks on Yupo. For those not in the know, alcohol inks are dyes with, well, alcohol as the solvent – makes for fast drying heady crafting! And Yupo is a smooth plastic sheet of polypropylene suitable for all media, but particularly suited to media that play nicer when on non-porous surfaces. Lots of splatting, buffing, stamping, painting and puffing went into these. Great fun!