Wednesday 25 April 2012

Another Book?

I made these pieces following the instructions in Maggie Grey's new book mentioned in my previous post.    They are made by applying acrylic paint onto felt, then adding embossing powder and heating it, adding more embossing powder and more heat, then adding a third layer plus heat before pressing a stamp, or moulding mat into the molten powder.   I painted the impressions to tone with the cover of my book and like the way that they resemble ancient fragments of some sort of decoration.  I cut round the felt close to the embossed design and then went round the edges with a soldering iron, making one or two holes with the iron as well.
  I don't quite know what is happening with Blogger at the moment and seem to have no control over where my text is going.   Yes, I have used the alignment button and it still does it's own thing.
In order to integrate my fragments with their background, I placed each piece onto water soluble fabric and free machined all round it.   Having dissolved the fabric away, I will  attach each piece to the cover and may use water soluble paper casts to further integrate them.  I will have to hand stitch them in place as the covers are not flat and the sewing machine won't stitch properly on an undulating surface.
The colouring here is quite inaccurate and the machined edging tones very well with everything else and doesn't look as dark as it appears here. 

There are regular sessions of lettuce boiling going on at present.   A friend has told me that tadpoles like boiled lettuce and as there are so many of them and they are growing like mad, I am having to feed them daily.  Nothing fancy - just five minutes in simmering water.

You can see that there are dozens of the little blighters - when they have all grown into frogs I'll be rearing slugs to feed them all!  They have eaten nearly all the surface pond weed and are eating us out of house and lettuce.   They are in a deep cat- litter tray on the edge of our garden pond and we have to keep covering them during heavy downpours in case they overflow!   It's nearly time to clean them out again and I have to be very careful to whom I say:  'I must go and strain my tadpoles'!!   It's a two-man job requiring a large plastic tub or bucket, garden sieve and piece of muslin, and it's  impossible not to tip some of the silty gunge back into the clean water with the tadpoles when they are returned to their cat-litter tray.
I shall be very glad when they are safely reared and we can put them back into the pond to fend for themselves.

I have noticed that when posting photos onto my blog they are now in the right order instead of being reversed.   No longer will I have to chant my mantra: 'The first will be last and the last will be first'!!  

Friday 20 April 2012

Look what the postman bought me today!

I only ordered this a couple of days ago and it arrived this morning.   How's that for service?!   My photo doesn't do this cover picture justice at all, and the colours are bright and vibrant.   The book is full of lovely ideas and examples of Maggie's beautiful work and I shall enjoy trying them out.

Can't stop and chat - I'm off to play.

Blogger has taken me completely by surprise and everything about posting is different, so I hope this works - here goes - I'm hitting the 'publish' button.

Friday 13 April 2012

This and That.

The blank white dead catalogues I showed on my last post now look like this.

And this. Actually the colours are far richer and more interesting than they appear here. I really must find out how to adjust my camera as it sometimes bleaches out colours.

I have no idea yet how I will use these, or how I will attach things to their textured and undulating surfaces - I dont think glue would work. I could pierce holes with an awl in some of the thinner ones, or maybe a paper punch would work, but a couple are really solid and will need drilling.

The colouring of this one is really rich and looks nothing like it here.

These look pretty ordinary too.

These two final ones have lovely irregular edges and it's hard to imagine that they are a very dark rich brown with soft streaks of more chestnut brown. I am going to use them to make the cover of an 'ancient' book and hope to make it look as if it has been buried for years and only recently discovered. Perhaps I will need to leave it in the garden for another 3 or 4 months when I have made it!

This will be the other half and I think it looks as if mice or other creatures have nibbled away at it!!

It is odd that inspite of all the lovely colours in the other pieces, the two which are the most drab are the ones that have suggested a use to me.

I came across these two packs of tiny embellishments in an art shop yesterday. Aren't they sweet? I have no idea how I will use them but couldn't leave the shop without them - there are five of each design. I will also make use of the boxes they are packed in as they are made from very thin and lightweight strips of wood.

When I was pegging out the washing this morning I noticed this brave and faithful fritillary - the sole survivor of two or three nice clumps which have been decimated by the dreaded lily beetle. I shall just have to cheat and buy some more - I am too impatient to wait for this one to multiply and restock the garden.

Time to keep an eye on the weather - clouds thickening up and washing still out. I'm off!

Sunday 8 April 2012

One way of dealing with junk mail or An odd way to spend Easter Monday!

I have been 'maturing' unwanted junk mail catalogues in the garden for several months now. The one above needs longer out there and is still very regular in shape and it's pages haven't welded together yet.

This is what one of the 'cooked' ones looks like when it has been dried, brushed and disinfected.

Here are the rest of my collection having had a coat of gesso. When they are all dry I shall gesso the other sides as well.

You get some lovely textures ...............................

........................... and very nice irregular edges.

The first ones I did two or three years ago were much thicker and took ages to take effect. If you use old phone books or yellow pages, break them into thinner sections depending on their original thickness. Even so, I found that as they dried out, the thicker sections tended to separate and distort into very undulating surfaces which were not what I wanted although you can gauge interesting bits out of the soggy surface. My much thinner ones will need to be flattened under something heavy as they are also buckling. They were put into the garden last autumn and when they seemed to be ready I laid them onto the greenhouse staging in January to dry out. When thoroughly dry I brushed them with an old scrubbing brush - any really stiff brush will do - to remove the dried soil and bits of leaf, etc. Then I sprayed them with a household disinfectant and allowed them to dry again. If you have no gesso, some spare emulsion paint would do just as well. There are no hard and fast rules and this is just my way of doing them. There will be variations according to the length of time left outside, the weather, the paper itself and the thickness of the catalogues, etc. I find that a thickness of about a quarter of an inch is good, and leaving them outside for about 3 months gives good results. Very thin booklets don't work as the paper gets too soft and just falls through your fingers when you try to pick them up.

When the gesso is dry, I shall spray or brush paint or ink onto the surface and attach various things for decoration. Numerous craft products and techniques could be used and I might even add some small pieces of embroidery.

Just to let you know that there are 'proper' things going on in my garden, look at these lovely young hosta leaves just beginning to appear. I thought I'd give you a quick peek before the slugs and snails discover them.

Friday 6 April 2012

I'm Still Here!

Another c-c-c-cold morning - hard frost on the lawn and quite a thick layer of ice on the bird bath. Hope my little tadpoles are alright - it's a good job they are cold blooded creatures.

I finally tracked down these Inktense blocks by Derwent, having been told about them by a textile artist at Nature in Art last autumn. She achieved beautiful results with them on fabric and recommended them to me. I had to order them online and only received them the day before yesterday so haven't really had a chance to try them out. I do hope we get on with one another!

Have a lovely Easter, even if you do have to wrap up warm!