Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Making resin rough cut diamonds and sapphires.

I am about to make a necklace using lots of the papier-mache baroque pearls that I make - 
To which I will add some faux - that is made with epoxy resin - rough cut gems - I add acrylic ink to get the right colours. I spotted this necklace and thought I could develop the idea -
These are faceted beads, I tend to prefer the rough cut ones. I am starting with faux rough cut diamonds and papier-mache baroque pearls and may well work my way through the mineral kingdom!
they look like this -
Some papier-mache baroque pearls could also have colour added to resemble these -
rough cut raw sapphires are like this and papier-mache 
pearls below. I think it could work with a few adjustments. Below is the real thing - uncut sapphires.

And here are the prototypes for the sapphire molds - just simple pieces of gravel.












So first things first - I pondered how to make the actual shapes of the resin 'diamonds' and 'sapphires' for a moment or two and then realized that there was plenty of gravel outside my studio - I could make molds from that. I chose some different sizes and washed them in a plastic cup with washing up liquid, shaking vigorously. 
It would probably be better to pop them in the cutlery holder in a dishwasher, alas an appliance I don't have in my studio, in fact there's only just enough room for me and I still haven't got everything in yet. Need more shelves.
Stones now washed and dried. I work on tiles or sheets of glass as a rule when doing things like this. There are extensive renovations being done here at Seale Hayne. The old student accommodation from the days when Seale Hayne was an agricultural college is being improved to make comfortable rooms for guests and for people coming to do workshops here. As a result there are plenty of off cuts of tiles in the skip!
I use a two part epoxy molding paste called Silligum to make my molds. The process involves mixing blue and white together.           
You have to work quite quickly as the mixed paste cures within 4 minutes. It will then remain usable and flexible almost indefinitely. 





April Workshops at Hannahs at Seale-Hayne in South Devon

Papier-mâché with printmaking - two crafts for the price of one in April, May and June 2014.

I am embarking on a series of workshops at Hannah's at Seale-Hayne The first ones will be in collaboration with a fellow artist - Sara Gilbert
Sara is a print maker and painter who works in a variety of mediums. So Sara will be explaining and demonstrating lino cutting, showing how to make images that can stand alone or be coloured in a variety of ways. I will be demonstrating mold making using Plaster of Paris and a product known as Silligum that can be used to make repeatable air dried clay reliefs that can be added to the papier-mâché platters or bowls. 
We will be dividing the day into three sessions and be working alternately with half a group each and having the third session as the time to assemble and finish. I'll be showing how to make papier-mâché platters and show 'some I made earlier'. I'll be using pre-made hanging basket liners as we'll never have the papier-mâché pieces ready to actually work on on the day because of drying times, if we had to make them all. The relief work can be dried in 20 seconds in a microwave so we'll have one of these to hand. They can then be glued onto the work.
Sara will be showing how to make various types of prints on Japanese rice and other papers and you will be able to make cards from your lino cuts as well.
I will also demonstrate some gilding and finishing techniques. We can take between 10 and 12 people in the Art Room. The cost will be £60 including materials, tea, coffee, biscuits etc. Really excellent food and barista coffee can be bought from the Bistro or you can bring your own lunch. There is also a very good Takeaway too. The workshops will initially run on the second Saturday in April, May and June. The series of photos here show how a platter can be developed. This is just one way - there are far too many to show!
We have lots of ideas for future ones too. Sara also runs independent printmaking workshops from her studio. I am planning some similar daytime sessions with just a couple of people at a time from my studio in The North Wing at Seale-Hayne. We are both planning evening classes as well. Below is a very simple bowl made with papier-mache
to which has been added a lino cut of a periwinkle printed on Japanese rice paper. The blues/turquoises have been painted with acrylic inks on the base and the deckle edges gilded with silver leaf.
I'm also developing more in depth workshops in 2015 that will be held in various locations in the town and the country and I'll be calling them Town and Country Workshops - naturally! They will be held in peoples homes - homes that will be able to host them will have either a large kitchen or workshop/studio with heating in the form of an Aga, Rayburn or similar for drying the work where necessary. They will also be held in Village Halls and small Hotels. They will be running as half day, one day and two day workshops. I shall be inviting other artist/crafts people to teach as well so that there will be a wide range of skills to choose from. The idea is to have a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting time and to meet like minded people in a homely environment. I used to run such workshops in the 1990's from my cottage in Herefordshire that I was renovating, as you may be able to imagine from the short film that the BBC commissioned of my work.
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