Wednesday, 16 May 2018

WOYWW #467: Altered paint brush

Only one week to go 'till the 9th WOYWW anniversary and ATC swap! I'm definitely feeling the buzz - do you? I've got my ATCs finished and ready to go. See, I can get my act together if I put my mind to it!

I've been quite busy in my craft room as well. This desk shot was taken on Friday when I did some midnight arting - something I hadn't done in ages! I've since posted this project - if anyone wants to see how it turned out, you can find it here. I love it when Oreo just sits there and watches.

However, today I'm going to show you something else: an altered paint brush! When I saw this blog post by Finnabair, I immediately knew I had to try it and I had the perfect brush for it as well. You might recognize those wings from an earlier post. I used diamond glaze to stick down my elements, followed by black gesso and metallic paints. I was quite impressed by the results and how easily it all came together:

I will also give you a sneak peek at my ATCs - just to prove that I have done them. Perhaps a side view of the stack is not too much of a spoiler.  

And here's a photo of my underpaper to show the colours I used. I sometimes get more excited about the underpaper than the actual projects! (not to say that I'm not excited about the ATCs - I am!) 

Happy Wednesday!
I'm free to visit today so I'll be around shortly!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Journal page: Freedom

This is my first free weekend since January and I used my new-found freedom to make a journal page. I haven't made one in absolute ages and it felt so good to just let loose! I used my altered book and went berserk with collage and colours! This is the result of my abundant play:

Here's a list of some of the collage elements I used:
  • palette paper (torn into pieces)
  • printouts (left over from other projects and scrunched up for added texture)
  • used postage stamps (distressed)
  • used teabag
  • die-cuts (butterflies and plants)
  • washi tape (numbers)
I also included some lace pieces made with a silicone mould. These were just some experimental pieces lying on my desk that suited my project perfectly. One of them was made with gel medium, which I painted black and then accented with gold - the other is left-over black gesso with gold highlights. These moulds are marketed for cake decorating but they work just as well with acrylics to create amazing distressed textures for mixed media projects.

Another clever "hack" I discovered is a piece of plastic that I turned into a texture stamp. I was cooking dinner and was about to throw away the plastic chicken tray when the design on the bottom caught my eye. It looked like something Tim Holtz might have designed LOL! I cleaned it, cut it out and ran it through my Big Shot with a piece of foam and, voila, I got myself a fantastic new texture stamp!

Here's my page in more detail to show the individual elements:

I normally gesso my book pages before starting a new spread, but this time, I didn't. This resulted in some words from the underlying text being clearly visible. After taking these photos, I circled some of these words and thought about how they're relevant to my life. The words that jumped out at me were: gravity, gratitude and homelessness. Homelessness in particular made think about how I'm no longer Hungarian but I'll never be fully British either - culturally, I'm somewhere in-between the two and I'm not sure I will ever feel truly at home in either of my countries. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I'll have to be aware that I will always appear a bit alien to people in both cultures. 

Thank you for coming along on my art journey this Sunday!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend! xx

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

WOYWW #466: Playing with paper clay

WOYWW is hurtling towards its 9th anniversary! I find it incredible that our lovely hostess, Julia, has managed to keep this crafty blog hop thriving for so many years - and hopefully for lots more to come! Here's my desk shot this week:

I've been playing with paper clay, aka air drying clay. I bought a few silicone moulds from China and I still have a block of clay from last year when I worked on this plaque.  I managed to keep it fresh by double wrapping the open packet in plastic bags with a wet paper towel inside to keep it moist. This seems to have worked really well and my clay is as fresh as it was when I first opened it.

On the left side of my desk, you can see the start of my ATCs for the anniversary swap - or rather you can't see them, as I've blurred them out to keep them secret until the big day. The only thing I can say about them is that they're going to be a different colour entirely - that's just the colour of the card stock I cut them from. It's very much unlike me to be so organised ahead of time, so I'm quite pleased with myself.

This is how my paper clay pieces turned out this morning: (I know the faces are a bit freaky - I've had that mould for a while, so I thought I might as well use it  - the other two are new acquisitions.)

That's all the craftiness for this week, I'm afraid. Ooh, I almost forgot to tell you that my stint at The Range has come to an end. I really enjoyed working in the craft section but when they moved me to another section a couple of weeks ago involving heavy lifting and stressful working conditions, I knew I wasn't going to last but I still gave it a good shot. Does it make sense to you to move the only person who actually knows the arts and craft products to another section? I'm so proud that I was able to give advice to numerous customers about what glues, paints or mediums to use, but apparently that knowledge is not appreciated by the management. Anyway, I could write an essay about this, but I won't bore you with details. It will be nice to have some free time until I get another job - who knows, one day I might even find my place? I'll keep looking.

I've been quite busy with my camera this week, so I can show you some arty photos in lieu of any arty projects. The old apple tree behind our house was in full bloom for a few days - I managed to capture it and play around with the photos digitally:

We've done quite a lot of gardening planting a new hedge boundary. I kept both the plants and hubby - who did the lion's share of the work - well watered (or in his case "tead")!

In case you didn't find the clay faces freaky enough, how about this close-up of a moth?

And, of course, there's no WOYWW post without Oreo! Here he is "al fresco" sitting on the fence - he can spend hours sitting there watching the birds.

Thank you for visiting!
I'm off to work for my last day shortly, but I'll visit everyone when I'm back.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

WOYWW #465: Image transfer on glass

Hello on this rather dreary Wednesday. I'm not looking forward to my walk to work this morning, but I'm hoping the rain will let up by the time I have to leave. If not, hubby has offered to drive me as he's working from home today. I still have an hour before I have to leave, so I can squeeze in a quick WOYWW post.

I took this photo of my desk yesterday, while I was experimenting with image transfers on glass. There are a few new items on my desk. I've recently acquired a Mod Podge silicone mat and it's great when you need a seriously non-stick surface. Those pink moulds are silicone as well and will be featured in subsequent posts, no doubt.

My first project was a straightforward gel medium transfer of a laser printed image onto an empty glass coffee jar. I used the same technique to transfer an image onto canvas here but never tried it on glass before. It works just the same! This is what my finished project looks like:

This jar can serve multiple purposes: it can be used for storing art tools or as a decorative item stuffed with LED lights, which looks lovely at night:

My second project was inspired by a mishap while working on the Mona Lisa jar. I wanted to stick some napkin motifs on the empty sides of the jar, but ended up with a big sticky mess. Luckily, I was able to salvage the project and noticed that the varnish I used to seal the napkin pieces, once dry, created a protective film on the thin paper. Hmm, I thought, can I coat the napkin first and then stick on the pieces? Enter my new silicone mat and it worked like a charm!  

First, I brushed some satin varnish on the mat and then laid down the cut-out motifs and carefully added some more varnish on top. At this point the paper becomes very saturated and fragile but once dry, you can easily peel it off, like shown below:

You'll have to cut around the motifs again to get rid of the excess varnish on the edges, then you're ready to add them to your surface. I used gel medium to stick them on a glass jar. Technically, this is not an image transfer technique - more like decoupage. The napkin pieces look very much like decals. 

It was fun to fill the jar with coloured water - it looked like the fish were swimming in it.

In other news: Oreo seems to have taken a shine to my craft room lately. Here he is hogging my chair yet again. I think we need to lay down some ground rules, mister! He doesn't look like he's ready to negotiate, does he?

Thanks for stopping by today! Stay dry if you can! 
I'll be visiting everyone as and when time allows xx

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

WOYWW #464: Image transfers with the Gelli plate

Hello to all my WOYWW friends and other lovely people visiting! I'm here again for another round of desk share. Before I get started though, I must relay some news from Shoshi, who can't take part in WOYWW today. She's asked me to let you all know that she had to go back into hospital due to an infection last Monday. Hopefully, she's back home by now. Please send some healing thoughts her way for a speedy recovery! Get well soon, Shoshi!

Moving on to my desk: here's a photo I took yesterday, though the activities mainly took place over the weekend. I had just discovered a technique involving magazine image transfers with a Gelli plate after reading my bloggy friend, Lynette's recent post. She shared a video by Gelli Arts that I somehow managed to miss earlier.  When I first saw this technique, I literally had to drop everything and try it! This was the aftermath of my frantic printing session and it looks like Oreo got bowled over as well:

This technique works remarkably well under the right conditions, though sometimes it's a hit and miss affair. Luckily, some of my "fails" resulted in some exciting grungy textures. Images from a Vogue magazine worked best for me, but I didn't get good results with book pages. I've also tried transferring laser and inkjet prints but that didn't work at all. I think it's all about how the ink in the original image interacts with the paint on your Gelli plate. 

Here's an image imprint left on my Gelli plate, after I had applied a thin layer of dark paint and pulled it off with a magazine page. Some of the paint gets left behind and at this point, you should be able to see whether you will get a good transfer. Then it's just a matter of pulling the dark paint off with a lighter layer. (Please refer to the original video for full instructions.) The orientation of the final print will be the same as the original image, which is important when you want to transfer text. 

Here are a few other prints I pulled, mainly of people, but this technique can also be used to transfer other images (buildings, landscapes, objects, etc). I've found that high contrast images with a light background work best. 

And here are some of my fails that resulted in grungy textures. You might still be able to tell what the original image was. I will use these for backgrounds rather than focal points - in a way, they're more exciting and versatile than the successful image transfers! I might just have to create more fails on purpose!

I have a few more photos to share today. We built a huge fire at the bottom of  our garden on Saturday as we had a lot of garden waste to burn. This is what it looked like when it all burned down to ashes, just smoldering away, quietly - it was kind of magical in the setting sun - something I call a perfect moment, when everything is right with the world. The silly selfie with my son was taken half an hour earlier before the lights faded and later we had to run back to the house when a thunder storm erupted. It was all very atmospheric and I'm so glad I documented it! 

I'm off to work in an hour but I'll be around later in the week!
Thanks for all your visits - I always try to get back to everyone who comments!
Have a lovely day!