BTS [Behind the Scenes]: Product Prep

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.

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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.

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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.

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Art Journal Pages: Pockets, Flips and Flaps

It’s been a little while since I posted anything art journal related, what with one thing and another. One thing being completing the Creative Chemistry 103 course – definitely worth the investment. Another being design and installation of a new sand filter for the studio so that I don’t have to empty a stinking waster container prompted only by the stink as it overflows. It’s a simple enough idea – grey water goes into a tank of sand and gravel, filters out the large particulates and then drains out to my irrigation sump ready for watering the garden. No more overflows!

Sand filter

Another another was the creation of a water feature which is just outside the studio. I’d gone to look at the self-contained fountains/water features at our local garden centre, and somewhat astounded by the price tags was asked ‘surely you can do something yourself?’. So with a bit of thought, a quick shopping trip on Amazon, a tube of mastic, and some terracotta pots, a plan came together. Throw in a watering can previously belonging to my grandfather and a personal, upcycled, repurposed water feature now trickles away in counterpoint to the gushing waterfall that has just been installed in a neighbour’s garden.

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But, back to the point! It was raining today, so I got to work in my art journal with the intention of putting together the next art journal session samples ready for September. The theme is ‘pockets, flips and flaps’…

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THCC103: Day 6

It was wrap up day on Creative Chemistry 103 some time over the weekend, and I finally got to watch the final video from Tim Holtz. The challenge was to use some of the techniques we’d covered during the week on a different surface. I had bought some of the District Market French Burlap Panels in a sale some time ago, and decided these would be perfect to decorate up for the occasion.

Burlap Panels

So this is what happens after applying texture paste, embossing powder, Distress Crayons, Distress Stains, clear matte texture paste, stencils, water, baby wipes, gesso, matte multi medium, Distress Reinkers, Distress Glaze and a whole lot of patience and drying time! I love the texture play between the burlap and the scroll work, opacity versus transparency and still amazed at the versatility of the Distress Crayons.

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THCC103: Day 3

Ok, I’m still not caught up… but this is Day 3’s exercises for Creative Chemistry 103 (CC103)  led by The Professor (Tim Holtz). This particular class was centred on getting texture using the various collage mediums and texture pastes recently introduced to the Distress product line. I don’t have most of these, so substituted various DecoArt products instead and I reckon they do just as good a job!

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It’s the first time I have used Distress Crayons, and I have to say I am impressed. Slightly softer than a gelato, the crayon blends beautifully under fingers and into other colours, and the reactivity with water is superb. Glad my spending overruled my scepticism and they were there to use!

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THCC103: Day 2

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I thought I’d catch up with a couple of days’ worth of classes today, but, alas, it wasn’t to be. I did however get Day 2 samples done – a few more well used techniques revisited, but a couple of new ones there too. And a note to self, in passing… Always test your mica containing sprays well away from other items in the studio, and clean them before putting them back in the box. That way, there is a fair chance the spray a) mists rather than spurts, and b) actually sprays.

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Art Journal Page: Pick A Stick Challenge (June)

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I’ve snuck this creation in between finishing a commissioned art journal, and making the samples for tomorrow’s fabric printing/painting workshop. The Pick A Stick Challenge for the uninitiated is ten techniques or journal prompts pulled at random by one of the four coordinators of the challenge, and you must then create your page using those steps in the order in which they were pulled. This is what I came up with for June’s ten sticks 🙂

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