Sunday 26 August 2012

Walking with Bella

Every day - morning and evening Bella takes us for a walk. Sometimes it's through the woods and down to the river but at other times we're off on an adventure.

The Cottage Garden - The Sheltered Garden

Making the lawn level.

I have managed to find the perfect window for the back of my shed. I have had a very makeshift affair in there for the past year and then as I was walking through town the other day I glanced through an open garden gate. It was pretty enormous - the gate I mean - big pale blue double wooden doors - and there at the far end of the garden was my window frame. At last! I knocked on the door and we settled on a price. Win win I think. It is over 5' tall and nearly as wide, wooden, lots of panes all of a perfect proportion and it has a central post so that both windows will open. Yes! And even its catches are just right. So I only have to wait for the rain to stop and I can collect it and put it in. It will look fantastic and really 'make' the shed. I have started making little tutorials on my laptop - yes, I have only just discovered the record button!!! It will really make the studio look more like a room and less like an old shed. So this is what the shed looks like from the back - It can only get better.

Cottage Garden series - 1 - the wall etc

This is a lovely way for me to show you what I have been doing over the last few months in between the rain! 

I have been re-building a very old stone wall that has been used to bury household rubbish for over 80 years and cutting back the very overgrown hawthorn hedge. Making new flower beds, thinking about the best way to lay a path and continuing to add bits to my studio.
Coming into the garden through the back gate after digging out the ground elder and planting wild flowers and cottage garden plants - hollyhocks and sunflowers.
Roses, geraniums, lavender and daisies scramble over the new wall. The jasmine has really taken hold this year and needs an arch to climb. Next project. I love going through arches and gates to find paths and secluded gardens.

Tutorial - necklace, pendant, bracelet, brooch with papier mache, polymer clay, epoxy resin etc. My work in the 90's video showing papier mache pulp and bowl making.

Using air dried papier mache and silicon moulding paste to make imprints of natural objects that are then gilded, painted and strengthened with epoxy resin, gauze and plaster of paris to make brooches, pins, pendants, bracelets, necklaces and components for mixed media etc. I will be sharing as many ideas as possible over the next few months. 
Other products used in this series are FW Artists’ Ink
FW Pearlescent Inks  Roberson Acrylic Gold Size Gold Leaf

A short film made by the BBC in the 1990's - showing a general overview of my work. It briefly covers making papier mache pulp and making a bowl amongst other things. And amazingly has had over 125,500 views on youtube!

Series 1 - Part 1 
A series of short videos sharing my ways of working and experiments. Each one is often related and linked to the following and/or preceding one. In this one I am starting to make pressed papier mache pendants, necklaces, bracelets and earring components using the end of a fir cone. Using epoxy moulding resin moulds to make forms with seed heads. Adding acrylic gold size. Using 'modroc' to make pendant base/shape.

Series 1 - Part 2 
Continuing to make moulded papier mache paste shapes and painting with sepia ink and various metal leaf, schlag and metal foils with Acrylic Gold Size. Talking about distressing silver leaf with hard boiled eggs. 

Series 1 - Part 3
Next stage - building up layers on the seed pod impressions. Strengthening with Modrock. Adding gold leaf. 

Series 1 - Part 4
Strengthening 'seed head' components and working on the large curved pendant in stages, scratching away and adding gold leaf again. Making delicate 'flowers' by smearing papier mache paste on tissue paper. 
Series 1 - Part 5
Poppy seed head mould and earring components. Tissue paper and P.V.A glue backing pads to use later.
A senior moment! Making little rolls from modrock to use as bails on the backs of pendants and as little beads. Making finger formed cylinders on a kebab stick for necklaces and bangles etc.

Series 1 - Part 6
Making simple Tyvek and iridescent tissue beads by wrapping around a wooden kebab stick and shrinking with a heat gun.

Series 1 - Part 7
Mixing epoxy resin with good ventilation - a through draft with open windows and doors. I use a clear hard epoxy that has a working time of about 5 minutes and a curing time of about 12 hours in my drying cabinet. I use a 175 watt heat lamp and/or the base of a propagation unit.

Series 1 - Part 8
Wrapping iridescent tissue around papier mache beads and heating to shrink. Changing colour using sepia ink and white acrylic paint. Painting dried beads with Daler Rowney FW acrylic ink - shimmering blue. Adding iridescent tissue, thick white acrylic paint and P.V.A glue to flat disc of layered Modroc.
Series 1 - Part 9 - Treasures from beach-combing.

Series 1 - part 10 (on youtube this is part 9)
Jewellery from plastic milk carton, tissue paper + P.V.A glue, glass bugle and seed beads. Taking the 'flowers' a stage further. Using 3D glue. Building up the components for necklaces, brooches and earrings.

Series 1 - part 11 
Showing a papier mache bowl - working with a plastic milk carton + tissue paper with P.V.A glue, glass beads and iridescent tissue beads - bracelet and necklace suggestion. Scorching air dried papier mache and tissue with pyrography tool.

A little diversion - Emmy the hen.

In these tutorials you will see that I am using a product called Porzella. It is an air drying, very fine white papier mache porcelain clay that is made by a company called Rayher. It comes in a 400 gram pack. I am also using a modelling fabric made by them - a Plaster of Paris impregnated gauze. This company's products are widely available in Europe and from retail stores - maybe near you so do check their website and try their 'store locator'. They do not sell in U.S.A.
Of course there are lots of other brands available in the U.S.A - Creative Paperclay, Delight, Makin's Clay, LaDoll, Hearty Clay, Deco ClayCraft, Apoxie Sculpt, Artista, Angel, FormoFit, Darwi, Flumo, Lumina, Celluclay, Cold Porcelain, Crayola Model Magic, Sculpt It, Paverpol and many more. 
And it is perfectly practical to make these products or something similar at home. I have tried making it myself and added finely pulped white watercolour paper in with the mix - it worked quite well but needs some tweaking - mainly due to the fact that I added a heavy baby bath oil in gel form - not a good substitute! I will try to refine my method and then I will make a video tutorial showing how I finally achieved perfection. In the meantime there are lots and lots of variations and recipes for making air dried porcelain online. This is one of them -  

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