I think I’ve said it before, but one of the benefits of being on a design team is that you get to play with new kit before it is available to everyone else. So – spoiler alert – it was exciting to see in yesterday’s post some of the new That’s Crafty! journals, stencils and stamps that I will be using on my TV shows on Hochanda on 17th March (7am & 11am). This will be the only sneak peek I’ll be doing until the shows, so see what you can spot will be on sale!
There’s so much potential with the new kit for layering, building texture and depth, and so many new elements to add to a page. I hope you can join me either live, or on the catch up on the Hochanda website (or on record if you’re not up and watching TV already at 7am!). The first hour is going to be live in the Netherlands – my first live international audience 🙂
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!
I got sidetracked today… instead of getting on with my Creative Chemistry 103 Distress Crayon homework, I decided, like you do, to install a slow sand filter to deal with the Studio’s grey water. Admittedly, occasionally the grey water is more of a pinky purple, but you know what I mean. Up to now, I’ve had a caravan waste water carrier to catch artistic rinsings. Inevitably, I forget to empty it and an interesting smell announces that it is overflowing. I think a video popped up on my Facebook feed which sparked curiosity, then research, and then a quick trip to Wickes. £12 and couple of hours later, I have a passable way of dealing with my rinsings. They are filtered before draining into my irrigation reservoir, ready for watering the garden. A quick inoculation with ‘good’ pond bacteria followed, which should jump start the biofilm that apparently forms on the sand particles and keeps the nasty niffs down. No more hefting 40 litres of stinking sludge up the garden to the drain 🙂
Eventually I did get back into the Studio, and completed Day 4’s homework. More techniques with Distress Crayons which very artfully demonstrate why they are so, so different to other waxy water soluble crayons. And there’s more kits to come – three is not enough!