Sunday 10 January 2016

CARDS - pelargoniums on rusty tables

January 2016 - 1 - beads, necklaces and workshops

Sunset on Dartmoor with thoughts of short days in the studio and long days outside in the year ahead. Down here in the South West of England we're having another very mild winter, plenty of rain so far but already catkins are busy growing and snowdrops, daffodils and primroses can be found in secluded places.
Now that I've moved into my new home at last I'm planning this years workshops. Some will focus on using mould making techniques, one of which is to take a pack of silicone moulding paste on walks - in the country, around the city, down by the river or along the shoreline and to take impressions from natural forms and from found objects. I make moulds from all sorts of things - this gate post forged hing caught my eye - looking rather like a fish eye and a brooch in waiting. 
The silicone had to be applied thickly so was ideal to take another impression of the blackberry bramble that grew alongside -
The fish eye is here - 

In between making my jewellery for galleries and my new embryonic online shop, I'm stringing up some of the many beads that I've made in the last few years. I've developed my own ways of working with paper mache over the last 20 odd years - some of them very odd years. This month I'll add necklaces and beads outlining some of the things you can make either with me in Devon or online.

beads - round, disc and pressed - flexible moulds - impressions of natural forms - made with air dried papier mâché - folded and twisted - hardened with dilute wood glue and/or epoxy resin - painted - gilded with gold leaf - matte varnish + bronze freshwater baroque pearls 

Paper mache beads made to echo Egyptian faience - the beads are made by pressing air dried paper mache into flexible moulds - I make these by pressing natural forms - seed heads etc into a silicone moulding putty - then wrapping the impressions I make around a paint brush handle - drying them out and soaking in wood glue - here I used a powdered form that I diluted enough to soak in and also add a powdery substance to the surface. I soaked the dried beads into various mixes of acrylic ink before thoroughly drying and then dipping in matte varnish. 

Iridescent paper mache beads are made by heat shrinking Tyvek paper for the core of the bead and adding layers of iridescent tissue - also heat shrunk - some with addition of acrylic ink between layers - some heated to the point of separation + papier mâché discs - silver, gold and copper - metallic gilders paste + silicone wax polish.

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